Student Success Centre

Cover Letters

A cover letter has several purposes – to identify the position to which you are applying, to convince the employer why they should invite you to an interview, and to inform the employer how you will follow-up. Your cover letter should answer the question, “Why should you hire me?”.

Cover Letter Do's:

Cover Letter Don'ts:

Standard Format For a Cover Letter


Address & Contact Information

(Your personal letterhead from your resume)


Contact’s Name
Contact’s Title
Organization Name
Street Address
City, Province, Postal Code

Salutation i.e. Dear Mr./Ms. (Last Name only):

First Paragraph: (2 -4 sentences)

  • Indicate why you are writing.
  • Tell how you heard about the position/employer and why you are interested in it.
  • Mention the position to which you are applying.
  • Insert a brief sentence that gives your degree, major, university, and graduation date.
  • If you have a contact, mention that person here.
  • A brief statement about why you would fit the position.

Middle Section: (can be 1 or 2 paragraphs)

  • Demonstrate that you have done some research about this organization.
  • Describe what you have to offer to the employer. Focus on what you can do for them rather than why you want the position.
  • Connect their needs and your skills and/or experiences. Highlight your most significant accomplishments, abilities, and experiences that are specifically relevant to the employer and job requirements.  This is the section that will make the reader want to learn more, leading them to your resume.
  • Use this section to portray confidence in your ability to succeed in the position.

Final Paragraph

  • Thank the employer for considering your application.
  • If you need to explain anything out of the ordinary on your resume, this is the place to do it.
  • Express your desire to meet at an interview in the near future.
  • Make it clear what happens next - How will you will follow-up?

Complementary Close (i.e. Sincerely)

Your Signature (if mailing a copy) - leave 4 blank lines for this

Your Name (typed)

Western Students' Cover Letter Examples

The majority of cover letters included below represent actual documents of real students who have been offered an interview.