Can a Cover Letter Be Two Pages?

Learn recruiter-backed tips on the perfect cover letter length. Learn when to keep it brief and when more detail is beneficial for your career growth.

6 months ago   •   3 min read

By Rohan Mahtani
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We’ve all been there. Staring at the screen. Wondering whether our cover letter is too long. Or too short. Or just right. Crafting the perfect cover letter is a balancing act between thoroughness and brevity. We want to impress potential employers without overwhelming them. But how much information is too much? It’s a question that’s especially important in the competitive, fast-paced job market of 2024, where every word counts.

Here’s the short answer: A cover letter should generally be no longer than one page. Aim for a cover letter that fills up at least half a page. This length gives you enough space to articulate your value proposition without overwhelming the reader.

Let’s face it: Employers and managers are swamped. They don’t have time to mine through mountains of applications and meticulously review each one. Your cover letter is your first (and perhaps only) chance to grab their attention. So, a crisp, clear, and compelling cover letter can make all the difference.

Of course, like every rule, there are exceptions.

In this article, we’ll share some guidance that’ll help you choose the right length of your cover letter. By the end, you’ll know when a one-page cover letter is sufficient and when a longer letter is more appropriate.

Key advice from a recruiter to keep in mind when deciding how long your cover letter should be
Key advice from a recruiter to keep in mind when deciding how long your cover letter should be

Why the one-page maximum?

The one-page maximum isn’t just a random guideline; it’s about being direct and focused, ensuring your most important qualifications shine without getting buried within pages of text. The idea is simple: Your cover letter should be a teaser, a compelling snapshot of your professional story.

Think of it as your elevator pitch in written form. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing position, start strong. Open with a statement about a particularly successful campaign you spearheaded. Highlight your role and the outcomes succinctly. This approach shows your capability without veering into verbosity.

Recruiters and hiring managers often view shorter cover letters favorably. They see conciseness as a sign of effective and efficient communication skills—a critical asset in any professional setting.

Focuses on specifics

A brief cover letter forces you to focus on the most relevant aspects of your experience. If your cover letter is longer than 1 page, you likely aren’t tailoring your message to the job’s specific requirements. If you’re eyeing a graphic design role, mention projects that align closely with the skills the employer is seeking. This alignment shows that you’re qualified and attentive to the job’s nuances.

Not diluting key messages

A succinct cover letter ensures that your key points are noticed immediately. When a cover letter extends beyond one page, it risks burying the most crucial information under a pile of irrelevant details. It’s better to share a concise, impactful story about a key professional achievement rather than listing every project or role you’ve been involved in.

Keeping the reader’s attention

The longer your cover letter, the higher the risk of losing the reader’s interest, particularly if it includes irrelevant details. Stay on point by ensuring your anecdotes and examples directly relate to the job requirements. For example, omit personal hobbies or unrelated work experiences that don’t contribute to your specific role candidacy.

A concise cover letter conveys your qualifications and demonstrates your respect for the reader’s time and ability to prioritize and organize information effectively. A well-structured, brief cover letter often leaves a stronger, more positive impression than a lengthy, rambling one.

When it’s ok to use a longer cover letter

In certain circumstances, a two-page cover letter might not only be acceptable but also advantageous.

Senior-level positions

A longer cover letter may be appropriate for roles requiring extensive experience, such as C-level positions. This extra space allows you to detail significant strategic initiatives and leadership experiences. For instance, a candidate with over 15 years of experience might use the additional page to elaborate on the major projects and innovations they led.

Career changes

Transitioning between industries or roles can be complex. You can use extra space in your cover letter to effectively articulate transferable skills and experiences. For example, a professional switching from teaching to corporate training might need extra space to explain how their educational expertise is applicable and valuable in a corporate context.

Complex projects or achievements

Detailed descriptions of specific, relevant projects or significant achievements can justify a longer cover letter. A research scientist, for instance, might expand on their role in a major publication or a groundbreaking project, which requires more than a single page.

Creative fields

In creative fields, a two-page cover letter can offer you the space to showcase your storytelling skills or writing ability. A candidate for a content writing position might use this space to craft a compelling narrative about their writing journey and experiences.

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