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Resume & Cover Letter

Can a Cover Letter Be Two Pages? An Overview

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is a two-page cover letter?Can a cover letter be two pages?Choosing the best number of pages for your cover letterTips for saving space on a cover letterOne-page cover letter example

Guide Overview

Understanding the two-page cover letter

A cover letter can play a major role in a job application because most hiring managers read this document first to get a preliminary idea of a candidate's suitability for a position, so choosing the right number of pages for it is important. A two-page letter can be used in certain applications, although the majority of jobs require only one page. Choosing the best page count for your cover letter can help you make a positive impression on an employer. 

To learn whether a cover letter can be two pages, when to use a two-page document, when you should use one page, and tips for saving space in the document, consider this article.  

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What is a two-page cover letter?

A two-page cover letter is a communication that introduces your qualifications for a position in two sheets and supports additional documents in a job application, such as the resume. Essentially, this communication should inspire the hiring manager to read your supporting documents. While a one-page letter is the norm in most industries, there are circumstances in which extending the cover letter to two pages can work for you. The components of a two-page cover letter are as follows:

  • A header: A personalized header with your name and contact details, which you can also use in your resume
  • A salutation: A personalized salutation that formally addresses the hiring manager, such as, “Dear Ms. Brice”
  • An expression of interest: A paragraph expressing your interest in the job, which includes your name and the position for which you’re applying
  • An introduction to your key qualifications: Your letter should include a strong introduction to your educational credentials, skills, and achievements that motivates a hiring manager to learn more from your resume
  • Qualifications that match employer expectations: Evidence that your qualifications meet the job description criteria should be highlighted in the cover letter
  • Complementary values and skills: Your communication should include information on what makes you a good fit for the job in relation to corporate values and goals
  • Next steps in the hiring process: The letter should demonstrate your motivation by suggesting steps in which your application can be moved forward, such as by interviewing for the job
  • A formal closing: A standard closing phrase such as, “Sincerely” or “Best regards”
  • Evidence of your communication skills: The document should have a suitable structure, flow, and syntax, so the employer can appreciate your communication skills

Learn more: How Long Should a Cover Letter Be? (With Tips)

Can a cover letter be two pages?

Yes, a cover letter can be two pages in certain situations that are impacted by job requirements, candidate’s qualifications, employer preferences, or the letter format.

Learn more: How to Write a Cover Letter

Choosing the best number of pages for your cover letter

Selecting the optimum page count for your cover letter can help you get an interview request. Consider the following guidelines to ensure your communication has the ideal number of sheets:

When to use a two-page cover letter

Using a two-page cover letter can be the best choice in the following situations:

  • Job description criteria cannot be addressed in a single page. When the job description includes several requirements, which you must address in the cover letter, and you need more than a page to do so effectively, you can use a two-page cover letter.
  • Employer prefers or is willing to accept a two-page cover letter. Based on your research of the company, which could include reading employer instructions in the job listing, obtaining testimonials of workers, or calling the HR department and asking about the cover letter page count, you may find that a two-page document can be used or is preferred by the employer. If so, use this length when necessary to do so based on other key factors such as the space needed to cover the necessary points and the letter format.
  • Two pages are essential to introduce your skills and achievements properly. Consider the two-page cover letter if you need the extra space to properly introduce your abilities and achievements. Employers typically read dozens of cover letters during the hiring process, so in situations in which a longer cover letter is permitted, you can use two pages and properly showcase your abilities and professional milestones to stand out from other applicants.
  • You’re using a two-column cover letter format. When using a two-column format for your cover letter, which lists all the employer requirements in the first column with your corresponding qualifications in the other, a two-page communication can be used if necessary.

Learn more: How to Write a Resume

When to use a one-page cover letter

You can use a one-page cover letter in specific situations, such as:

  • There is no reason to use a two-page letter. As the one-page letter is the standard length for this communication, limit your cover letter to a single page if you do not have a specific reason for using two pages.
  • Industry norms support a one-page document. If a one-page cover letter is an accepted standard in your industry, make sure to limit your letter to a single page.
  • You can address the job description criteria in one page. The cover letter is your initial method of addressing employee requirements. If you can demonstrate your suitability for the job with a one-page letter, limit yourself to a single page.
  • Your skills and achievements can be introduced in one page. You should use a one-page letter when you can create a positive impression in the recruiter about your abilities and achievements in a single page.

Learn more: How to Address a Cover Letter

Tips for saving space on a cover letter

Save space on your cover letter efficiently with the following tips:

  • Write an outline. Developing an outline for the content of your letter can help you to find a structure that makes the most of your space. You can make a list of all the points you need to cover, list the points you can cover in each paragraph, and edit this outline until you find a structure that makes the best use of your space.
  • Write to make the most of your space. When writing your letter, use words, phrases, and sentence structures that communicate your points with the least words. Test different sentence options for each talking point until you find the briefest ones.
  • Edit your letter to save space. While it’s essential to proofread your letter to correct any grammar mistakes, you should also edit it to make it more concise. You can do so by rewriting lengthy sentences and removing any content that is not essential.

Learn more: Creating the Subject Line for Resume Email

One-page cover letter example

You can use the following one-page letter example to develop your own:

Dear Ms. Roberts, 

I write to state my interest in the marketing manager position at Green Heights. My education in marketing management and my industry experience have equipped me with the qualifications necessary to meet your expectations for this role.

While pursuing my bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University, I gained the academic knowledge needed for the social media and cross-platform marketing job responsibilities. Similarly, my experience at Price Right has given me the industry expertise needed for this position in areas such as formulating effective marketing strategies and using research-based advertising tactics and tools to meet business goals.

As I joined Price Right during its startup, I’m proud to have been an active part of its development into a highly innovative, award-winning brand with a growing market comprised of diverse segments. Based on my research on your rapidly developing company, I understand that Green Heights is currently poised to target a new energy sector for renewables in wind and solar. With my previous experience in targeting and positioning products to attract new customers successfully, I can leverage my industry knowledge and skills to optimize your launch into this new market.

My experience in fundraising can also be an asset to your comprehensive philanthropic programs. During my time at Price Right, I organized their successful fundraiser, which raised $130,000 for a community program that supports autistic children. 

I am excited about the possibility of working for Green Heights, which I dreamed about working for when I was an entry-level marketing assistant three years ago. As I have several ideas on how I can transform your marketing strategy to build customer loyalty and market share, I would greatly appreciate an opportunity to meet in person and discuss the contribution I can make to your team. Thank you very much for your consideration.

Sincerely, 

Edward Rollins 

As discussed, the answer to, “Can a cover letter be two pages?” is yes. This document can comprise of two pages in certain situations in which the job requirements, employer preferences, qualifications, and letter format permit this extension. However, it’s usually best to limit your cover letter to a single page.

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