The licensed practical nurse (LPN) role has a vital place in the healthcare system. LPNs are hands-on, and provide the routine care for the sick and injured. They monitor basic patient health, like vital signs and overall condition, and take care of personal needs like bathing. They may change wound dressings or tend to other smaller procedures on their own, and assist with more complex procedures. They collaborate with Registered Nurses (RNs) on executing patient care plans.
Your education and skills are necessary for many different types of facilities and disciplines across the nursing spectrum. Once you find an LPN job that piques your interest, use these tips to build a compelling cover letter and resume to catch the attention of hiring personnel.
1. Emphasize your communication skills
As an LPN, you will be working under the direct supervision of RNs and physicians, while also caring for patients and their families. All of these duties require excellent communication skills and a personable disposition. When crafting your cover letter and resume, be sure to showcase your ability to work on a team. Your cover letter is the perfect platform to highlight your personality and bring a voice to your skill set while showing your professionalism.
2. Customize your LPN application materials for the specific job you want
Study each LPN job description carefully and tailor the description of your skills to the ones highlighted in the posting. This customization will help you stand out from applicants who send the same cover letter and resume for every position (which is one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make).
Many workplaces now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which are computer programs that use an algorithm to scan your cover letter and resume. That means it's vital to match up keywords and skills with those that appear in the job listing, or you risk your cover letter and resume never making it into the hands of the hiring manager.
As you compile your LPN job application, always search for chances to show off other skills you're proud of that could be useful at your desired job. Include experience like being bilingual, holding leadership roles in your community or additional education or volunteer work. Using these tools and customizing them with your hard-earned skills and experience will round out your resume. Learn how to write a resume so that you know the five necessary components every resume should contain.
3. Use a time-tested, proven format for your LPN cover letter
- A direct greeting. Address the hiring professional by name and avoid the generic "to whom it may concern." If you don't know the name of the hiring professional, consult LinkedIn or the company website to find the right name. If you still can't locate, use the always safe "Dear Hiring Manager."
- An opening paragraph. Introduce yourself, explain your interest in the job and mention if you have any connections to the role. For example, if you attended a nursing job fair and talked with someone from the facility or have a referral from a friend, now is the perfect time to mention it. Then list two or three qualities that you possess that make you a competitive applicant.
- The "hook." This key section appears in the opening paragraph to grab the attention of the reader. It quickly sums up why you're the best candidate for the position.
- The body. Here, you'll spend 1-2 paragraphs outlining your relevant experience and emphasizing the skills you've obtained that correlate to the ones listed in the job posting. If you are a new LPN, focus on education and previous healthcare experience in other roles, such as a certified nursing assistant (CNA).
- A closing paragraph. Emphasize why you are the best choice for the position and that you look forward to following up regarding the position.
4. Polish the fine points on your LPN resume
Your resume is the place to showcase the details of your experience, skills and education. The more concise, the better, provided it gives a comprehensive representation of your professional experience. Our Resume Templates can speed up the formatting process, while also allowing you to choose a style that best suits your experience. You can also browse for LPN Resume Samples to help you find a style that suits you.
If this is your first LPN job and you're worried that you don't have enough skills or experience to list, trust your training. You've graduated and proved proficiency in monitoring vital signs, providing personal care, medication administration and care planning.
You can confidently mention your LPN skills on your resume, plus specific school experiences and any other certifications you hold. Then, emphasize your non-medical attributes, like people skills, your willingness to contribute to a team and your desire to keep growing as an LPN.
"If you choose a nursing career you must also be aware that you will never stop learning," notes Deb Tauer, LPN, in an article on the website, Nurse.org. Tauer is also president of the Licensed Practical Nurses Association.
"No two patients or clients are alike and caring for them and their families are never the same."
5. Put the finishing touches on your entire LPN application
When you finish writing, have a third party edit your cover letter and resume to ensure you haven't included any typos or unclear information. You've worked too hard to have your application set aside for simple mistakes or easy-to-fix errors. You can ask a grammar nerd friend to do this, or you can use an online grammar and spell-check tool like Grammarly.
Before you send out your cover letter and resume, see if you know anyone at the organization where you are applying. Search on LinkedIn, reach out to your school's career services office and check in with former bosses or mentors to see if they have any connections to anyone at your prospective employer. Having your resume passed along or being introduced to someone in the organization can make a big difference when a hiring manager reviews your application.
Check out our Cover Letter Builder and Resume Builder for professional insights on your LPN application materials. These tools can jump start creating your application materials with easy-to-use, ATS-friendly templates, access to phrases written by our job search experts, and step-by-step guidance.