Do you have your eye on a dream nursing job? For the best chance at winning that coveted interview, you'll need a unique cover letter that stands out from the crowd. If you're not sure how to write a good nursing cover letter, you're not alone. You might be wondering what to include in a cover letter for nursing and how to express that you're the most qualified candidate for the job.
The first rule of a cover letter is to be specific. Many nurses make the mistake of using one general cover letter each time they apply for a job. With a cookie-cutter cover letter, your job prospects will likely crumble. However, nursing professionals who tailor each cover letter to the position description have a better chance of making it to an employer's shortlist.
Personalizing your cover letter to the specific job and recipient will help reviewers know that you've done your preparation; it will also help them see you in the role, and envision you as a member of their team. Think of it as your first impression and take it seriously.
Want to know how to write a good nursing cover letter that expresses your unique characteristics, skills and experiences? These are our five top tips for nursing cover letters:
1. Know the general rules
Before you begin writing your nursing cover letter, make sure you understand the fundamentals. Your cover letter should share details about your nursing experience, explain any gaps in your employment, and include other information that is relevant to the job at hand. However, if your nursing cover letter contains grammatical errors or does not follow standard business letter rules, the hiring manager may toss it before even considering you. Review the five elements of a well-written nursing cover letter to make sure you have the basics down.
2. Outline what you can deliver
Every nurse is trained to perform baseline services, such as performing head-to-toe assessments and administering medications to patients in their care. But if you want a cover letter that goes that extra mile, you'll need to dig deeper. Find a way to express the unique qualities that make you an excellent fit for the job. Study the job description to see what the employer wants and align your skills with their needs.
Many healthcare employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to review nursing cover letters and resumes. These systems automatically scan resumes to find relevant keywords. When updating your nursing cover letter, include these keywords whenever possible.
Another tip for nursing cover letters is to offer specific examples of how you can deliver what the employer needs. Consider phrases such as:
- "Here are a few examples of what I can deliver to this nursing role."
- "My experience and training have uniquely prepared me for this position."
- "Here's how my nursing education and volunteer experience make me an ideal candidate."
Follow these examples with a list of specific characteristics, skills or strengths you possess that meet the requirements of the nursing job.
3. Tell your nursing story
Nurses are in the caring business, so you likely have a tale or two that will resonate with other nursing professionals. Use your nursing cover letter to tell a story about patient care, nurse mentoring, volunteer work or a one-of-a-kind experience that shows your dedication to your work and makes you an excellent fit for the job. A memorable narrative can set you apart from the competition. Just be sure to relate your story to the role to keep the focus on what you can offer. If you're not sure how to write it, browse our Cover Letter Templates to find one that fits your experiences and personal style.
4. Share your accomplishments
Unfortunately, every time you apply to a new nursing opportunity, other qualified nurses are competing with you. Think back over your nursing career and jot down accomplishments that have meant the most to you as a nursing professional, such as:
- Awards or professional recognition
- Letter from a patient or family member describing the impact your care made
- Documentation that you improved patient outcomes
If you recently graduated from nursing school, include awards or other acknowledgments you received. These educational experiences will make an impression on the nursing recruiter or hiring nurse manager. If you maintain your resume regularly, that will also be a place to check for recent experiences and learned skills that may be relevant.
5. Take advantage of cover letter resources
Many nurses struggle to sell themselves in their cover letter. Others think that having one nursing cover letter is enough to land the job they want. If you need a cover letter that showcases who you are as a nursing professional, use our Cover Letter Builder. This tool can help you describe your key skills and strengths in a compelling manner, and show off your nursing experiences with a unique level of personalization. Follow these steps, and you'll walk away with a one-of-a-kind nursing cover letter that will hopefully give you a major leg up over the competition.