A cover letter may not like an important part of a health care job application, but nothing could be further from the truth. A study in Business and Professional Communication Quarterly found that hiring managers vastly prefer applications that come with a great cover letter. This means that the right resume cover letter could increase your chances of getting a new job as a nurse. Good nursing cover letters do this by providing relevant context about nursing skills and certifications, showcasing relevant technical and soft skills as they relate to the job description, and generally making a case for the value the candidate will bring to the hospital.
Your cover letter should be no longer than one page. This may not sound like a lot of space to convince a medical center hiring manager that you are the right candidate for the role, but it is. The key is to create a cover letter and nursing resume that support each other. Whether you are a new grad seeking a staff nurse position or you are a nurse practitioner looking for senior roles, getting your cover letter structure right is all-important. A good cover letter should consist of:
Your cover letter header should contain your basic contact information so a recruiter can schedule an interview with you easily.
Your greeting should address the hiring manager or recruiter by name. While a generic salutation like “Dear hiring manager” or “To whom it may concern” can be acceptable if you cannot locate the hiring manager’s name, it is always better to write “Dear Mr.” or “Dear Ms.” followed by the recruiter’s name.
The average cover letter format will have two to three body paragraphs. These paragraphs should include details on the abilities you bring to the job, what attracts you about the opportunity and how you believe you can benefit your potential employer, while also providing supplementary information about your work experience and skill set.
The final paragraph of your cover letter should include a brief statement of the value you can bring to a potential employer.
Job seekers looking to really wow a recruiter and land a nursing job need more than an effective cover letter structure. The content of your cover letter is crucial, and if you want to make a great first impression it’s a good idea to look at nurse cover letter samples before you write your own. This great cover letter sample displays all of the key features that a hiring manager would expect from a great nursing cover letter:
Strong opening paragraph
Your cover letter is a direct example of your communication skills, so it is crucial that each part of it adds value to the whole. Your first paragraph should note the job posting you are applying for and give a brief overview of you as a candidate. For example, you can list your years of experience and most advanced qualifications or certifications.
Examples of professional successes
Your second paragraph (and potentially third) should give one or more examples of professional successes related to patient care or team leadership (if you are applying for a supervisory role). Be specific about your actions and the results, use numbers where possible, and write in active language.
Supplementary information about qualifications and skills
As well as listing professional achievements you should give supplementary information about your soft skills and core competencies. For example, if you have experience working with mental health patients or you have previously been praised for strong empathy and patience with distressed patients and families, listing this could be beneficial.
A unique selling point (USP)
Every job seeker has a unique mix of skills and capabilities. This unique selling point is often what convinces hiring managers to take a candidate’s application forward. Your cover letter should convey what you think you alone can bring to the table for a potential employer. For example, if you were previously an army medic and later went on to train to be a nurse practitioner after leaving the military, you could focus on how this has made you capable of working effectively under extreme stress.
A strong call to action
Your cover letter is the perfect opportunity to ask for a job interview. A good call to action at the conclusion of your letter can help you to stick in the hiring manager’s mind.
If you want to make your job search easier, use the ResumeHelp cover letter builder to create a perfect cover letter that you can revise for each job application. The cover letter builder offers many cover letter templates to choose from.
Your registered nurse cover letter should be written with a professional font such as Calibri or Arial (preferably a 12-point font) using the same style as your resume template with one-inch margins all around. Making sure that your cover letter and resume match is key if you want to impress a recruiter. Consider these structural guidelines for more information.
Some of the most common mistakes that ruin an otherwise perfect cover letter are: failing to proofread, using inappropriate fonts, and inconsistency between the resume and cover letter.
Being a nurse is a caring profession that requires great people skills and empathy. If you want to stand out, you should emphasize relevant soft skills and give examples of successful patient care from your career.