Cracking the cover letter code: how long is just right?

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Your cover letter is like your first handshake with a potential employer, it’s your chance to make a good impression and show you’re more than just a list of skills on your resume. But how do you strike the right balance between showcasing your enthusiasm and keeping it concise enough to hold their attention?

One page, max... usually

Think of your cover letter as a snapshot, not a full autobiography. In most cases, a cover letter should fit on one page and be roughly about 250-400 words.

There are exceptions, though:

  • Did the job ad ask for more? Some employers might want a detailed two-page cover letter. If so, follow their lead.
  • Are you a seasoned veteran? If you’ve got decades of experience, you might need a bit more space to highlight your most relevant achievements.

But remember: even if the job ad doesn’t specify a limit, keep it brief! Hiring managers often sift through piles of applications, and a concise, well-written letter will grab their attention.

crackingthecoverletter | Teamrecruit

How to structure your winning cover letter

  1. Intro: Hook the reader with your enthusiasm for the role and briefly explain why you’re the right fit. Did someone recommend the job? Mention it here!
  2. The meat: Choose 2-3 of your strongest skills or experiences that directly match the job requirements. Use specific examples to show how you’ve used those skills.
  3. The wrap-up: Reiterate your interest, thank the reader for their time, and express your eagerness to discuss the role further.

Pro tip for techs & mechanics: If you’re applying to a dealership, highlight specific brands or types of equipment you’ve worked on to show you’re familiar with their world.

Trimming the fat

If you’re struggling to keep it under one page, here are a few hacks:

  • Cut the fluff: Get rid of generic statements or repetitive info from your resume.
  • Focus on action: Use strong verbs to showcase your accomplishments (e.g., “led,” “achieved,” “resolved”).
  • Get a second opinion: Ask a friend or mentor to review your letter for clarity and conciseness.

The bottom line

Your cover letter should leave the hiring manager wanting more – it’s a teaser, not the whole movie. By keeping it focused, showcasing your most relevant skills, and adding a touch of personality, you’ll increase your chances of landing an interview.

Remember that your cover letter is an opportunity to make a great first impression. Take the time to craft one that is clear, concise, and tailored to the specific job you’re applying for, and success will soon follow.

Teamrecruit is Australia’s most established recruitment agency specialising in truck, earthmoving and agricultural machinery dealerships in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Find out more about Teamrecruit and how we support employers and candidates in the dealership industry.

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