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Cover Letter Outline

A good cover letter lets employers know who you are, what job you want, and why they should look at your resumé. Use this outline to write an effective cover letter. If you’re emailing your cover letter, skip the Re: line. That’s your email subject line.


Once you’ve written your cover letter, go over the check list at the bottom of the page. This will help you give your cover letter a polished look.


Your address
City, province, postal code


Name of recipient
Recipient’s job title

Company name
Street address or box number
City, province, postal code

Re: Position Title (Job Reference Number, if you have one)

Dear Mr. or Ms. Last Name: Address a specific person, not Sir or Madam. If you’re not sure if the person is male or female, use the person’s full name (e.g., Dear Pat Walker). If you don’t have a name, send the letter to “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear XYZ Company Team.”

First paragraph: Explain your reason for writing. If you are applying for a specific job, say so and state how you heard about it. If someone referred you to the employer, name that person. For example, Joe Davis, your customer service manager, suggested I write to you. If you’re not applying for a specific job, just say that you are interested in working for this organization.

Middle paragraph(s): Explain what makes you a good fit for this job or type of work. Point out any work or training (including volunteer or school experience) that makes you a good fit for the job. Focus on highlights and leave the facts for your resumé. Is this a reply to a job posting? Explain how your skills and experience match those described in the posting. Keep your paragraph(s) short.

Last paragraph: If this is an emailed cover letter, state that a resumé or application is attached. (See “Enclosure” if this cover letter is on paper.) Request an interview. Let the reader know you will check back to set up an appointment.



Your Name
(If your cover letter is in paper format, leave three lines for your signature above your typed name. Sign the letter. If you’re sending it by email, you don’t need to leave space before your name.)

Enclosure (This lets the reader know that you’ve included a resumé. You don’t need this if you’re sending your resumé by email.)


Additional resources

Use this cover letter checklist.

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