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CaRMS Reference Letter Writing Guide 2024

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Canada throws rays of hope for a growing number of medical students across the world. If you are thinking about doing medical residency training in Canada in 2024, there is good news. You can apply through Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) and get your seat allotment pretty much easier. In this blog, we bring to you a slew of useful information such as:

  • Tips on how to write CaRMS reference letter 
  • Carms reference letter samples
  • Dos and Don’ts in writing CaRMS recommendation letter

What Is CaRMS Recommendation Letter?

CaRMS (the Canadian Resident Matching Service) reference letter is a recommendation letter written by a known professor or colleague or project director on behalf of a candidate recommending them to a residency program in Canada while applying through CaRMS.

Why is it Important?

You need a CaRMS early reference letter when you apply for a residency program in Canada through Canadian Resident Matching Service. The letter is mandatory for the following reasons: 

  • It helps the admission panel know the candidate better from a second-person point of view 
  • It acts as an endorsement of the candidate’s unique qualities, strengths, and accomplishments. 
  • It provides examples of the candidate’s personal values, for instance, honesty and integrity 
  • It provides validation for the candidate’s own claims mentioned in the statement of purpose. 
  • It shows why the candidate is suitable for the medical residency program in Canada
Need Help In Writing a Letter of Recommendation? Contact Us

Questions to Brainstorm Before Writing CaRMS Request Reference Letters

Asking the following questions and trying to find their answers will help you write your reference letter convincingly. 

Why do you want to recommend this candidate? 

Explain why you have decided to recommend this candidate for the medical residency program in Canada. 

How do you know the candidate? 

Talk about the nature of your association with the candidate. Write about the official position you held while associating with the candidate as well as the length of your association. 

What are some qualities that make this candidate suitable for the medical profession? 

Write about a few qualities, for instance, leadership skills, time management skills, attention to detail etc. which you have observed in your candidate with some examples. 

Why do you think the candidate will succeed in a residency program in Canada? 

Write about the candidate’s past achievements and your convictions that he will continue to repeat the same while doing the medical residency program in Canada. 

What personal values does the candidate hold which will enable him/her to contribute to the institute in Canada? 

Write about the candidate’s personal values such as faithfulness, honesty etc. which will make him an asset to the institute to which he or she is applying in Canada.

Need Help In Writing a Letter of Recommendation? Contact Us

What Do Admissions Officers Expect to See in a CaRMS Recommendation Letter?

It is beyond any doubt that admission officers will expect a perfect reference letter when they review an application. In our research, we have found the following elements as the most basic expectations in a CaRMS reference letter. 

  • An LOR that looks genuine:  Make sure that the LOR is written on the official letterhead and contains the seal of the referee. 
  • Verifiable examples: Supply verifiable examples of the candidate’s accomplishments, qualities, skills, and strengths. 
  • Understandable writing: Admission officers do not want to break their heads to understand an LOR. They expect the letter to be written in simple and understandable language. 
  • Aptness of the candidate: Most important of all, the admission panel wants to know from the LOR that the candidate being recommended is apt for the residency program.

How Long Does a CaRMS recommendation letter Have to Be?

It is important to adhere to the recommended word count when you write a CaRMS reference letter, which is between 400 and 500 words.

CaRMS Reference Letter Sample

Having known so much about the CaRMS LOR, wouldn’t it be exciting to read a CaRMS reference letter example? Here is one for you to go through before writing.

Dear Members of the CaRMS Selection Panel,

I am writing this letter to express my wholehearted support for XXXXX who is applying for a residency position at your institution via Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS). As someone who has worked with XXX for over two years, I can attest to her excellence in the medical field, strong dedication and exceptional personal qualities and strengths.

During her medical education, she did a great part of her clinical rotations under my supervision. This was a period I learned more about her as a medical student and as a person. I could see her gradual growth from a hesitant student in the beginning to someone with outstanding skills in patient care and deep domain knowledge in medicine. She also showed consistent interest and eagerness to learn new things and master new clinical skills. She has a unique ability to apply whatever she learns in the classroom in a real-world scenario. This, in the context of clinical practice, is a very good quality that we strongly encourage all of our medical students to adhere to.

XXXX is good at communicating her ideas with anyone – no matter who they are. She was great at conveying complicated medical information in simple terms to patients and their families. Similarly, when she communicated with the rest of the healthcare team, she was very accurate and specific. Also, she possessed a commendable skill in building rapport with the patients via empathetic conversations. She would lend an ear to the patients whenever they expressed a need to be heard.

Among her colleagues, she was someone that everyone was happy to work with because of her uncompromising effort to create a supportive work environment and build collaboration with colleagues. On top of that, she cultivated a strong resilience and a commendable work ethic. When she leads a team, she knows how to make everyone feel responsible for their tasks and strive for a common goal.

Given her academic trajectory, performance graph, dedication, career aspirations and character, she makes a perfect candidate for the residence program you are conducting. I strongly recommend her candidacy and am willing to provide any further support or clarification to your questions should you require them going forward.

