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Friday, March 5, 2021
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Tips & Training

Resources to help jobseekers craft a compelling cover letter

Summarizing your professional achievements in the form of a resume is one thing – describing them in a cover letter is a whole other. A strong cover letter catches a hiring manager’s attention and convinces them that you’re a great fit for the job.

The following resources can help jobseekers – and career professionals – craft a strong, compelling cover letter.

Publications
Best Canadian Cover Letters (Career Professionals of Canada) (CPC) [Book]

The third edition of Best Canadian Cover Letters contains step-by-step instructions for creating a cover letter, more than 130 cover letter samples designed for Canadian jobs by resume strategists, and information regarding Canadian spelling, grammar and legislative requirements. The book was published by Career Professionals of Canada and written by Sharon Graham.

Resume and Cover Letter Toolkit (University of Toronto) [PDF guide]

This 26-page toolkit created by the University of Toronto explains how to identify the key skills an employer is looking for and the ones you have to offer. It also contains tips for creating your cover letter, an outline and sample cover letters.

Courses and workshops
Virtual Resume and Cover Letter workshop (Career Edge)

You’ll find tips for developing a cover letter around the 19-minute point of this free video, which covers:

  • Tips for before you develop your cover letter
  • An outline of the different sections that make up a cover letter
  • Tips and examples for crafting the opening, body and closing paragraphs
Writing Authentic Cover Letters: The 8-Step Guide (Career Stories)

This $97 cover letter course is offered by Kerri Twigg, whose cover letter was once passed around the office by a vice-president who said it was the best she’d ever read. Now, Twigg is a career transition coach and job search strategist who was featured in LinkedIn Top Voice 2018.

Divided into four modules, the Writing Authentic Cover Letters course features:

  • An 8-step method for writing a cover letter
  • Sample cover letters, including Kerri’s famous best cover letter
  • Writing prompts
  • Bonus recordings and worksheets

You can find a video featuring Twigg’s intro to writing authentic cover letters on her website.

Writing a Cover Letter (LinkedIn)

Led by career strategist and Certified Professional Resume Writer Jenny Foss, this LinkedIn Learning course explores every step of the cover letter writing process, as well as tips for getting your cover letter in the hands of decision makers. Completion of the course results in a certificate you can display in the “Licenses and Certificates” section of your LinkedIn profile.

Websites

Note: It’s important for jobseekers to customize cover letters to suit the specific jobs they’re applying for and the employers they’re writing to. Cover letter templates can provide inspiration and act as helpful starting points as they tailor their letter to align with the job they’re hoping to land.

CareerWise

CERIC’s CareerWise website features a collection of articles related to cover letters, including “This is what a cover letter needs to land you an interview and “Applying for entry-level jobs? Do these things to write your cover letter.”

Jobscan

What makes Jobscan unique is its ability to study applicant tracking systems so it can help you strategically design your application to get noticed by software algorithms and hiring managers.  To access Jobscan’s cover letter optimization feature, you can try one month free or sign up for a monthly plan.

Jobscan also features a free robust cover letter writing guide that contains tips, a guided outline and answers to frequently asked questions, as well as cover letter formats, templates and examples.

Glassdoor

This cover letter guide looks at what to include in a cover letter and what to leave out, and also features cover letter examples, common mistakes and other relevant topics. What makes this guide is especially helpful is that it’s written in a gentle, informative voice that can make it feel like you’re being guided by a friend.

ResumeLab

This website is full of cover letter resources. The cover letter builder promises to help you make your cover letter in five minutes by guiding you step-by-step in choosing a template, filling out personal information, and writing or pasting the body of your cover letter. The cover letter builder also provides access to sample letters tailored to your experience level.

ResumeLab also offers cover letter templates, examples, formats and articles such as how to write the perfect cover letter in 10 minutes.

Resume Genius

Resume Genius offers a multitude of cover letter resources that go beyond tips, templates and examples (although they have those too). This database goes into even more detail by offering writing tips for candidates who have a lot of work experience and candidates who don’t, as well as examples of different types of cover letters for specific situations, such as an entry-level cover letter or a cover letter for a career change. This site also offers a cover letter building tool, proofreading tips and answers to frequently asked questions.

The Balance Careers

This cover letter guide explores everything from how to make your cover letter stand out to cover letter basics, writing, formats, templates and samples. The Balance Careers has also shared an article offering 10 tips for writing a cover letter.

Write an engaging cover letter (York University)

This page contains tips, worksheets and samples to help students craft an engaging cover letter, from the Career Education & Development section of York University’s website.

Additional reading


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Marisa Baratta is a writer and editor who lives in Ontario with her husband and their daughter. She loves writing, especially fiction that touches your heart, opens your mind, makes you laugh and inspires positive change. Her shelves are lined with short stories, poems and chapter books she wrote since she was five. She can often be found writing, reading, cooking, walking near trees or spending time with her loved ones.
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Marisa Baratta is a writer and editor who lives in Ontario with her husband and their daughter. She loves writing, especially fiction that touches your heart, opens your mind, makes you laugh and inspires positive change. Her shelves are lined with short stories, poems and chapter books she wrote since she was five. She can often be found writing, reading, cooking, walking near trees or spending time with her loved ones.
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