How to Write an Excellent Nursing Cover Letter

FT Contributor
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Reading Time: 3 minutes

With the healthcare industry in a steady state of growth, the demand for more nurses is set to continue rising at a rapid pace for the foreseeable future. However, general job availability doesn’t automatically equate to you getting a job as a registered nurse.

To land a good nursing job, you must craft a quality resume and then learn to introduce it with an attention-grabbing cover letter.

What Makes a Nursing Cover Letter Unique

While your resume should broadly showcase all of your skills, experiences, and education, a nursing cover letter should be hand-tailored to each position you apply for. It should focus on setting you apart as a uniquely qualified candidate.

You can do this by linking your specific, highly-relevant attributes and accomplishments to the needs outlined by the employer.

Start this process by reading through the job description itself. Look for keywords such as “care plans,” “organizational skills,” or “superior patient care.” Try to naturally include these in your cover letter. As you do so, make sure to link them to your own skills and abilities, demonstrating why you stand out against other candidates.

Along with keywords, take time to study the healthcare company itself. Research its history, mission and vision statements, and even current events and trends in the healthcare industry as a whole. Utilizing this knowledge as you compose your letter will give you a greater sense of confidence and reflect well on you as a professional in your field.

If you can take the time to locate keywords and study the company you’re applying to, this will go a long way in catching the hiring manager’s attention as they parse through hundreds of applications looking for the ideal candidate.

How to Organize a Nursing Cover Letter

While each cover letter should be uniquely written, there are several basic formatting guidelines to follow:

Contact Information

You should always begin with both yours and the recipient’s basic contact information:

  • Your name.
  • Your address.
  • Your phone number.
  • Your email.
  • The date.
  • The hiring manager’s name.
  • The hiring manager’s position.
  • The name of the organization.
  • The organization’s address.

A Greeting

Open up the letter with a simple yet professional salutation, such as “Dear” or “To,” followed by the name of the hiring manager. If you can’t discover who this is, you can address it to an equivalent representative from the human resource department of the organization.

The Body of the Cover Letter

The body of the cover letter should be two or three paragraphs long. These must support one another and include a few critical elements.

First, make sure to include a good hook to draw the reader in. Look for a fact, experience, or skill that exceptionally sets you apart from other candidates and lead with that. For instance, if you worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital or received your degree from Yale, those would be worth mentioning upfront.

The rest of the body should highlight relevant skills, experience, and education. Keep in mind, this isn’t simply rehashing your resume. Only choose items that specifically connect you with the needs expressed on the job description.  

  • Skills: Both hard skills, such as maintaining electronic health records, and soft skills, such as good bedside manner and communication should be included when applicable.
  • Experience: Highlight any past experiences that help your candidacy stand out. These can be professional experience at another healthcare facility as well as nonprofit activities, such as volunteering at a local hospital or clinic.
  • Education: A nurse’s educational credentials are critical for employment. However, you don’t need to regurgitate all of your academic achievements in your cover letter. Only mention specific certifications, degrees, or other training that uniquely qualifies you for the position you’re currently applying for.

If you want to include more than five of these items in your cover letter, consider using bullet points for organization and brevity.

The Final Paragraph

Your last paragraph will summarize your letter. It should continue to display your knowledge of the employer and their needs while linking your knowledge to your unique ability to meet their needs.

The Close

Make sure to end your letter in a professional manner. You can add a short line re-emphasizing your interest, such as, “I would love the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further in an interview.”

After this, choose a good closing phrase such as “Cordially” or “Regards” and then sign your name.

Nursing Cover Letter Sample

If you’re still hesitating, don’t worry. We’ve provided a nurse cover letter sample below to help you get started. Simply copy and paste it into a new document and then fill it out with your own information.

[Your name.]
[Phone number.]

[The date.]

[The hiring manager’s name.]
[Their position.]
[The name of the organization.]
[Their address.]

Dear [Hiring manager’s name],

[Use the body of the letter to create two or three paragraphs that connect your best attributes and accomplishments with the job description. Highlight highly relevant skills, education, and experience. Also, utilize a hook, keywords, and knowledge of both the company and the industry as you write.]

[Compose a closing paragraph that re-emphasizes your interest in the position and is followed by a closing phrase such as “Sincerely” or “Cordially.”]

[Sign your written signature here if you’re sending a physical copy, otherwise leave this part blank.]

[Your name.]

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