When crafted effectively, a simple cover letter can win a hiring manager’s attention and convince them to interview you.
Why you should use a simplified letter
A cover letter doesn’t have to be lengthy to do its job. In fact, many managers would prefer a shorter letter that requires less of their time to read. As long as it hooks the reader’s interest and conveys your qualifications, there’s no need to make your cover letter any longer than necessary.
But there’s a catch to using a brief cover letter: you have to make every line count. This means it can actually be more challenging to write a shorter cover letter than a longer one. Follow these tips for crafting a short and sweet cover letter that gets results.
What to include:
Direct examples of your strengths
When using a short cover letter, don’t allocate precious space to pleasantries. Instead, dive straight into your pitch for why you’re the best candidate in your very first line.
This can take many different forms. Consider the following cover letter introductory lines:
- With more than two decades of sales experience in the upscale home appliance market, I’m the candidate for your job.
- Instead of dodgeball and duck-duck-goose, my idea of childhood fun was taking apart and reassembling my dad’s old Atari.
- As a lifelong Badgers fan, I’d be honored to bring my skills as a certified UX designer and ADDY award winner to the University of Wisconsin’s digital marketing team.
Three different styles, yet all are effective introductions that draw the reader in while telling them what sets the writer apart.
Your personal style
Opting to use a short cover letter is a choice that also says something about you as a candidate. Perhaps you’re a straight-shooter or a laser-focused communicator. To help that piece of your personality shine through, choose language that matches the way you speak. Here’s an example:
Wrong: ‘Due to the fact that I possess many years’ experience with the coding languages you utilize, I believe I’m thoroughly capable of succeeding in the role.’
Right: ‘I’ve been coding in Python for more than five years, which makes me a great candidate for the job.’
What to omit from your cover letter
When you’re working with fewer words, every one of them needs to contribute to convincing the hiring manager to talk to you. As you proofread each line of your short cover letter, ask yourself, does this line serve that purpose, or can it be omitted?
Simple cover letter sample
Dear Mr. Baker,
I’m a state-certified nursing assistant with more than 12 years of residential care experience, and my passion for helping the sick makes me an excellent candidate for your open position.
As an in-home aide for a Columbus family, I handled the full scope of personal care for a patient with dementia while serving as a reliable and reassuring presence in their life.
Before that, I supported the care of more than 30 patients as a nursing assistant at Pine Ridge Home. I managed residents’ daily needs, responded in emergency medical situations, and consistently strived to make patients as comfortable as possible.
I believe I’d be an asset to your team and hope to speak with you about the position soon.
Sample letter with bullet points
Education is my passion; enthusiasm is my greatest strength. I hope you’ll consider me for your open fourth grade teacher position.
As an elementary school teacher for the past 15 years, I have a broad range of experience with:
- Developing age-appropriate curriculum that aligns with all relevant state standards
- Delivering engaging instruction that broadens students’ horizons
- Managing classroom dynamics in a way that meets students’ emotional needs
- Leading extracurricular activities that support a holistic learning experience
I believe I’d be an asset to the Mill Brook Elementary teaching staff. I can be reached at 234-567-8901 to schedule an interview.
Simple cover letter template
Dear [HIRING MANAGER NAME],
Paragraph 1: Strong introduction that hooks the reader and/or states your strengths
Paragraph 2: Example of experience/accomplishment from current job
Paragraph 3: Example of experience from previous job or highlight of your skills
Paragraph 4: Strong conclusion