Being able to write a good cover letter is crucial to entering the workforce anywhere in the world, including, of course, Canada. More often than not, jobs that pay more than minimum wage will require a cover letter, which means it’s important to know how to write one that gets your potential employer’s attention.
Not sure how to write a Canadian cover letter? That’s what we’re here for!
Today’s article is going in-depth on how to write a cover letter and what to include, as well as contain a number of visual samples that you can use for inspiration.
How To Write Strong Cover Letters: Canadian Formatting
Cover letters should be written with professionalism and in a step-by-step methodology. In addition, there are a number of things that must be included for hiring managers to take your cover letter seriously.
Cover Letter Sections to Include
If your cover letter is printed on paper and going to be handed to a potential employer by hand, include the following information on the left-hand side of the first page.
Hiring Manager’s Name
However, if your cover letter is being emailed, you can leave out the hiring manager’s name, company name, and company address. In addition, if you’re addressing two individuals, you can use their names or titles on the same line, separated by a comma as shown in the example below.
Start your letter by addressing the hiring manager directly by name. You’ll want to use both their first and last name. If they have a title, you can use their title instead. For example, “Dear Dr. Johnson” instead of “Dear Alex Johnson”.
If you can’t find the manager’s name, use “Dear Hiring Team” or “Dear Hiring Manager”. Do your best to avoid old-fashioned, outdated greetings such as “To Whom It May Concern” and “Dear Madam/Sir”
The opening paragraph is, perhaps, the most important paragraph of your entire cover letter. With this paragraph, you’re given a chance to introduce yourself and to tell the hiring manager why you’re applying for the job. Make sure that the paragraph is specific to the job.
Include the reason why you’re excited about the job and working for the company, and how the job lines up with the goals you have for your career.
If you were referred to the job by someone who’s already employed by the company or who knows the hiring manager, mention that information in this paragraph.
After you’ve written your introduction and expressed your enthusiasm for the position you’re applying for, it’s time to outline your previous job experience and qualifications. In no more than two paragraphs, describe how your previous work history and educational background make you a good candidate for the position. Instead of rehashing the information on your resume, use this space to elaborate on the specific things that make you qualified for the job.
With your closing paragraph, thank the hiring manager for taking time out of their day to read your cover letter. You can also use this paragraph to clarify anything from the above paragraphs that may seem confusing. As an example, you can explain why you have large gaps in your work history or clarify that you’re in the process of relocating to the city the position is in if you currently live elsewhere.
It’s also a good time to add a call to action that invites the hiring manager to take the next steps. You can ask them to call you if they have any additional questions or if they want to chat more about the position at hand. It may seem pushy, but call to actions are a great way to express your enthusiasm without repeating yourself or sounding over-zealous. They also convey a level of confidence that potential employers are typically fond of.
Signature and Complimentary Close
Complimentary closes should be traditional and formal. They should be followed by your name. A few examples of complimentary closes include:
- Thank you
- Thank you for your consideration
Avoid casual sayings such as:
- Thanks a lot/ton/bunch
If you’re submitting a paper copy of your cover letter, be sure to include your first and last name below the complimentary close. Follow your name with a hand-written signature. For electronic cover letters, you can include an electronic signature or choose to omit the signature altogether.
Canadian Cover Letter FAQ
Are Cover Letters Necessary for Employment in Canada?
Writing cover letters takes time and attention. Luckily, not all employers in Canada require their applicants to submit a cover letter. Typically, higher-up jobs such as those working in a medical office or being an insurance agent will require cover letters, while others (retail, fast food etc) will not.
Do Employers Notice Spelling/Grammar on Cover Letters?
One thing that employers all around the world, including Canada, look for on cover letters is good grammar and spelling. Your cover letter should be free of spelling errors and make sense when read aloud. Sentences should flow correctly and naturally, adhering to basic grammar rules.
A good way to ensure that your CL meets these standards is by using spell checking software such as Grammarly and the spelling/grammar checking programs that come included with GoogleDocs.
What Fonts to Use for Cover Letters?
Cover letters are not the document on which you want to be creative with fonts. Employers don’t necessarily pay attention to fonts, but they do notice when a font looks unprofessional. To be safe, stick with classic fonts like Times New Roman.