Yours sincerely




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Guidelines for Using CaRMS Reference Letter Samples

If you are not careful enough, you can be misled by reading the CaRMS reference letter examples. Here are some guidelines for using the samples. 

  • Download your sample from a source that you trust. The example given here is written by experts who have a strong understanding of CRMS requirements. 
  • Do not plagiarise your CaRMS LOR from any samples shared here or elsewhere. The admission panel at CaRMS expects a genuine LOR. 
  • Read multiple CaRMS reference letter samples, note down the perspective differences, and use that experience to develop your own unique way of presentation. 
  • Understand how the writer uses his/her shared experiences with the candidate to recommend the latter for the medical residency program in Canada. 
  • Get familiar with the format, paragraph structure, writing tone, lexical resources, grammatical ranges etc from the CaRMS letter of reference sample.

How to write a CaRMS LOR in five simple steps?

Here are the five simple steps to help you write a powerful Canadian Resident Matching Service LOR

  • Get to know the requirements: Do not start writing the LOR without getting a clear picture of the requirements such as the exact residency program being applied, intake, institute, carms letter of reference deadline etc. These details are important to customize the LOR. 
  • Review samples: Once you have gathered all details for the LOR, consider reviewing a couple of samples. We have shared a few samples in this blog. You can use them for your reference and as a starting point. 
  • Write the first draft: Write the first draft without focusing too much on perfection now. When you write, follow the structure used in the sample – introduction, body, conclusion, seal and contact details.
  • Get feedback: Share the draft with the candidate and get his/her feedback. Make sure that the information provided in the LOR is true and does not contradict the candidate’s documents like a personal statement or GPA or any other documents. 
  • Proofread and finalize: Next, proofread the LOR carefully. Keep an eye out for any grammatical or spelling mistakes. Also, make sure that the letter is smooth to read from start to end and maintains a logical flow.  
  • Submit: Find out how you are required to submit the LOR – whether it must be submitted directly or handed over to the candidate and submit it accordingly.
Need Help In Writing a Letter of Recommendation? Contact Us

Who Can Write My CaRMS Reference Letter?

Wondering who can write your CaRMS reference letter? LORs written and signed by the following persons are accepted by Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). 

Professors/HOD: A professor who taught you in medical school or the Head of the Department (HOD) who oversaw your academic training. 

Co-workers: If you are required to produce multiple reference letters, you can consider your co-workers to write one. 

Clinical supervisors: A supervisor or in-charge who oversaw any of your medical training sessions or clinical rotations. 

Mentors: A mentor or trainer who was assigned to you during a medical internship or fellowship program.

Need Help In Writing a Letter of Recommendation? Contact Us

Final Checklist

Ready to submit your CaRMS reference letter? Wait a minute. Make sure that your letter ticks the following checkboxes. 

  • Does your LOR share the conviction that you have the potential to succeed in the residency program in Canada? 
  • Does the LOR abide by the recommended word count, format, and structure? 
  • Does the reference letter seem positive and truly enthusiastic to recommend you to the Canadian residency program? 
  • Is the LOR in full agreement with all other documents you are submitting along with it such as SOP, application etc? 
  • Does the LOR give examples of your accomplishments, skills, strengths, and personal values? 
  • Does the LOR end on a positive note and contain the contact details of the referee?

Do’s and Don’ts in CaRMS Recommendation Letter Writing


  • Plan writing or getting your LOR written at least a month in advance so that you can have it on time. 
  • Be ready to request multiple referees for your LOR in case one declines your request.
  • Request a referee with whom you share a good rapport to write your LOR. 
  • Provide the referee with all necessary information to write a comprehensive LOR.
  • Provide the referee with the time when you need your LOR. In case they forget it, politely remind them.


  • Forget to show your gratitude to the referee after receiving the LOR. You will need their follow-up in case the admission panel decides to verify. 
  • Ring up or email the referee to request the LOR. It is better to meet them in person and make your request. 
  • Write the LOR stuffing in too much information. Focus on one or two aspects with solid detailing instead. 
  • Write a generic recommendation letter. Make it tailored to the residency program in Canada which is being applied.
  • Default the deadline. There is no point in writing a super impressive recommendation letter if it is not submitted on the CaRMS reference letter deadline.


Are you ready with your CaRMS reference letter? 

We are glad to have shared some useful information to help you write a convincing LOR for the Canadian residency program. 

We strongly advise you to read the information provided carefully and attempt to write a 100% unique recommendation letter. 

In case you need any further help on the go, we are more than happy to help you. 

Also, we are excited to know your feedback about this blog. Please take a moment to let us know your thoughts in the comment below.

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I'm Anjit.V.S, freelance writer, academic documentation expert, and brand consultant. Having worked with thousands of students and global brands, I bring extensive and diversified experience to every project. Crafting compelling narratives and devising strategic branding solutions are my forte. With an unflinching commitment to excellence, I consistently deliver impeccable results. Whether it's shaping brand identities, drafting academic documents or brainstorming marketing strategies, you can confidently rely on me to bring innovation and expertise to the table. Let's collaborate and elevate your brand together!

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