Medical cover letter: what to include and how to write one
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Cover letters are an important part of the application process. In the health care industry and elsewhere, they accompany other documents, like a CV. If you're applying for a medical job, knowing how to write an effective cover letter is going to be very useful. In this article, we explain what a medical cover letter is, what to include in one, how to write such a cover letter and provide an example.
What is a medical cover letter?
A medical cover letter is a document you submit with your application for a health care role. Its main purpose is to persuade a recruiter or potential employer that you're the ideal candidate for the role. This cover letter typically accompanies other application documents like your CV and any references. You can use your cover letter to emphasise your eagerness for the role, highlight any noteworthy achievements which might be relevant, present your educational background and training, demonstrate your knowledge of the hiring organisation and align your skills with those necessary for the role.
What to include in a cover letter
Here are some elements to include in a cover letter:
The recipient's name
The first part of your cover letter is where you address the recipient. In most cases, it's preferable to avoid a generic 'Dear Sir/Madam'. Instead, address the person either by their position or by name. You could address it as 'Dear hiring manager', 'Dear recruiter' or similar. If the job listing omits this information, it's a good idea to take some time to research the company's website to see if you can determine who's going to receive it. You can then address them by name, or by their position if you can't find their name.
A brief personal introduction
At the beginning of your cover letter, introduce yourself to the recipient. State your name and a few key details about your background. For instance, if you're currently working in a different health care role, you can state this as part of your introduction.
Statement of intent
Once you've introduced yourself, you can state your intent within the first few lines of your cover letter. State that you're writing to submit your application for the vacancy in question. You can also specify the name of the hiring organisation.
Summary of your background
After you've introduced yourself and stated your intent, you can talk about your background. This consists of your relevant work experience, qualifications and education. Since your CV typically includes a comprehensive summary of this, your cover letter allows you to focus on the aspects of your background which are most relevant for the role in question. You can identify these by carefully reading the job description and then mentioning the aspects of your background that align with it best.
Overview of your skills
Your cover letter is also a good opportunity to talk about your skills. You can either mention these in the context of your background and previous work or outline them separately. Just like the elements of your background that you mention, carefully reading the job description can help you to determine which skills are the most important to highlight in your cover letter.
Restatement of your interest
Before your close your cover letter, you can take the opportunity to restate your interest in the role in question. A good way of doing this is to mention your eagerness for the role and that you look forward to an opportunity to interview. You can then accompany this by stating that you've attached your CV and any other relevant documentation.
How to write a medical cover letter
Here are some steps to follow if you want to write a cover letter for a medical job:
1. Read the job description
Before writing the cover letter itself, it's good practice to carefully read the job description. Take notes of the required and desired skills, work experience, education and attributes of an ideal candidate. This is an important step because a cover letter is most effective when you tailor it for the role in question.
2. Decide what to include
A cover letter presents a more concise overview of the skills and qualifications which make you the ideal candidate, unlike a CV which is typically more comprehensive. Based on the notes you took, you can start to identify which aspects of your skills and background are most relevant for the vacancy. You can do this with a brainstorming activity, whereby you list all of the desired and required traits from the job description and find examples from your own background which align with them.
In most cases, the examples from your own background don't have to be identical to those in the listing. Instead, identify the skills and experiences which demonstrate the same competencies. For example, many care roles within the health care sector require you to demonstrate a similar skill set. This is also a good time to research the name of the recipient at the organisation.
3. Prepare a draft
Once you've decided what to include, you can prepare a draft of your cover letter. Remember that a cover letter is typically one page long at the most, so a good approach can be to separate your ideas into paragraphs. For example, your first paragraph can contain your personal introduction and statement of intent.
You can then dedicate two further paragraphs to discussing your skills and qualifications, along with how these align with the role in question. Finally, you can include a final short paragraph to express your enthusiasm and state that you look forward to the opportunity to have an interview.
4. Revise and proofread your cover letter
Before you send your cover letter with your other application documents, it's a good idea to proofread it. Look for any spelling, grammar or punctuation mistakes and correct them. You can also use this as an opportunity to evaluate how persuasive and well-written it is and make adjustments as necessary. For proofreading, it can be a good idea to take some time after you've completed the cover letter before doing so. Consider waiting a few hours or until the next day so that you can re-evaluate and correct it with a fresh perspective.
You can also ask a friend or family member for feedback. They might be able to notice things that you missed or make suggestions for improvement. Their input could be particularly useful if they work in the health care sector.
Example cover letter for a medical job
Here is an example of a cover letter for a medical job in the health care sector, which you can use as a template or guidance for your own:
Dear Hiring Manager,
My name is Adrian McDougall and I'm writing to you to express my interest in the position of health care assistant. Given my qualifications and experience, I believe I am an excellent candidate for the position.
I already have two years of experience as a health care assistant at a public GP practice. I underwent training for the role to ensure that I can help with the delivery of the highest standards of patient care. My background includes a Level 3 National Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care, after which I completed an apprenticeship as a health care support worker.
As per your requirements, I have worked with the elderly and those with disabilities. Prior to my work as a health care assistant, I also volunteered in a care home for a year and helped the residents with their daily tasks and activities.
I'd love the opportunity to further discuss what I can bring to your organisation. I've attached my CV and reference letters for your convenience, and look forward to hearing from you.
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