cover letter for nurses

10 Tips for Drafting an Impactful Cover Letter for Nurses

One of the best ways to set yourself apart from other candidates when applying for a job is to include a cover letter with your resume. Yes, your resume includes all the necessary professional information, but with a cover letter you have the opportunity to create a memorable first impression. From demonstrating your enthusiasm for the role, to highlighting unique skills and experiences that set you apart, a well-crafted cover letter can go a long way for tapping into exciting career opportunities. 

But, surprisingly enough, only 47% of applicants include a cover letter with their resume. And we get it, that drafting the perfect cover letter can be a little stressful. So, to make sure that you don’t miss out on the chance to put your best foot forward, especially in this competitive job market, we’ve brought you some tried-and-tested tips for writing an impactful cover letter that will definitely help you stand out! 

1. Start out strong 

Consider how some of the most popular works of literature like Pride and Prejudice have iconic starting lines that are immediately recognizable? Starting out with a memorable intro can make it easier for recruiting managers to remember you. You can mention how you came to know about the position or even why you’re applying for the position. If you have gotten to know about the opening though the grapevine, dropping a familiar name can tilt the scales in your favor. 

2. Tailor you letter 

Hey, we’ve all been there where we just want to copy paste the same old generic cover and send it along! But a one size fits all letter will only take you one step away from that dream nursing job. That’s why you should personalize your letter according to the position as well as the facility you’re applying to. Take some time to look up the organization and familiarize yourself with their mission before you hit ‘apply’. This is also a great opportunity to demonstrate your cultural fit with the facility. By showing how your personal values align with those of the facility, you not only increase your chances of receiving a callback but also imply that you have done your research and are serious about this job.  

3. Don’t forget the soft skills! 

As a nurse, you would know first-hand how important soft skills like communication or problem-solving can be! Working in a high-stress environment, coordinating with other healthcare staff, advocating for the patients, responding to emergencies – all these scenarios don’t come with a user manual but are definitely a part of the package when it comes to nursing. That’s why, showing how well-equipped you are at navigating these scenarios can present you as a valuable candidate to the recruiter. 

4. Highlight the basics  

While your resume will provide a detailed account of your skills, qualifications, and work experiences, it’s crucial to touch upon the essentials in your cover letter. Take this opportunity to go through the job description and look for keywords. Incorporating these keywords in your cover letter will help in demonstrating your alignment with the role. Make sure you mention your licensing, certifications, qualifications and any additional skills (like familiarity with complex medical procedures) that can directly increase your potential of receiving a call-back. 

5. Promote yourself 

We’ve all been asked the dreaded ‘why should we hire you?’ at some point in a job interview. Answering this question in your cover letter itself not just shows your confidence but also gives the hiring manager greater incentive to remember your name. For instance, if you were applying for a critical care position and have had experience working in a trauma unit, highlighting that in your cover letter can significantly boost your chances of landing an interview. 

6. Highlight your achievements 

Your professional achievements are a true testament to your skills and expertise. That’s why highlighting them in your cover letter will lead to hiring managers seeing you as a results-oriented professional. Use quantifiable data to outline accomplishments like improvements in patient satisfaction or any direct contributions that impacted the performance of your team. Make sure your skills are reflected in your achievements so that a potential employer can clearly understand the value that you would bring to their team. 

7. Explain career transitions or gaps 

Career transitions or gaps are bound to raise some eyebrows. But, on the bright side, it certainly makes for a memorable resume. You can take this opportunity to explain what motivated you to make that change by highlighting your passion for the job. Discuss how your previous role equipped you with transferable skills that will make you a viable candidate for the role you’re applying to. You can also mention how navigating the challenges brought about by the change contributed positively towards your professional growth. 

8. Express your commitment to the role 

Nursing isn’t a one-dimensional job and most hiring managers will take into account your soft skills, additional certifications and community presence as well. So if you’ve attended conferences, seminars or workshops that could be seen as beneficial to the role you’re applying for, make sure you mention those too. You can also mention any professional organizations or nursing associations you are a part of to show how committed you are to professional development.  

9. Highlight collaborative efforts 

For healthcare professionals, collaboration and teamwork are essential to a workplace. That’s why it’s important to highlight relevant instances from your professional experience where you collaborated with other healthcare professionals. In doing so, you present yourself as a professional who can work as a part of diverse teams for better patient care outcomes. By mentioning these instances of interdisciplinary collaboration, you can demonstrate both your expertise and adaptability.     

10. Conclude with confidence 

As a parting statement of sorts, your concluding paragraph must be memorable to the recruiters. Summarize your skills, qualifications or experiences, while expressing confidence in your abilities. You can also convey your enthusiasm for the role, emphasizing what a great fit you’d be. Make sure your concluding paragraph creates a lasting impression that not only highlights your suitability for the role but also sets the stage for the significant contributions you could bring to the team. 

Also read: How to Choose Specialized Courses for Nurse Specialties

Over to you

Whether you’re a new nurse fresh out of nursing school or an experienced registered nurse, understanding how to draft a compelling cover letter can contribute immensely to your professional growth. Applying for a new position isn’t just about listing your qualifications and meeting the criteria. By leveraging unique skills, experiences and achievements that display your passion for patient care, you present yourself as a dedicated healthcare professional and make a lasting impression on hiring managers. And this will, in turn, help you progress on a fulfilling career path in the nursing field.  

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/tracybrower/2023/06/05/write-a-cover-letter-to-get-noticed-and-hired-4-best-practices/?sh=3a6e159716d4  
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