Nursing Cover Letters: Selling Your Accomplishments

Let’s face it – times are tough to be looking for a new job. Luckily, nursing is one field where there is always a demand, at least somewhere in the country. In order to put your best foot forward from day one, and have the best chance of landing the nursing job you want, you must be willing to put a significant amount of work into your nursing cover letters and resumes.

In basic terms, a nursing cover letter should have three major sections. The first section introduces yourself, and indicates why you are interested in the job. The middle section indicates that you understand the needs of the employer, and describes just how you can fulfill those needs by relating past experience and accomplishments. Finally, the third section of the cover letter provides specific contact information and a closing.

One aspect that many job applicants overlook when applying for jobs is highlighting their accomplishments. Instead, a lot of energy is spent on job histories and education. While this is a good thing to do, your prospective employer wants to know what you have done with your skills, not just where you have been. By indicating in plain language what you are capable of, you can help the hiring manager “visualize” what you can accomplish for them.

When composing your nursing job cover letter, include two to three accomplishments. Generally it is better to put these in bullet format for easier reading. If at all possible, include numeric examples, such as “reduced xxx by 25%,”saved department $xxx annually by xxx,” or “received xxx award 3 years in a row.” Remember that your accomplishments should be related to the job you are applying for, so being voted head of the PTA (while an excellent accomplishment) should not be included when applying for a nursing job.

Try not to include the same accomplishments on both your resume and cover letter, as this may tell the hirer that you don’t have many to speak of. Since cover letters generally get more attention than resumes, you may want to put a few of your most important or relevant accomplishments in the nursing cover letter.

Also keep in mind that not every job you apply for will “match” your accomplishments. It is standard practice to have several different versions of your cover letter, so you can pick the one that is most suited to the job at hand. Lastly, the more effort and more personalization you put into your nursing accomplishments and cover letter, the better chance you will have of getting an interview, so a little effort now is definitely worth it. Good luck in your job search!

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