3 tips for writing great cover letters

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

iStockphoto | ThinkStock

Getting a nurse job these days is certainly not the easiest thing to do, often because of the large amount of competition you face for every open position. You definitely need to set yourself apart from that competition so you can land the interview and tell the recruiter in person what makes you great for the job.

Most of the time, you’ve got one chance to make a first impression, and this usually comes in the form of your resume and a cover letter. While we’ve written about how to craft the perfect nurse resume, we also want to delve into ways to make your cover letter set you apart.

And as always, be sure to do your research on every workplace you apply to. A great place to start is the Scrubs Guide to Hospitals.

Don’t write the same cover letter for every job

We know that during the job search you’re likely finishing up nursing school and/or working as a nurse full-time. With the time constraints this presents, it becomes all too easy to write up one generic cover letter and submit it to every open job, but this can make you seem generic in comparison to other candidates.

Instead, make sure your letter points out that you’ve done your research on the hospital you are applying to and that you will be a good fit there. Little things like this can show recruiters that you are really interested in that specific nursing job, and not just like everyone looking for any job (even if you are!).

Get to the point, and get to it quick

As illustrated in the previous point, you’re probably one very busy nurse– but you have to keep in mind that the person reading these cover letters likely has a hectic schedule, too. So point out why you’re the perfect nurse for the job in the beginning of your letter, keeping it short and to the point.

If you’re already an experienced nurse, this is a great place to highlight your experience, and if you are a new nurse you can use this space to explain your education background and why you would be a great fit for the particular position (which you know because of that aforementioned research you did!).

Check for typos

This seems like a given, but small things can easily go overlooked (remember that whole lack of time thing!). And this doesn’t just mean to check for misspellings, the majority of which are usually caught by spell check these days, anyway. Be sure that you haven’t inadvertently addressed the letter to the hiring manager at, say, your current hospital. Similarly, make sure you don’t accidentally write a different hospital name than the one you’re applying to when you stress how great of a fit you would be there. These are the things that can take your cover letter from the top of the interview pile into the trash can.

Got cover letter advice that has worked for you? Let us know in the comments below!


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