Short Cover Letter Examples & How to Write (+Template)

Sometimes you need to write a short and concise cover letter (or covering letter), no bells, no whistles, few words, maximum effect. There are many possible reasons for this: maybe the job advert specified a short cover letter, maybe you have 17 applications to send out today, maybe you just plain don’t like writing.

 

These are all valid reasons. The trick to writing a short cover letter is to not cut anything out that could cost you that interview. There’s no point in sending a cover letter that’s not exactly as effective as you can possibly make it. You can make it short and simple, but there’s a right way to do it.

 

The short cover letter sample below comes in at exactly 200 words. That’s as little as half of what a typical cover letter runs, yet it’s still better than nine out of ten out there. Read on to find a short cover letter template to work through, short cover letter examples and plenty of great advice.

 

Use the LiveCareer cover letter builder and your cover letter will write itself. Choose a professional template, answer a few easy questions and the creator will generate a professional cover letter for you with just one click.

 

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Short cover letter example 

 

Francesca Bennett

62 Hertingfordbury Rd

Newport

NP10 7PR

070 2222 2222

fran.bennett@lcmail.co.uk

 

23rd November 2021

 

Donna Williams

Deputy Head of Accounting

JC Debt Consolidation

28 Hope Street

Sheffield

S4 2PL

 

Dear Donna,

 

With 5+ years in the industry, I am simply delighted to apply for the newly open management accountant position at JC Debt Consolidation. No stranger to the role, I produced 40+ monthly management accounts for the senior management team and directors of BSD Groupe over that time.

 

My other accomplishments while working for the BSD Groupe include:

  • Maintaining 83% accuracy in my short-term cash-flow forecasts (and 68% when including long-term forecasts)
  • Preparing over 350 VAT returns with only easily reversible errors and an error rate of 0.2% overall
  • Increasing the bookkeeping function’s efficiency by 18-27%, mainly through automation
  • Passing 100% of internal and external audits with no items requiring further attention.

 

I look forward to finding out more about how I can help JCDC continue to responsibly grow its business. Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any questions in the meantime.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Francesca Bennett

 

Now here’s how to write a short cover letter:

 

1. Add a full header to your short cover letter

 

The header is completely fixed by the rigours of the standard UK business letter format. Whether your cover letter’s short or long, the header stays the same. Laying it out properly is a cinch, though:

  • Right-align: your full name, postal address, email, and phone number; leave a line and add the date of writing, then leave another line.
  • Left-align: the hiring manager’s / recruiter’s name, their job title, company name, and the company’s postal address.

 

Short cover letter example header

 

Francesca Bennett

62 Hertingfordbury Rd

Newport

NP10 7PR

070 2222 2222

fran.bennett@lcmail.co.uk

 

23rd November 2021

 

Donna Williams

Deputy Head of Accounting

JC Debt Consolidation

28 Hope Street

Sheffield

S4 2PL

 

You can adjust every cover letter created in the builder to meet the job requirements. Choose the name of your profession and the company to which you’re applying, and the builder will automatically adapt the content for you. Create a cover letter faster than you ever thought possible and apply for the job in record time.

 

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2. Use standard cover letter salutation

 

There’s no making something like a simple greeting any shorter. The best way to start your short cover letter is with ‘Dear’ + the recruiter’s first name. Should you feel uncomfortable addressing someone significantly more senior than you in this way, you can always go with ‘Dear’ + their title and surname.

 

Always use ‘Ms’ for women who don’t have an academic title (unless you’re sure she prefers ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’) and ‘Mr’ for men in the same boat. Stay gender-neutral if you’re not sure of someone’s gender—you can do this by using ‘Dear’ + their full name if you don’t want to use their first name only.

 

What should you do if you don’t know who exactly it is that you’re writing to? The short answer is: find out. The more helpful answer is: revisit the advert for clues, snoop around the company website, lurk around on LinkedIn, if all else fails, give them a call and ask. It’ll make a world of difference.

 

In the very unlikely event that you can’t put a name to the recruiter’s role, then your only option is to address them by their role. For example, ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ or, better yet, ‘Dear Accounting Team Hiring Manager’—the more specific, the better. Avoid ‘To Whom It May Concern’ like the plague.

 

Short cover letter example salutation

 

Dear Donna,

 

3. Keep your opening to-the-point

 

Your opening paragraph is you walking into the room, maintaining steady eye-contact and introducing yourself in a loud, clear voice. It’s the first impression you’ll make, so make it a good one. Focus on doing these three things:

  • Using the name of the company and the role to which you’re applying
  • Showing your enthusiasm for the job
  • Demonstrating what you could bring to the company and how you’re a good fit.

 

If you have relevant work experience to lean back on:

  • Start with an achievement (see below)
  • Show that it lines up with the company’s goals
  • Explain how this is relevant to the company’s situation (if need be).

 

If you don’t have much experience:

  • Start with your passion for the role and/or company
  • Include a relevant achievement if you can (from your studies or volunteer work, for example)
  • Include a belief statement through which you show that you’re a match for the company’s stated values and mission.

 

An achievement is basically a description of some of your actions at work and the benefits that flowed from those action to your employer. These are often actions you take in response to a project, problem or challenge. You can use something like the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) methodto help you generate achievements.

 

If you were referred to the role, then here is a good place to mention it. Having contacts and connections within the organisation is a good thing, and the fact that someone ‘on the inside’ thinks you should apply for the job also reflects well on you and suggests you might be a good match for the company.

 

This paragraph is usually between 40 and 80 words long—if you can do everything mentioned above using fewer words, then that’s even better.

