How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

Jimmie writes:
I’m struggling with cover letters. How long should one be?

The Career Doctor responds:
Make your letter as concise as possible so that it doesn’t look like a daunting reading project. Be as brief as you can and make sure your letter has a pleasing amount of white space. Keep your paragraphs short and include no more than 4-5 paragraphs. Cover letters sent electronically in the body of an e-mail message should be especially brief. (See our article Tips for a Dynamic Email Cover Letter).