Here on episode 70 of The Nurse Keith Show, we’re discussing
the creation of effective cover letters!
Cover letters are still important, even though some online applications don’t allow the submission of a letter to accompany your resume. Knowing how to write an effective cover letter is an important career skill not to be overlooked.
- Your cover letters need to be one page, and flawlessly written.
- Use the same letterhead, font, and style as your resume in order to create a seamless, branded “package”
- When printing a resume, use a laser printer if at all possible; print your cover letter and resume on the same high-quality paper. Investing a little money in professional printing and good paper is a very nice touch!
- Address your letter to a specific person, if you can; many job postings do not include the name of an individual, and we can’t control that reality.
- Be assertive and confident in your cover letters; no wishy-washy statements, no generic information, no making excuses for skills or experiences you don’t have.
- Focus on being assertive, positive, and enthusiastic.
- Generic language (e.g.: “positive communication”, “good team player”) aren’t that helpful; can you be more specific or give examples?
- When uploading a cover letter and resume to a website, first save them as pdf files and upload them in that format.
Your cover letters should be 4-5 paragraphs, tops.
The first paragraph identifies the position you’re applying for, where you heard about the position, and expresses your enthusiasm about the position and the employer. If you can, pay them a compliment by referring to their reputation, a recent award they’ve received, or reflect on some aspect of the organization’s mission or vision that you feel aligned with. If someone at that institution referred you for the job, mention them by name, unless they asked you not to.
The middle paragraphs–#2, 3 and 4—are the meat of your letter. This part of the letter shouldn’t simply regurgitate what you’ve written in your resume; you can strategically draw attention to aspects of your resume that you want them to notice. Again, avoid generalities and generic statements; rather, focus on your accomplishments, successes, experiences, and special skills that make you the ideal candidate.
Consider what you can qualify or quantify about your career or accomplishments; be as specific as possible.
For the final paragraph, end on an upbeat note, and tell them you look forward to hearing from them. Close with the word “sincerely” rather than just “thank you” or “all the best”; you can also use “yours sincerely“—and make sure you spell sincerely correctly!
This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is brought to you by my friends at StaffGarden, a unique digital healthcare company allowing nurses to create a private online ePortfolio that StaffGarden shares with high-quality employers (with your permission, of course) in order to connect you with the best facilities and positions.
StaffGarden partners with fantastic employers seeking the best candidates in the nursing profession; through powerful partnerships with the recruiters and talent acquisition professionals employed by these healthcare leaders, they deliver your ePortfolio directly to the people who are looking for nurses just like you.
Having a StaffGarden ePortfolio and landing a job with a partnering employer costs you nothing. However, your ePortfolio will get you noticed for positions that you would likely not have access to through traditional ads or job postings.
As a nurse, partnering with StaffGarden adds depth and breadth to your job search process, as well as your exposure to some of the most progressive healthcare employers in the country. Allow SG to work for you and connect you with some of the greatest job opportunities in 21st-century healthcare.
The NNBA and Networking Nurses
In the fall of 2015, I recorded episode 29 of the Nurse Keith Show from Las Vegas, Nevada, where I was glowing from a glorious time at the annual conference of the National Nurses in Business Association (NNBA). Well, from October 14th to 16th of this year, I’ll be back at the 2016 NNBA conference with bells on, and I’m super psyched that Kevin Ross and Elizabeth Scala—my partners in crime at RNFM Radio—will also be with me.
Just as a heads up, the three of us from RNFM Radio will be putting on a pre-conference workshop where attendees will be able to learn the basics of podcasting, and actually go home with all of the information they need to actually launch a podcast on a shoestring. There are other great pre-conferences on the schedule, as well, but we obviously want you to come to ours because it’s going to be fantastic. Check it all out here.
The Nurse Keith Show is adroitly edited and produced by Tim Hallowell of The PodcastingGuy.com; social media and promotion are expertly handled by Mark Capispisan.
Please consider leaving a review of The Nurse Keith Show over on iTunes; this helps more nurses and healthcare professionals find the show and benefit from the information being shared. Just visit iTunes, click on the iTunes store, search for The Nurse Keith Show under podcasts, and leave a review, and voila. Thanks!
Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews News Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his lovely and talented wife, Mary Rives.