How to Write Short Cover Letter – Inspirational Guide
Let’s be honest, searching for a job is usually a mammoth task. First, you must dig through countless job offers to find one suitable for you. And when you actually find one, it usually requires years of experience, or the competition is so fierce that you won’t stand a chance. But finally, you’ve found that one offer where you have a high chance of getting hired. However, there’s a catch – they require a cover letter.
Remember, a cover letter is a calling card for your resume, so a badly written one will bury your chances of getting hired. It can either brighten your possessed skills or give you an upper hand if you’re inexperienced in the position you’re applying for. And you don’t have to write an essay to explain why you’re the ideal candidate. In fact, it’s more effective to include just one or two reasons why you deserve to get the hiring manager’s attention. This article will cover everything you need to know about writing a short cover letter, even if you’ve never written one.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as a part of your job application. It serves as an introduction letter and summarizes your professional background. Your cover letter should average between 250 to 400 words long. One of the oldest principles of writing a cover letter says that it shouldn’t be longer than a page. But that doesn’t mean filling up an entire page is a good idea, either.
A cover letter shouldn’t summarize your resume since your employer already knows that. It’s more about adding some personality and telling why you should be the one to take the job. Since there are many applications, you only have a short attention span to get the hiring manager’s attention, which means they’re opting for short cover letters. Before we delve into short cover letter examples, let’s discuss some tips for crafting a meaningful cover letter.
6 Tips to Follow When Writing a Cover Letter
Generic cover letters are a plague for hiring managers. To fit in today’s marketplace standards, implement these six cover letter tips to get the hiring manager’s attention and drastically improve your chances for an interview.
- Make sure your cover letter is short and keep it that way. Nowadays, your cover letter should fit ⅓ the size of a traditional cover letter. To visualize, it should fit entirely on a computer screen. Sometimes job descriptions give a suggested word count, then you have no choice but to stick to it. Hiring managers won't read much more than that, so make sure it’s visually appealing right from the start.
- Send and address your cover letter to a person. While “To Whom It May Concern” or “Hiring Manager” may sound official enough, addressing a hiring manager personally will certainly gather his/her attention. Research who is responsible for hiring new employees in the company you’re applying to and use it to your advantage. It’s also good to specify how you found the person’s name you’re emailing.
- Be specific about the position you’re applying to. Sometimes companies are looking to fill multiple positions while posting one job offer, so it’s in your interest to specify what position you’re applying to. If a hiring manager has to guess where you may fit within the organization, he’d probably spare himself the hassle.
- Do not summarize your resume in a cover letter. A cover letter isn’t meant to be a regurgitation of your resume. It’s meant to summarize the value you might bring to your future employer, and your background fills a need they have. A lengthy synopsis of your career without any values you might bring to the hiring organization is the fastest way to get denied. There’s also no need to mention your previous jobs if the recruiter doesn’t demand it.
- Outline clearly how you are fit for the position you’re applying for. Be concise as possible and focus on qualities that might benefit your future employer. The sad story of your life and hardships might be heartwarming, but it won’t help you get the job.
- End your letter with professional niceties. Lastly, thank the person you’re writing to for their time and assertively offer to follow up to set up an interview time. Humble persistence and polite enthusiasm is never out of place and will definitely increase your chances of hiring.
Structure of a Short Cover Letter
Nowadays, most short cover letters are sent via email or as a direct message through a job platform or social media. However, you can send your cover as an attachment to your resume in .pdf or .docx format.
There are plenty of cover letter templates in MS Word, so if you have the opportunity, it’s always a good idea to use them. At RoyalCDKeys, you can buy Microsoft Office 2021 Pro Plus Key Retail Global way cheaper than the retail price. Sometimes, being formal may give you some extra points during the recruitment process. However, the structural principles of a cover letter apply even to emails and messages, just in a miniaturized format.
Here are the essential parts that should be in a cover letter:
- Letter header with contact details.
- Cover letter greeting, e.g., “Dear….”
- Cover letter introduction: A compelling opening statement.
