How to Write a Strong Cover Letter

Along with your resume, the cover letter is one of the most important things you can create to help you land that perfect job. In fact, some experts say that it’s even more important than the resume, because if it doesn’t catch the attention of the reviewer, they may simply decide not to even read the resume. So, if you’ve finished your resume, let’s take a look at the most important elements of an eye-catching cover letter.

Decide on Its Purpose

Many people believe that a cover letter is simply an introduction to a resume, and should be short, sweet and to-the-point. Those are the applicants that get pushed aside – along with their attached resumes – never to be called upon for an interview. In contrast, a cover letter should tell the person – in a concise way – exactly why they should spend the time to read the attached resume. In other words, the purpose of your cover letter should be to “sell” your resume and your skills as a nurse. Let’s look at how that’s done.

Define the Dilemma

Ask any sales person and they’ll tell you that it’s impossible to make a sale unless the buyer knows he has a problem. If you use that same principle for your cover letter, you’ll be sure to make an impact. While it’s true that the reviewer knows he has a position to fill, your cover letter should point out the specific problems he has by having an unfilled position, and how, by hiring you, those problems can be alleviated. For example, you might sympathize with him about the fact that his current nursing staff is so overwhelmed because they’re being forced to make up for the lack of another qualified nurse, and how you are ready to step in and alleviate the pressure. This will set you apart from most other applicants because, while they’re focusing on themselves, you’ll be focusing on the employer and his needs.

Describe Your Experience

One of the ways that you’ll be able to solve the employer’s problem is to come armed with the training and experience needed to step in and begin work. One of the most important jobs of the cover letter is to relay to the employer – in a short, concise manner – exactly what that training and experience is. You should always tailor this section of the cover letter to whatever position you’re applying for. That means that it won’t be possible for you to create one cover letter and send it to all employers. Think of it like a bullet – you should whatever is possible to insure that it hits its mark.

Drive the Employer to Act

You’ve reminded the employer of his problem, you’ve told him how your training and experience can help him solve that problem, and now you’ve got to impress upon him the importance of taking action. Don’t think that you have to do something drastic – in fact that will work against you – but simply include in your cover letter a call to action. The best way to do this is to include your phone number and ask that he call you and set up an interview. If the cover did its job, you just might get a phone call that same day.

Duplicate Your Efforts

Even in the expansive field of nursing, there is stiff competition for the best jobs. Because of this, it’s vital that you be sure to follow up on any and all resumes that you send out. At the bottom of your cover page, inform the reader that you will follow up with a phone call in a couple of days and then be sure to do it. When you talk to them, ask them if they’ve had time to review your resume, and then ask them for an interview. This simple move will drastically increase your odds of being interviewed for the job.

Don’t Forget to Proofread

Finally, it’s important to note that the best of cover letters won’t get a second glance if they’re filled with grammar and spelling mistakes. Proofread it yourself, and then just to be sure, have someone else look over it. If you’ve gone to all the trouble to create an attention-grabbing cover letter, don’t skip the extra step and make sure that it’s perfect.


Learn More: Preparing for Nursing Job Interviews