I tend to keep our applications messages pretty short–about a paragraph or so, maybe a bit longer depending on the particulars of the listing. My husband and I have been sitting for almost 10 years. While I can’t remember our total record over this time, for several years now at least, we get almost every sit to which we apply.
Because of our pretty strong track record, I am fairly confident of our chances for being accepted to any sit we apply to, and I think that confidence, relaxed attitude and detachment comes across in my writing, or at least I like to think it does!
We have a really detailed profile and over 60 reviews–I never mention our number of reviews in our message but I do mention how long we have been doing this-- so I don’t feel compelled to write really long application messages that would probably just repeat much of what I wrote in our profile.
But what I do cover in the message shows I read the listing fully, and I assume they are going to check the profile regardless of the length of the message–provided it isn’t a poorly written one that would automatically discount the applicant. So I am comfortable with these shorter introductions. I suspect really long messages can often come across as trying too hard to sell yourself.
I always address the HO and pets by name, and touch on anything in the listing that seems important to them, whether it be experience administering certain types of medications, watching a certain breed of dog, familiarity with the local culture,etc… I usually give them some background on our current schedule so they know where we will be coming from–if I know that information-- when we could arrive,etc…
I may also address something about their travel plans if they mention them, like having been to where they are headed and how I think they will enjoy it, sorry about having to visit a sick relative,etc…
Just be yourself, don’t sound too thirsty and read the listing carefully to craft a message that shows you actually did read it.
Also, in sharing my experience of writing short messages, that isn’t to suggest that is a better approach, just that this has worked well for us. I think there can be assumption a longer one is better but not necessarily. I think it really depends on the contents in either case.