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  3. The ultimate guide to writing short cover letters. With 5 samples!
The ultimate guide to writing short cover letters. With 5 samples!

The ultimate guide to writing short cover letters. With 5 samples!

Artwork by: Sasha Knokova

  • Benefits of using a short cover letter
  • Are short cover letters acceptable?
  • Short cover letter template
  • How to write a short cover letter. With samples!
  • Key takeaways

Cover letters are an important part of the application process. Unfortunately, you don’t always have a lot of time to impress a hiring manager with your words. This is where a short cover letter will come in handy. Check out this blog to learn how to write a short cover letter and to see some examples.

The goal of any cover letter is to introduce yourself to a hiring manager, show off some of your skills and achievements, and prompt the receiver to call you in for an interview. Some believe you need to go into great detail when writing your cover letter but that isn’t necessarily the case. Short cover letters are becoming more and more effective in the current career market.

A short cover letter is typically fewer than 325 words and can be as short as 150 words. Using this template allows you to provide a quick introduction and get right to business showing off your skills. One of the challenging parts of writing a short cover letter is that you don’t have as many words to work with. Luckily, this blog is here to help.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about writing short cover letters. Keep reading to learn the following:

  • Benefits of using a short cover letter

  • Are short cover letters acceptable?

  • Short cover letter template

  • How to write a short cover letter. With samples!

Benefits of using a short cover letter

Even though your words are limited in a short cover letter, you’ll still find they are impactful. Since your cover letter will include some of your top skills and achievements, but in a compact manner, you may even find that it will perform better than longer versions of your cover letter.

If you are struggling to decide whether a short cover letter is the best option for you, take a look at some of the following benefits before you make your final decision.

Attention-getting 

One of the best benefits of using a short cover letter is that it gives you more opportunities to write short, punchy sentences that can garner attention. You can also spend more time focusing on the specific skills you have that will benefit you in the role, which helps to make the overall letter more interesting. 

Focus on key points 

Short cover letters allow you to cut out a lot of the extra information you often see in cover letters and focus on the most important points instead. You can use your cover letter to align your skills with the role of the job you are applying for so a hiring manager can easily see what you will bring to the position.

Easy to read 

Short cover letters are easy to read, which will make it more likely that a hiring manager will read the entire document. They are also easier to scan, which means a hiring manager won’t miss any of your valuable skills since they will be able to remember more of the information included in a short cover letter versus a long one.

Mobile-friendly 

In today’s digital world, many recruiters and hiring managers work on the go, which means they may be reviewing your resume and cover letter on a mobile device. Having a short cover letter makes your document more mobile-friendly and easier for your hiring manager to digest when they are reading it on a small screen.

Easy customization

It’s a good idea to customize each cover letter you send out based on the job you are applying for. Nothing makes this process easier than having a short cover letter. Since you aren’t adjusting many words, short cover letters give you an easy way to customize more effectively.

Ability to be direct

Another great benefit of a short cover letter is that it allows you to be direct and focus solely on your skills, achievements, and the reasons why you are the best candidate for the job. This type of cover letter can help complement a strong resume because of its ability to showcase your skills concisely.

Are short cover letters acceptable?

Not only are short cover letters acceptable, but in many instances, hiring managers will prefer them. Those hiring for a job will likely go through dozens of resumes and applications at one time. A short cover letter can help them spend their time more efficiently, which will be greatly appreciated by a hiring manager.

However, when you do choose to write a short cover letter, there are some things you will want to do and some you will want to avoid. Take a look at this handy chart for more details.

Do
  • Be specific about who you are addressing. Use the hiring manager’s name in the greeting.
  • Keep your qualifications relevant to the job.
  • Adjust your cover letter for each job you are applying for.
  • Add a call to action.
  • Keep things concise and use white space to break up the information when possible.
Don't
  • Write an introduction that isn’t engaging or that is boring. Capture their attention from the start!
  • Forget to quantify your achievements. Use specific numbers and metrics.
  • Appear rushed or unenthusiastic about the position.
  • Be unprofessional.
  • Send the letter before thoroughly checking it for grammar and spelling issues.

Short cover letter template

When you are writing a short cover letter, there are some particular things you will want to include. Every short cover letter you write should include the following information.

  • A header that includes all your contact information and your name.

  • A greeting that names the hiring manager or contact directly, if possible.

  • A brief look at your work history and qualifications.

