Your Cover Letter

When applying for a job, it's generally a good idea to include a cover letter, otherwise known as an “application letter” or an “accompanying letter,” with your résumé. 

As your first contact with a potential employer, your cover letter is a good opportunity to show that you have the skills needed to do the job. It should convince the employer to take a closer look at your résumé and contact you for an interview.

Once you have reread your letter and are satisfied with it, you can send off your application.

Sample cover letter you can download

We are providing a sample cover letter (DOCX, 23 KB) This hyperlink will open in a new window. that you can download and use as a possible basis for your own letter. Other sample letters can easily be found online.

Our sample letter includes the typical sections of a cover letter. It was designed to help people draft a clear cover letter with a professional look. 

You will need to save a copy of the sample to your computer in order to modify each section by entering your own information.

Before writing your letter

  • Have your résumé and the job offer handy.
  • Seek out certain information about the company (size, activities, customers, projects, etc.). 
    • Your primary source of information is the company's website.
    • The Labour Market Information (LMI Online) This hyperlink will open in a new window. website can provide information on the company’s sector of activity as well as job prospects and average wages.
    • Find out what the job involves.
  • Ask yourself about your interest in the job:
    • What is it about the company and job that really interests you?
    • Is it a new experience or a new challenge? Or is it that you are already familiar with the work involved?
    • What are the skills and experiences you wish to highlight? (To make your application more interesting, think of things that are not already in your résumé.)
  • Make sure you have the name and title of the person to whom you should address your letter.

This information is generally provided in the job offer. Don’t hesitate to call the company if you need more information.

Tips for writing your cover letter

  • Avoid talking only about yourself. Address the company's needs, which are generally described in the job offer.
  • Use positive, assertive wording like "I developed. . . ”
  • Be original without being aggressive or arrogant.
  • Avoid copying word-for-word what is already in your résumé. Include new information and find new ways of expressing your ideas.
  • Keep it short (maximum one page).
  • Ensure your letter is neat and well-structured:
    • Single-space your letter and use paragraphs.
    • Provide a clean copy (without stains or visible deletions).
  • Reread your letter carefully before sending it in.

Is the employer looking for someone with more experience than you?

If you think you're able to do the job, send in your résumé anyway. The enthusiasm you show in your cover letter may make up for your lack of experience.

Contents of a cover letter

Structure the various sections of your letter correctly.

Heading

  • Indicate the date on which you send your letter..
  • Indicate the name, title and address of the person to whom your letter is addressed.

First part

  • Mention how you heard about the job (an ad in a newspaper or other publication, a posting on the Online Placement website, personal contacts, etc.).

Second part

  • Explain briefly why you think you are the right person for the job.
  • Invite the person to read your résumé.
  • Explain how your education or training, work experience, skills and work ethic meet the job requirements. The idea is to show how your qualifications would be an asset for the employer.
    • Write one or two paragraphs.
    • Try to tailor your letter to the company and job in question.
    • Explain how your work experience can help you meet the job offer requirements. This shows the employer that you’re motivated and serious.

Third part

  • Thank the person for having taken the time to read your application.
  • Clearly state that you are available for an interview.

Closing

  • End your letter with a standard formal closing like "Yours truly."

Signature

  • Write your name and contact information (address, telephone number and email address) under your signature.
  • Include your personal website address, if you have one.
  • Sign your letter carefully.
  • After "Encl.," list any documents that you are including with your letter, such as a résumé.

Need help?

Resources like employability services organizations (French only) This hyperlink will open in a new window. and Services Québec employees can provide you with the help and advice you need to write or improve your cover letter.