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JiaHwa - Information Resource for Chinese in Canada

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December 13 2017    Wednesday
Looking for a Job in Canada: Cover Letter Writing

Cover Letter Writing Tips

  1. Always send a cover letter - The first rule of cover letter etiquette is to send a cover letter -- always. It doesn't matter if the hiring manager didn't ask for it or you're too busy to write one. It's proper business etiquette to accompany a resume with a cover letter, and it gives you the opportunity to help sell yourself for the position.
  2. Be Concise
  3. Keep It Professional But Friendly - Keep the salutation professional by using "Dear Mr. Jones," not "Dear Jim."
  4. Get Personal - Whenever possible, address your letter to a specific person. If a job posting doesn't include a person's name, do some research to find out who the correct person is. Try calling the employer (but do respect ads that state "no phone calls"), and ask a receptionist for the hiring manager's name.
  5. Focus on the Employer's Needs
  6. Do not repeat what's in your resume - A cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the data-oriented, factual resume and add a personal touch. A cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer, creating a critical first impression.
  7. Try to avoid specify salary requirements - The best strategy is to acknowledge the request for salary requirements in your cover letter without going into specific detail. Providing hard numbers now weakens your negotiating power later. And if your requirements fall outside the position's parameters, you may not even be considered for the job. It's best to indicate in your cover letter that you would be happy to discuss salary requirements once a mutual interest has been established. Or if you really feel pressured, provide a broad range: "My salary requirements are in the $60,000 to $80,000 range, depending upon the specific scope of responsibilities."
  8. Proofread - Cover letters should be free of errors, so thoroughly proofread them before sending. If proofreading is not your strong suit, get help from someone with meticulous proofreading skills. And one last tip: whatever you do, please spell the hiring manager's name correctly.

Cover Letter Format Guidelines

Your Street Address
City, State Zip Code
Telephone Number
Email Address

Month, Day, Year

Mr./Ms./Dr. FirstName LastName
Name of Organization
Street or P. O. Box Address
City, State Zip Code

Dear Mr./Ms./Dr. LastName:

Opening paragraph: State why you are writing; how you learned of the organization or position, and basic information about yourself.

2nd paragraph: Tell why you are interested in the employer or type of work the employer does (Simply stating that you are interested does not tell why, and can sound like a form letter). Demonstrate that you know enough about the employer or position to relate your background to the employer or position. Mention specific qualifications which make you a good fit for the employer’s needs. This is an opportunity to explain in more detail relevant items in your resume. Refer to the fact that your resume is enclosed. Mention other enclosures if such are required to apply for a position.

3rd paragraph: Indicate that you would like the opportunity to interview for a position or to talk with the employer to learn more about their opportunities or hiring plans. State what you will do to follow up, such as telephone the employer within two weeks. If you will be in the employer’s location and could offer to schedule a visit, indicate when. State that you would be glad to provide the employer with any additional information needed. Thank the employer for her/his consideration.


(Your handwritten signature)

Your name typed

Enclosure(s) (refers to resume, etc.)

(Note: the contents of your letter might best be arranged into four paragraphs. Consider what you need to say and use good writing style. See the following examples for variations in organization and layout.)

Sample Cover Letter #1

January 1, 2007

Mr. John Smith
Employment Manager
Number One Pharmaceutical Corporation
1376477 Jefferson Parkway
Roanoke, VA 24019

Dear Mr. Smith:

From your company's web site I learned about your need for a sales representative for the Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina areas. I am very interested in this position with Acme Pharmaceuticals, and believe that my education and employment background are appropriate for the position.

While working toward my master’s degree, I was employed as a sales representative with a small dairy foods firm. I increased my sales volume and profit margin appreciably while at Farmer’s Foods, and I would like to repeat that success in the pharmaceutical industry. I have a strong academic background in biology and marketing, and think that I could apply my combination of knowledge and experience to the health industry. I will complete my master's degree in marketing in mid-May and will be available to begin employment in early June.

Enclosed is a copy of my resume, which more fully details my qualifications for the position.

I look forward to talking with you regarding sales opportunities with Acme Pharmaceuticals. Within the next week I will contact you to confirm that you received my email and resume and to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for your consideration.


Lynn A. Gates
554211 Hunt Lane, #1
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 555-5555

Sample Cover Letter #2

1000 Terrace View Apts.
Blacksburg, VA 24060
(540) 555-4523

Feburary 2, 2007

Mr. John Bush
Personnel Director
Anderson Construction Company
3507111 Rockville Pike
Rockville, MD 20895

Dear Mr. Wilson:

I read in the March 24th Washington Post classified section of your need for a Civil Engineer or Building Construction graduate for one of your Washington, DC, area sites. I will be returning to the Washington area after graduation in May and believe that I have the necessary credentials for the project.

I have worked at various levels in the construction industry every summer since the 8th grade. As you can see from my resume, I worked several summers as a general laborer, gradually moved up to a carpenter, and last summer I worked as assistant construction manager on a 100 million dollar job.

In addition to this practical experience, I will complete requirements for my Building Construction degree in May. As you may know, Virginia Tech in one of the few universities in the country that offers such a specialized degree for the construction industry. I am confident that my Building Construction degree, along with my years of construction industry experience, make me an excellent candidate for your job.

The Anderson Construction Company projects are familiar to me, and my aspiration is to work for a company that has your excellent reputation. I would welcome the opportunity to interview with you. I will be in the Washington area during the week of April 12th and would be available to speak with you at that time. In the next week to ten days I will contact you to answer any questions you may have.

Thank you for your consideration.

(handwritten signature)
Steve Weiss

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