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Cover letters

What to include

You can include information like:

  • competencies
  • credentials
  • types of experiences 
  • demonstrated accomplishments

If you're responding to a job posting:

  • identify the organization
  • refer to the position you’re applying for
  • address an individual who is hiring (if possible)
  • describe how your experiences and skills match the requirements of the position and how this will be benefit the employer
  • avoid just repeating information from your resume – this is your chance to provide some context

If you're sending a letter to an employer who isn't currently hiring:

  • identify the type of position you’re interested in
  • explain why you're contacting the organization or person
  • outline how your experience and competencies will bring value
  • indicate when and how you’re going to follow up

How to structure it

Every cover letter is different, so this is just a suggestion of what you may want to include.

Introductory paragraph

  • state your purpose and why you are applying
  • list the job title and organization name
  • show that you’ve researched the organization, such as referencing its mission or vision statement
  • indicate your enthusiasm and state what you’ll bring to the organization

Middle paragraph or paragraphs

  • use an active voice
  • group information around the job requirements (e.g., your organizational skills)
  • avoid starting every sentence with “I”
  • use transition phrases (e.g., additionally, also)
  • give solid examples of your past experience and the skills you bring as a result

Closing paragraph

  • thank the organization
  • cover any “add-ons”
    • criminal record check, age limit, citizenship/residency, driver’s license
  • provide your contact information, if applicable
  • restate your interest in the position and express interest in an interview


Keep your cover letter to 1 page unless otherwise specified. Match the font and style of your résumé.

Here are a few examples of cover letters:

Student name

November 1, 20XX

Employer name
Employer job title
Employer organization

Re: Position and competition number (if provided on the job posting)

Dear employer,

I am writing to apply for the Recreation Assistant Position with School Name as posted on the UVic job site. Throughout high school and university I have been involved in peer support and special needs assistance. I have a strong belief that recreation should be available to all members of our society.

While working as a counsellor at Camp Thunderbird, I gained experience leading groups of teenagers in outdoor activities. This experience also allowed me to work with teens with special needs, helping to accommodate them so that they could get the most out of the Camp Thunderbird environment. Additionally, I have been volunteering as a peer helper at UVic, where I counsel students who are having a difficult time. These experiences have opened my eyes to how important it is to be inclusive and supportive in all environments.

My volunteer background also includes coaching athletics at the high school level, where I worked mainly with girls’ basketball and volleyball teams. During my coaching experience, I developed the interpersonal communication and leadership skills that will help me excel as a recreation assistant. My enthusiasm and dedication are key attributes that I bring to everything I do. I also have a Class 4 driver’s license.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss this position in greater detail.

UVic Student


  • your contact information should match the information on your résumé
  • include the address of the organization that is hiring
  • address the cover letter to a person if possible
  • use real and detailed examples to highlight your qualifications
  • focus on why you’ll be an asset to the employer, not how you’ll benefit from the job
  • tell the employer what other competencies you have to offer
  • thank the employer for considering your application and request an interview

Job posting

This standard cover letter refers to the following job posting:

Job title: Recreation Assistant
Job location: Victoria
Region: Victoria (Capital Region)
Salary/wage: 18.50
Hours per week: 37.5
Number of positions: 2

Job description:

The person in this position will facilitate the recreation inclusion of people with disabilities into community-based leisure and recreation opportunities. This occurs under the overall supervision of the employer name. Evaluates leisure and recreation needs of clients and the assistance they require in order to participate in community leisure and recreation opportunities. Provides assistance to individuals with disabilities while they pursue their leisure and recreation interests. Encourages relationship building by facilitating the inclusion of clients with their non-disabled peers.

Other related duties as assigned.

Skills required:

  • commitment to the recreation inclusion process
  • ability to work independently
  • knowledge and/or experience working with people with disabilities
  • good communication skills
  • good organizational skills
  • valid standard first aid and CPR certification
  • no transcript required with your application

Special job requirements:

  • Class 4 Driver’s license

Student name
Phone: 250-555-5555    Email:

May 1, 20XX

Employer name
Employer job title
Employer organization

Dear employer,

I recently attended a Co-op and Career Fair open to students in the Bachelor of Commerce program, and was impressed by the breadth of public services offered by your company name

After reviewing the key objectives of the bureau and learning of the GoProject initiative, I understand the need for innovation in marketing this project. I am excited to be considered for the marketing analyst position. I am a strong academic performer with comprehensive training in research and marketing and the high degree of professionalism and technical skills required to support your team in its goals.