  • Achievements, ideally two to three that are specific and measurable.

  • A call to action that encourages a hiring manager to call you for an interview.

Sticking with this simple template will ensure you are getting all the important information into your cover letter while still keeping things concise and easy to read. 

How to write a short cover letter. With samples!

Now that we’ve learned the benefits of short cover letters as well as what to include in them, let’s take a closer look at how to write one and see some samples. The first step in writing any type of cover letter, but especially a short cover letter, is to carefully research the company you are applying to. You should know what the company’s goals and values are as well as the key requirements for the position.

You should then choose the structure you will use to write your cover letter. Start with an opening that gives a brief introduction of yourself as well as how you learned about the opportunity you are pursuing. Next, dive right into your qualifications by listing two to three key achievements that align with the role you are applying for.

The final step is to add your call to action. In your call to action, express your enthusiasm for the job and ask the hiring manager to call you to set up an interview. Always leave with the promise to discuss more of your qualifications in the interview.

To make the process of writing a short cover letter that much easier, feel free to use any of the following samples and customize them to fit your own needs.

Example

Header with contact information

Date

Dear [Contact’s Name] or [Hiring Manager],

As a dedicated [Current Job Title] with a track record of driving [department name] success, I am excited to apply for the [Position Name] position at [Company Name].

My XX years of experience in the [industry name] and my proficiency in [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3] have prepared me to be successful in this role. Some of my past achievements include: 

  • Related achievement 1.

  • Related achievement 2.

  • Related achievement 3.

I look forward to sharing more about my qualifications for the [Position Name] role and am even more excited to learn more about [Company Name]. Please call me at your earliest convenience to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Example

Header with contact information Date

Dear [Contact’s Name] or [Hiring Manager],

With a passion for [specific areas of expertise] and a proven ability to [specific relevant skills], I am writing to express my interest in the [Position Name] position at [Company Name].

My resume outlines my XX years of experience in the [industry name]. I believe my skill set, specifically my knowledge in [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3] will prove beneficial to [Company Name.] I have displayed these skills by achieving the following:

  • Related achievement 1.

  • Related achievement 2.

  • Related achievement 3.

I am excited to speak to you in more detail regarding the [Position Name] position. Please reach out with any questions, and call me to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Example

Header with contact information Date

Dear [Contact’s Name] or [Hiring Manager],

As a skilled [Current Job Title] with a commitment to [top skill you want to provide in the new role], I am thrilled to submit my application for the [Position Name] position at [Company Name].

I have XX years of experience in the [industry name] and have mastered the ability to tackle [types of projects] projects with ease. My expertise in [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3] are unmatched. Some of my past achievements include: 

  • Related achievement 1.

  • Related achievement 2.

  • Related achievement 3.

Please review the attached resume to learn more about my qualifications for the [Position Name] role, and call me at your earliest convenience to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Example

Header with contact information Date

Dear [Contact’s Name] or [Hiring Manager],

Having successfully accomplished/managed/achieved [achievement 1] and delivered/completed/excelled at [achievement 2], I am eager to contribute my [specific skill] skills to the [Position Name] position at [Company Name].

I have over XX years of experience in the industry and am especially excited to tackle [job task 1] and [job task 2] for [Company Name]. 

After reviewing my attached resume, please reach out to schedule an interview at your earliest convenience.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Example

Header with contact information Date

Dear [Contact’s Name] or [Hiring Manager],

With a strong foundation in [skill 1], [skill 2], and [skill 3] and a reputation for providing/delivering [measurable achievement], I am excited to apply for the [Position Name] position at [Company Name].

As my attached resume will show, I have the experience and knowledge to be successful in this role. Some specific ways I’ve benefited my employers in the past include:

  • Related achievement 1.

  • Related achievement 2.

  • Related achievement 3.

I am excited to speak with you in person regarding my application and qualifications for the [Position Name] role and am looking forward to beginning a working relationship with [Company Name]. Please call me at your earliest convenience to discuss my application further.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

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Key takeaways

  1. There are many benefits to writing a short cover letter, including that it can get the attention of a hiring manager, better highlight your achievements, and give you the ability to be direct.

  2. When writing a short cover letter, keep things engaging, choose relevant qualifications, and don’t forget to proofread your document before sending it.

  3. A short cover letter should include a heading, a greeting, a quick introduction, a look at some of your top achievements, and a call to action.

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