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									     Cover Letter Writing

               A Training Guide Presented by:
         The Durham Region Employment Network
In Partnership with Industry Canada’s CAP Youth Initiative Program

                        (Printed October 2009)
October 2009                       Cover Letter Writing                               Page 1


The Durham Region Employment Network (DREN) in partnership with Industry
Canada’s CAP Youth Initiative, is pleased to provide a number of workshops and
resources on computer training.
This guide is an introduction to Cover Letter Writing and is designed for people
with little or no experience writing a cover letter. This set of basic introductory
lessons will help you become comfortable writing a cover letter through learning
and practice.
To use this training guide, follow the instructions page by page, or for quick
reference, use the table of contents below. A link to this printout and the
resources for our computer workshops are available through the DREN website
found at
If you require further assistance please feel free to contact us at DREN by:
Telephone: 905-720-1777; Website:; OR feel free to contact
your local CAP station.

This Introduction to the Cover Letter Writing has been adapted from a
variety of resources including;; and

                                    Table of Contents
                       1.         Training Objectives

                       2.         Importance of Cover letters

                       3.         Basic Criteria of Cover Letters

                       4.         Content to Include

                       5.         Appearance and Layout

                       6.         Sample Cover Letter Template

1.     Training Objectives

By the end of this workshop you will be able to:

       Understand the Importance and use of Cover Letters

       Add appropriate content to your Cover Letter

       Create a Cover Letter based on example templates

Presented by: DREN, 60 Bond St. W., Oshawa, ON L1G 1A5 Phone: 905.720.1777,
October 2009                       Cover Letter Writing                               Page 2

2.      The Importance of Cover Letters

Having a great cover letter is your first step in getting hired. It is the initial
evaluation of your skills, your resume, and you as a worker.

This tutorial will give you an overview of how to create a professional cover letter.

When responding to an advertised job posting, whether via letter, email or fax,
you should always include a covering letter with your resume. Treat it as a vital
part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and
consideration. A cover letter introduces you and your resume, and is your first
chance to make a good impression on your potential employer. Aim to make it
entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other
applicants. Your resume should not be sent without one!

While we cannot give you a prescriptive formula for writing a cover letter, as
they should be personalized not standard documents, following some basic
guidelines should help ensure you receive a positive response from your initial

3.      Basic Criteria of Cover Letter

Your cover letter should include these standard criteria:

     1. The first section is meant to introduce yourself, and the position you are
        applying for. Make sure it is clear right away what position you are
        applying for and possibly why you are deciding to pursue this position.
        Also include in this section where you found the job you are applying for.

     2. The second section should be about your skills and how they can be
        applied to the company you are applying to. Make sure you highlight the
        skills you have as they refer to the job advertisement as well as your
        achievements and versatility. Mention personality traits relevant to the role
        applied for. Keep this section concise and crisp. The reader should be left
        with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to
        the workforce.

3.      The final section of your cover letter deals with how they can contact you.
        Make sure you list the various methods of contacting you and that all your
        contact information is accurate. There should also be a closing statement
        on your desire for an interview, and thank them for their time and
        consideration etc.

Presented by: DREN, 60 Bond St. W., Oshawa, ON L1G 1A5 Phone: 905.720.1777,
October 2009                       Cover Letter Writing                               Page 3

4.     Content to Include

If you are writing in response to a job posting, indicate where you learned of
the position and the title of the position. More importantly, express your
enthusiasm and the likely match between your credentials and the position's
qualifications. Tailor your cover letter to that specific job by choosing to highlight
skills and traits you have that relate directly to that job.

If you are writing a prospecting letter, a letter in which you inquire about
possible job openings - state your specific job objective. Since this type of letter is
unsolicited, it is even more important to capture the reader’s attention.

If you are writing a networking letter to approach an individual for information,
make your request clear

The most important thing to include in your letter is to highlight your skills,
qualifications, and character traits that will show potential employers that you are
qualified for the job and that you will be a valuable asset to their organization.

5.     Appearance and layout

Most employers prefer a cover letter that is typed. It is important to ensure your
letter is neatly and clearly presented on plain white paper of the same size and
quality to your resume. Check accurately for grammatical and spelling errors, as
having any errors will automatically turn-off a potential employer. Your cover
letter should also be written in a standard and clear font, with standard

Your letter should also address the relevant contact, the name of whom will often
appear in the job advert. Avoid Sir or Madam if possible. Unlike a resume, it is
acceptable to write a cover letter in first person.

Your cover letter should not include long paragraphs and complicated sentence
structure. The person reading your cover letter may just briefly scan it, looking for
key points of interest to see if you are qualified for the job, before they read your
resume. If your important points are buried in long sentences, they will likely be
overlooked. If you have a skill that's crucial to the job you are applying for,
consider putting it in its own sentence so that it's easily seen by the reader.

The maximum length of your cover letter should be one page - not a tightly-
packed one page, but an easy to read with lots of white space, one page.

Presented by: DREN, 60 Bond St. W., Oshawa, ON L1G 1A5 Phone: 905.720.1777,
October 2009                       Cover Letter Writing                               Page 4

6.     Cover Letter Template Example

Your street or box number
City, State, Zip, telephone number and email address


Contact’s Name
Contact’s Title
Organization Name
Street Address
City, State, Zip

Dear Mr. Or Ms. (person’s last name only):

Paragraph 1: State immediately the position you are pursuing and how you came to
know of the opening. If you have an alumnus, family or other contact at the organization,
you can mention that here as well. Tell the employer briefly (one or two sentences) why
you are interested in this position.

Paragraph 2: Explain the skills and experiences you have that will make you successful
in the position. Talk about classes you have taken, activities you have been involved in,
summer experiences you have had. You do not have to have directly related experience
but think about the skills you have gained from what you have done and how those could
relate to the duties of the position you are applying for. You do not want to repeat your
resume to the employer in this paragraph but this is the place to highlight related
accomplishments that will make the reader want to learn more, which will lead them to
your resume. The goal is to show the employer that you have confidence in your ability
to succeed in the position.

Paragraph 3: Demonstrate that you have done some research about this organization.
Go to their website; look in industry periodicals (Ad Week, Wall Street Journal, Chronicle
of Higher Education) and talk to alumni or other contacts that may currently work for the
organization. This research does not have to be extensive but it shows that you have
taken some time to think about this position and put some effort into this letter. This
makes a very good impression on employers. It shows that this is not a form letter where
only the address and contact name is changed for each position.

Paragraph 4: State that you would welcome a personal interview to further discuss this
opportunity. If you need to explain anything out of the ordinary on your resume, this is
the place to do it. You might mention that if you do not hear anything from the potential
employer in two to three weeks time that you will call to follow up this letter to see where
they are in their process. Finish by thanking them for their attention and express a desire
to meet them sometime in the near future.


Your signature (leave 4 blank spaces for this)

Your name in print

Presented by: DREN, 60 Bond St. W., Oshawa, ON L1G 1A5 Phone: 905.720.1777,

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