As a student leader with more than three years’ experience in marketing, I can offer:

  • familiarity with marketing principles and personal management, demonstrated by my success in several university-level marketing courses while working part-time
  • ability to produce marketing materials, both online and in print
  • creative and innovative thinking with experience running a small community-based arts collective
  • strong research and analytical skills, developed through case competitions and volunteer experience with Researchers Ltd.
  • significant experience with standard marketing tools (Adobe Creative Suite, HubSpot, Hootsuite) and statistical/database software (SPSS, Excel, Access)

As a self-motivated business student with a genuine interest in the GoProject, I look forward to sharing my strengths in an organization devoted to providing quality services to all the constituents in BC. I meet all of the funding criteria outlined in the position description and am available to begin immediately.

Thank you for considering my application, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,
Student name


  • your contact information should match the information on your résumé
  • include the address of the organization that is hiring
  • address the cover letter to a person if possible
  • state why the company interests you and how your skills and experience would be an asset
  • focus on why you’ll be an asset to the employer, not how you’ll benefit from the job
  • thank the employer for considering your application and request an interview

Job posting

The bulleted cover letter refers to the following job posting:

Position: Marketing Analyst
Employer: Employer name
Address applications to: Employer name

Job description:

This position reports to the senior marketing analyst with the employer name responsible for the GoProject Initiative and will provide general support to that role including such activities as:

  • working with the team to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for the GoProject Initiative
  • researching past marketing practices and best practices in other jurisdictions
  • analysis of survey and test marketing results using database software (Excel/Access)
  • development of marketing materials using a variety of media

Candidate qualifications:

  • demonstrated interest in marketing field
  • basic research skills
  • strong Excel skills, familiarity with other statistical/database management software an asset
  • familiarity with any marketing software would be an asset

A prospecting letter is also known as a letter of interest. It is sent to potential employers who may be hiring but who haven’t listed a specific job opening.

Student name
Phone: 250-555-5555    Email:

May 1, 20XX

Employer name
Employer title
Employer organization

Dear Mr. Scott,

I could not pass up the opportunity to inquire about a potential employment opportunity at the National Judicial Institute. I am presently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Public Administration program at the University of Victoria. In my attached résumé, you will see I have a proven ability to design, plan and lead high-impact programs. I possess the organizational and administrative acumen needed to translate a strategic vision into a results-producing action plan. In addition, I am motivated and enthusiastic and would appreciate the opportunity to contribute to your organization’s success.

With strong communication skills and a dynamic presentation and public speaking style, let me note that one of my greatest strengths is my ability to build relationships within and outside an organization. My experience working with community groups is as extensive as it is diverse. As a consultant and program manager, I was often tasked with the administration, development and implementation of strategies to assist or improve various programs, using my natural ability to establish consensus among cross-functional lines.

Key competencies:

  • proven ability to design, plan and lead high-impact training programs and curriculum and possess the necessary organizational and administrative acumen to translate a strategic vision into a results-producing action plan
  • strong interpersonal skills including listening, communication and mediation skills
  • manage the creation and development of training programs and materials and evaluation systems to meet the needs of internal and external stakeholders
  • continuously capitalize on best practices and lessons learned in order to optimize use of available resources and ensure the key program objectives are met
  • demonstrated ability to communicate at all levels of an organization
  • advanced ability to think conceptually and strategically, through understanding and analyzing complex situations or problems, identifying patterns or connections and developing innovative solutions in an environment of change

I am goal oriented, driven and not afraid of hard work. I will follow up to see if we can arrange a meeting in the future.

UVic Student

Writing your cover letter

A general cover letter that doesn’t address the particular job posting won’t cut it. You need a cover letter that addresses the employer’s needs.

Steps to writing a cover letter

  1. Assess the needs of the organization and how you can bring value. For help with this, see how to deconstruct a job posting.
  2. Choose your format and write your first draft.
  3. Get feedback and make revisions.
  4. Proofread and submit your cover letter.

Cover letter tips

  1. Gather background research on the organization and address your letter to a specific person if possible (or use “Dear Hiring Committee” if you don’t have a contact name). You can do a web search for the employer to see if they've been in the news recently.
  2. Explain why you’re writing by mentioning the job and organization by name.
  3. Identify what interests you about the job and describe how you can add value.
  4. Use detailed examples to describe your accomplishments and qualifications. It’s not enough to say that you have the skills; employers want to know how and when you’ve used them.
  5. Tailor your cover letter to the job posting by addressing the specific responsibilities of the position and the skills you can bring.
  6. Use fewer words and make each statement count. 
  7. Use professional language, correct spelling, punctuation and grammar.
  8. Use the action verbs list to find strong action words.
  9. Use a writing style that’s clear, straightforward and genuine.
  10. Thank the organization for considering your application and state that you're interested in learning about next steps.