- Cover letter body: Your values.
- Cover letter conclusion: A call to action.
- Cover letter ending: “Sincerely….”
As you can see, having an idea of what to write in a cover letter is only the first step. You need to know how to compose your writing so your page will look attractive and eye-catching. We’ll break down each section, so you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
Cover Letter Header
A cover letter header where you should include your personal details. These includes:
- Mailing address.
- E-mail address.
- Phone number.
- Optional: LinkedIn profile or another relevant website.
All this information can be found in your resume, but if you're using MS Word for a cover letter, it’s good to include that for a cleaner look. Especially since it won’t take that much space at all, as you can see in the image below.
Cover Letter Greeting
First, let’s start with some acceptable greetings that should work every time:
- Dear Ms.
- Dear Mr.
- Dear Dr.
- Greetings XYZ Co. Hiring Team
Most people usually start with the word “Dear,” followed by “Mr.,” “Ms.,” or “Dr.” and the hiring manager’s last name. There’s room for a more casual approach where you can use words like “Greetings” or “Hello” followed by the person's name. However, such casual salutations need proper research, so make sure the company you’re applying to addresses their customers the same way. If you’re unsure about that, remember that “Dear” is never a bad choice.
Cover Letter Introduction
Your introduction is probably the most important section because it should immediately capture your reader’s attention. In the first sentences, you should specify what position you’re applying to and present why you’re a perfect candidate for this job. Usually, you should start with your experience in the field. And if you’ve just graduated, mentioning your degree is your best bet.
You can also mention why you want to work for them and even why you’re seeking a new job, especially if you are young. Choose your words with care and use provocative, compelling language. Avoid common phrases that recruiters have seen many times, like “ Please consider this letter my application for…” or “I am writing this letter to….” Below you can find a short cover letter example.
Cover Letter Body
In the middle part, you should convince your reader that you’re the right person for this job. It’s the section where you have to float your experience. Don’t focus on where you’ve worked and for how long but emphasize what you accomplished at your previous job. Use figures and facts, like telling the revenue you’ve generated or the percent growth you achieved.
You can also commend the company you’re applying to and tell them how you can help make them more profitable. It will show that you want to be hired by this particular employer, and it’s not a mass mailing to many potential employers.
Tip: Use bullet points if you have much to tell about your experience. Featuring your achievements in such a way will draw the reader’s eye and also break a wall of text.
Cover Letter Ending
The final paragraph is meant to wrap up and summarize your pitch. However, the most important part of ending a cover letter is call to action. It has to encourage your correspondent to do something after reading your letter.
As a standard, say that you’re eagerly waiting for their reply and you would be delighted to schedule an interview, remotely or personally. You may even ask if it would be all right to call the recruiter within a week or two to follow up. Let this person know you really expect a reply of some kind, and you’re really looking forward to it.
To summarize this section, we’ve gathered key principles to follow when writing a cover letter. Remember that a cover letter should feel personal, not a copy-paste you send to every recruiter. If you get it right and your cover letter perfectly compliments your resume, there’s a high chance of securing that interview invite. Make a mistake, and your application will be quickly forgotten.
Here are the key principles to follow:
- Focus on your personal “why” and give the hiring manager plenty of reasons to hire you.
- If you have plenty of accomplishments, use bullet points to gather attention and point them out.
- Include only the most relevant career stories and tailor each letter for every application.
- Write the truth. You understand the job, want it, would be good at it, and it’s fun to work with you. If you’re uncertain about at least one of these points, don’t even bother.
With all the tips and structure of a perfect cover letter out of the way, we’ll give you some letter examples.
Short Cover Letter Samples
Here you’ll find some examples of short cover letters to give you some inspiration. Remember, a short cover letter example gives you an idea of structuring your own cover letter. The key to writing a simple cover letter relies on personalization and short paragraphs. Copy-pasting an already written template is not a good idea. The recruiters will immediately notice it. Anyway, here are ten perfect cover letter examples.
