11 Cover Letter Sections

Your Contact Information

  • Your first and last name, current address, phone number, and email address.
  • Be sure to match the format of your resume to show consistency in your branding.

Date of Submission:

  • Date that you are applying and submitting your application for the position, written out in long form (ex. March 31, 2021).

Company Name, Department Name, and Address:

  • Employer’s name and title.
  • The name of the company and/or department that is listed on the job posting.
  • The company’s full address.
  • If the address is not listed on the posting, search it on the internet. If there are several different locations, reach out to the company directly to find out more information on which location is hiring. If you are still unable to obtain this information, use the Head Office address.

Subject of the Letter: (Re:)

  • Exact job title and posting number, if one has been provided.
  • For example: Re: Part-time Medical Ward Clerk, Day Surgery, Posting #35546.


  • If the name of the hiring contact and address is not on the posting, put in the extra effort to research this information for yourself.
  • Check the company’s website, or LinkedIn, or call the company directly to obtain the name of the person in charge of hiring for the position.
  • Personalize your greeting to say, “Dear First Name Last Name.” (Public Works and Government Services Canada, Translation Bureau, 2015).
    • For example, if the person’s name is Jackie Chan, your greeting is “Dear Jackie Chan”.
      • Do not use:
        • “Dear Mr. Chan”
        • “Dear Jackie”
        • “Dear Chan”
        • “Dear Ms. Chan”
        • “Dear Mrs. Chan”.
  • If you are unable to obtain a specific name, use “Dear Hiring Manager”.
  • Do not use a generic greeting such as “To Whom it May Concern”.


  • The introduction should answer the 4 “W’s” Who, Why, What, and Where.
    • Who: Introduce yourself to the employer (your program of study) and start with a strong sentence that demonstrates why they should be interested in you.
    • Why: Explain briefly why you would like to work for this employer. This paragraph lets the employer know that you have written this letter specifically for them. and demonstrates your knowledge of the company.
      • Instead of telling the employer what this position can do for you, state what you will bring and how this makes you a strong fit for the organization. By stating your knowledge of the company and emphasizing your interest, you are setting yourself apart from other candidates. For example, if you are applying for a job because the hours or location are convenient for you, do not state this in your letter. Instead, research the company’s mission, vision, values, etc. to find something that really appeals to you and state, in your letter, how this attracted you to the position.
    • What: List the job title (If this is a generic cover letter, describe what type of job interests you).
    • Where: Note whether you are responding to an advertised position, wish to be considered for a prospective opening, or if you were referred to the company by a friend or a colleague. (i.e., how you found out about this position).

Body of the Letter:

  • Promote yourself; give a summary of your relevant experience and how they meet the employer’s needs: e.g. work placements, co-op, applied research, previous employment, years of experience, etc. Use descriptive, positive, action verbs to describe what you can do and keywords from the job posting. Highlight your strongest skills and provide further or more in-depth details about a significant accomplishment or an example that pertains to the job
  • If the job posting lists a skill that you lack, do not draw attention to this skill. Do not apologize for it or even mention it in your letter


  • In closing your cover letter, briefly summarize what you will contribute to the company.
  • Mention your enclosed resume, if you haven’t done so in the body of your letter.
  • Thank the employer for their consideration.
  • Provide your contact information and remind them how you can be reached most easily, you can also clarify which times of the day you are most reachable if you have other obligations.
  • Clearly and politely ask for an opportunity to meet or discuss your qualifications further.


  • Complete your letter by writing “Sincerely” underneath your last paragraph.
  • Skip several spaces and type out your first and last name.
  • There are several applications that can be downloaded that allow you to create an importable image of your handwritten signature, which offers a nice professional look to finish off your letter when submitting your applications online.
  • At the very bottom, add: Encl., Enc. or Enclosure (this alerts the reader that there are more pages to read, ie, your resume)

Chapter References

Public Works and Government Services Canada, Translation Bureau. (2015, October 15). Gender-inclusive writing: Correspondence (linguistic recommendation from the Translation Bureau). BtB Translation Bureau. https://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2guides/guides/wrtps/index-eng.html?lang=eng&lettr=indx_catlog_g&page=9tZXuAe4oZYs.html

Unless otherwise indicated, this chapter is an adaptation of Be the Boss of Your Career: A Complete Guide for Students & Grads by Lindsay Bortot and Employment Support Centre, Algonquin College, and is used under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International license.

Share This Book