 

Short cover letter for job application example

 

With 5+ years in the industry, I am simply delighted to apply for the newly open Management Accountant position at JC Debt Consolidation. No stranger to the role, I produced 40+ monthly management accounts for the senior management team and directors of BSD Groupe over that time.

 

You don’t have to create any content yourself. The LiveCareer cover letter maker will automatically suggest the best content for your cover letter with ready-made examples and expert tips.

 

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4. Showcase your achievements in a short cover letter

 

Aside from introducing you and accompanying your CV, showcasing your achievements is what a cover letter is for. This is the main part of your short cover letter. It can be one or two paragraphs long, but perhaps limiting yourself to a single paragraph will help keep your cover letter shorter. 

 

The idea here is to show the recruiter what you have to offer their company by describing benefits you already brought to your current/previous employer. This is exactly like what you did in your opening paragraph, but more. Include 2–4 relevant and quantified achievements. Use bullet points to save space.

 

This part is usually 120–200 words long. The example below is packed with four fully-quantified accomplishments and comes in at a lightweight 68 words, so it can be done. Don’t skimp on words in this section, though—invest the time and energy to really polish your achievements.

 

Short cover letter main body paragraph example

 

My other accomplishments while working for the BSD Groupe include:

  • Maintaining 83% accuracy in my short-term cash-flow forecasts (and 68% when including long-term forecasts)
  • Preparing over 350 VAT returns with only easily reversible errors and an error rate of 0.2% overall
  • Increasing the bookkeeping function’s efficiency by 18-27%, mainly through automation
  • Passing 100% of internal and external audits with no items requiring further attention.

 

5. Write a short and concise cover letter wrap-up and drop in a CTA

 

In your last paragraph, wrap up your achievements by tying up any loose ends. Link your accomplishments back to benefits you could bring to the company to which you’re applying. This can be subtle and indirect, just as long as you don’t leave any accomplishments hanging with no obvious link to the company to which you’re applying.

 

Thank your reader for considering your application. It’s good manners and could really work in your favour. Be sure to include a clear call to action (CTA) too. Express your eagerness to take part in an interview and perhaps even take the initiative and offer a phone conversation as the next step.

 

This part is usually 40–60 words long not including the thank-you and CTA. The short cover letter sample closing paragraph below comes in at 40 words total.

 

Short and simple cover letter closing paragraph with CTA

 

I look forward to finding out more about how I can help JCDC continue to responsibly grow its business. Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to call or email if you have any questions in the meantime.

 

6. End your short cover letter with the right sign-off

 

It’s very much downhill from here, nothing’s easier than signing-off. You only have two options and the choice is clear and simple:

  • Use ‘Yours sincerely’ if you addressed the cover letter to a particular person by name
  • Use ‘Yours faithfully’ if you didn’t, e.g. if you used ‘Dear Hiring Manager’ instead. 

 

Short cover letter example sign-off

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Francesca Bennett

 

7. What else to remember about when writing a short cover letter?

 

Length

 

Making your cover letter short as it can be doesn’t mean ignoring proportion entirely. This is a typical breakdown of a cover letter:

  • Opening paragraph: 60–80 words
  • Main body: 120–200 words
  • Closing paragraph: 40–60 words.

 

The short cover letter example in this article might barely exceed 160 words in total, but the basic proportions are preserved: the main body paragraph is longer than both the opening and closing paragraphs and the opening paragraph is longer than the closing paragraph. Aim to do the same in yours.

 

Even though you’re aiming for a word count of ‘as short as possible’, your cover letter should still take up between half an A4 page and a single A4 page. With a shorter cover letter you have the luxury of being able to set it out nicely. See ‘Making your layout clear and easy to follow’, below.

 

Matching the CV

 

Remember that your short cover letter and CV are two parts of a single job application. Their layout and overall look should reflect this fact. Use the same fonts, colours (if any at all), and general setting out to make it clear that these two documents definitely go together.

 

Choosing an appropriate font

 

Now is not the time to experiment with weird fonts, and making your font extra large or super small helps no one, least of all you. Keep to something tried-and-true, professional, and understated like Noto, Garamond, Arial, or even the default Liberation or Calibri. Lock font size at 11 or 12 points.

 

Making your layout clear and easy to follow

 

Keeping your cover letter so short and concise has left you with a lot of white space. Use it to your advantage: clearly separate your cover letter into subsections. Don’t bunch your text up in single blocks when you can make it airy and easy on the eye by using additional paragraphs or bullet points.

 

Starting from scratch with every application

 

Copying and pasting the same short and simple cover letter and sending it out to different companies will be obvious to the people who have to read it, and they won’t be impressed. Write a new short cover letter for each and every new job application. Research the company and show off your knowledge.

 

Sticking with PDF

 

Your cover letter might be short and sweet but you’ve still put too much effort into it to have the formatting messed up by something like a *.docx file—use PDF unless explicitly asked for something else.

 

A cover letter alone simply won’t be enough—you need an impactful CV, too. Create your CV in minutes. Choose a professional CV template and quickly fill in every CV section using ready-made content and expert advice.

 

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So you see, you can make your cover letter short without cutting anything vital from it to do so. I hope this article has been helpful to you! Please leave your questions, comments, and any job-hunting adventures you’d like to share in the comments section below.

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LiveCareer Editorial Team
LiveCareer Editorial Team

About the author

Since 2005, the LiveCareer Team has been helping job seekers advance their careers. In our in-depth guides, we share insider tips and the most effective CV and cover letter writing techniques so that you can beat recruiters in the hiring game and land your next job fast. Also, make sure to check out our state-of-the-art CV and cover letter builder—professional, intuitive, and fully in line with modern HR standards. Trusted by 10 million users worldwide.

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