Short Cover Letter Sample #1 (Basic and Simple)
With this short cover letter template, you will see that a simple solution can be enough to impress the recruiter. In the sample below, notice how the applicant made a connection with the company she’s writing to and pointed out the value she can bring. She also managed to include her career story in only one sentence.
Short Cover Letter Sample #2 (Speculative)
If you’re applying for a job speculatively, it’s especially important not to take up too much time. You need to know your stand when a company isn’t looking for a new employee openly. Focus on the arguments why you could be a great addition to the company even if their team is full. Don’t forget about leaving a link to your portfolio if the job you’re applying to revolves around content creation.
Short Cover Letter Sample #3 (Personal)
When you know a hiring manager’s name, there’s usually no reason to write a long cover letter. There’s a high chance that recruiters already know what value you might bring to the company, so respect their time. It’s best to remind yourself briefly, as shown in the example below.
Short Cover Letter Sample #4 (Storytelling)
Storytelling is always a good way to instantly gain your reader's interest. In this case, you can write a short story about your career’s journey. Or, you can write how the company’s product helped you during a trip or how it affects your everyday life. However, it’s easy to get carried away when you use this technique, so remember to only hint at the essence of your story. Here’s an example of how to do it properly.
Short Cover Letter Sample #5 (No Experience)
Experience is your strongest argument when applying for any job. But what if you don’t have any? Well, everyone has to start somewhere. You probably won’t get hired by a renowned company immediately, so focus on getting a simpler job before applying. You need to show a recruiter that you’re a hard worker capable of catching up to more experienced colleagues. Also, you can still convince the recruiter while keeping your letter short. Follow the example shown below.
Short Cover Letter Sample #6 (Internship)
Interns don't have much experience, so a short cover letter revolving around motivation and not actual skills are perfectly fine. An intern who focuses more on succinct communication and improving his skills while providing a good atmosphere is always a great candidate. See below for how to accomplish that.
Short Cover Letter Sample #7 (New Graduate)
If you’re applying for your first job ever, this might be your perfect cover letter template. When you don’t have any experience or learned skills that might contribute to your new job, focus on your personality and ambitions. Your task is to convince the recruiter that you are responsible and trustworthy and can prove it in your first-ever job.
Short Cover Letter Sample #8 (Creative Job)
A visual can do better than words depending on the job you’re applying to. Unless you’re applying as a copywriter, then providing links to your previously written articles is a must. In this case, a cover letter is more of an introduction to yourself and your work. The portfolio should speak for itself, so don’t write too much about your personality and point directly to your work.
Short Cover Letter Sample #9 (Bullet Accomplishments)
Use bullet points if you possess many skills essential for the job you’re applying for. Writing everything as a paragraph will only create a wall of text which isn’t very convenient to read. You might be the perfect candidate, but your application can get easily overlooked if it’s not visually attractive. The example below is dominated by bullet points with very little text. An ideal cover letter for candidates with impressive references. A short previous job description is spot on in this case.
Short Cover Letter Sample #10 (Startup)
Some startups have so many applicants that some cover letters won’t even get opened. You can’t do much about it but consider how many are declined. This short cover letter example aims to gather attention due to its length. Having thousands of applications, recruiters don’t have time to read all of them, so they choose visually. If you write a concise cover letter, there’s a high chance it will be read.
The best slogans and sales pitches are a matter of a few words. A compelling cover letter is similar – it’s meant to emphasize the value of job seekers. With our advice, you can keep your cover letter short and sweet while bringing a lot of value to the table. Long cover letters should be written only if recruiters specifically ask for them. Otherwise, keeping it short and simple is a way to go if you want to get your dream job.
You don't need to fill an entire page with words to win someone over to your point of view. That’s why many hiring managers will be impressed with a short, personalized cover letter. You might have plenty of experience to share, but focusing on the most relevant skills shows how well you understand your value. It will also stand out among other job applications.
As long as you keep everything concise and relevant, there’s no risk in keeping your cover letter short. The short cover letter samples we provided show that there are many situations where they may be appropriate.