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How to write a nursing cover letter

How to write a nursing cover letter
Photo: How to write a nursing cover letter
Here are 5 tips for writing a great nursing cover letter.  Remember, a good covering letter on its own will never get you the job, but a bad covering letter will ensure you don’t get the job.  These tips will help you to get over the first hurdle.

1. Make sure your covering letter is professionally presented.
• Follow a standard letter format with your name, address and contact details clearly visible at the top of the letter.  And sign off your letter with ‘Yours faithfully’.
• Don’t use a strange font.  Stick to one of the common fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Garamond.  And ensure it’s not too big or too small:  the font size for the body text of your letter should be no larger than font size 12, and no smaller than font size 10.
• Include the job reference details so the person is very clear which job you are applying for.  This would typically be listed in bold immediately below the ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear …..’.   If you are applying to a job in a hospital network, it may also be appropriate to include the hospital name in the reference line.
2. Keep it concise
• A covering letter should never be more than 1 page.  Healthcare Recruiters and HR professionals don’t have time to read waffle.  So each sentence and paragraph you write should have a purpose and ultimately the objective of your covering letter is to convince the reader that it is worth their while reading your CV.

3. Make sure the grammar is correct and there are no spelling mistakes
• Modern word processors such as Microsoft Word all automatically identify spelling mistakes, so there is no excuse to have any in typos in your covering letter.  Make sure, if you’re applying for a nursing job in Australia that you use an Australian or UK dictionary as your spell checker setting (these settings in Microsoft Word are located under the ‘Review’ tab).  A US dictionary is sometimes loaded by default by word processors, and some fussy recruiters don’t like to see words with US spelling.
• Good grammar is critical.  Good communication skills are a requirement of just about every nursing job and in the world of covering letters, bad grammar equals bad communication.  So after you’ve written, proof-read and proof-read your letter again, ask someone that you know has excellent english and grammar skills to proof read your covering letter for you.  (If you’d like professional assistance visit HealthyResume by HealthTimes)

4.  Address the key job requirements
•If the job advertisement provides a list of requirements for the position, you need to be sure that your covering letter addresses each of the essential requirements in some way.  So after you’ve written the letter, re-read the job advertisement and verify that all of the essential requirements are addressed.
•If the requirements of the job advertisement are not clear, then for a nursing job advertisement, the following requirements are almost always a given:
i. You must have an appropriate nursing qualification and accreditation, for example specify that you are AHPRA registered (and include your registration number) and if the role is for a more advanced position include any pertinent post-graduate qualifications.
ii. Your VISA status.  Are you an Australian citizen? If not, specify your VISA status.
iii. Unless it’s a graduate position, your experience will be an essential element of your covering letter.  So provide at least one paragraph that explains your experience and how it relates to the job you are applying for.  And if it is a graduate position, you will still need to provide the recruiter with some insight into your work experience while studying.
iv. Enthusiasm for the job.  You must convince the reader that you’re keen to get the job.  This can usually be achieved with an introductory paragraph that explains why you want the job.

5. Refer to your CV and any other attachments
• Toward the end of your covering letter, you should refer to your CV attachment (first to confirm that you have provided it, but also to reaffirm that you want the recruiter to read it) and any other attachment such as qualifications etc that may be relevant.

Click here for assistance preparing for your nursing job interview.

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