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Nursing Cover Letter Dos and Don'ts

Nursing Cover Letter Dos and Don'ts

Megan Malugani, Monster Contributing Writer

First impressions count in the job search, and that’s why a dynamite cover letter can mean the difference between success and failure in your healthcare job search. But what makes a dazzling healthcare cover letter? Several career experts share their advice.

Get to the Point

State the purpose of your letter in the first paragraph. Small talk is generally a waste of space. “Most of the cover letters we do for clients are three paragraphs or so and fill less than a page,” says Shel Horowitz, director of Accurate Writing & More in Hadley, Massachusetts.

The Nursing Cover Letter Quiz

1. True or False: You only need a cover letter when a job posting specifically asks for one.

True
False

Tailor Your Letter to the Reader

Focus on the needs of the specific healthcare organization, not on your own requirements as a job seeker, says Lorna Lindsey, director of academic affairs for CompHealth, a healthcare recruiting and staffing firm based in Salt Lake City. Visit your potential employer’s Web site or read the company’s annual report to learn more about it, and then use your cover letter to demonstrate how your skills and experience can benefit the organization.

Maintain the Right Tone

A cover letter should be “businesslike, friendly and enthusiastic,” says Bill Frank, founder of CareerLab in Denver and author of 200 Letters for Job Hunters.

Health professionals have the “opportunity to reveal their passion” through a cover letter, but the document “shouldn’t become too syrupy, or it loses its objectivity and professionalism,” says Lorne Weeks III, MD, a healthcare consultant for the Physician Career Network, a division of CareerLab.

Make It Memorable

New graduates can make their cover letters stand out by personalizing their stories. If you decided to model your career after a physical therapist who helped a family member, for example, tell that story rather than making the blander claim that you’ve always wanted to help people. “If your story is unique, it’s no longer a cliche,” Frank says.

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