How To Write a Nursing Cover Letter (With Example)
Updated 18 April 2023
An application to a nursing job is almost always going to require an accompanying cover letter. A cover letter conveys your suitability for the role by detailing your skills, attributes and experience, and ought to be submitted regardless of whether it is required for the application. An effective cover letter is tailored to the job and company in question, and increases your chances of getting interviewed or hired. In this article, we explain the importance of a nursing cover letter, the steps to writing one and provide you with an example.
Why is a nursing cover letter important?
Many job listings for nursing positions may only ask for a CV and supporting documentation. In any case, a cover letter almost always increases your chances of securing an interview. Whereas your CV comprehensively details your qualifications and experience, your cover letter actively persuades the recipient to choose you over other candidates. It supports and complements your CV, and also adds to it by highlighting other skills that may be useful to the role. Perhaps most importantly, your cover letter is the document that is most tailored to the specific job or organisation.
As an individual who is seeking a position in nursing, you want to show a potential employer that you're diligent, care deeply about the nursing profession and want to contribute productively to their practice, whether it's a surgery, hospital or otherwise. A cover letter can accomplish this convincingly.
How to write a nursing cover letter
Before you begin writing your cover letter, make sure you've researched the company that's advertised the nursing position in question, in addition to ensuring that you're familiar with all the requirements for the job. Since you must tailor cover letters to the position and company, conducting some research can help you a lot, and allows you to show your diligence.
Try to find out who is going to receive your cover letter, so that you can address them by name at the beginning of your letter. This helps your cover letter stand out from those with more generic salutations, like 'Dear Sir/Madam'. Once you're ready, follow these steps to write your nursing cover letter:
1. Explain why you're writing the cover letter
One of the first things to explain in your cover letter is which job you're applying for. Recruiters often receive applications for many different jobs, and may appreciate the clarity. You can also mention where you saw the job advertisement, or if someone at the organisation brought it to your attention. If you feel it's appropriate, you can also introduce yourself by name and mention your current role.
2. Explain why you want the job
This is one of the ways you can tailor the cover letter to the position and company. Talk about how your previous experience and skills have led you to desire this job, or why you'd like to work at that particular institution. Your research can help you with this. Try to be specific wherever possible. For example, instead of saying 'I am eager to work at a respected and reputable practice like yours', which is quite generic, you could say 'Your institution's focus on caring for children has always appealed to me, and I'd love the opportunity to contribute to this'.
3. Explain why you're the best candidate
After you've explained why you want the job, you can talk about why you're the ideal candidate. The first nursing skills and experiences you mention ought to match those listed in the job advertisement. This shows how qualified you are, and that you're diligent about tailoring your cover letter for the job and organisation. Once you've matched their requirements, you can start talking about the other skills, attributes and experiences that make you a qualified and desirable candidate, as long as they're relevant to nursing.
When you're detailing your skills and experiences, try to convey the information through examples and context. For example, instead of saying 'I'm good with patients', you could say 'My work at XYZ hospital involved a lot of patient care'.
4. Thank the reader for their time
Once you finished conveying your suitability for the position, you can thank the reader for taking the time to read your cover letter. You can briefly reiterate your interest in the role a last time, and mention that you're available to interview and happy to answer any questions. Close the letter politely and leave your full name and any relevant contact details. If you've already submitted the latter at another stage of the application process, you can omit them from your cover letter.
5. Proofread your cover letter
Almost every cover letter benefits from being proofread before you send it. If possible, re-read and assess your cover letter some time after you've finished writing it. When you proofread it, correct any spelling or grammar mistakes that you find, and ensure that you haven't omitted anything important. You can also use this opportunity to assess how well you've written, how persuasive it is and if it's too long or too brief.
You can also ask a friend or relative with relevant experience to read your cover letter and offer constructive criticism. There is a three-part checklist below that explains the most important aspects of an effective cover letter. When you are re-reading and assessing it, ensure that your cover letter is:
You may be using guides or templates to help you write your cover letters, which is quite acceptable as long as the final copy is unique and tailored to the position you're applying for. Make sure that you've addressed the recipient by name, if possible, and that you've matched your skills and experiences to those listed in the job advertisement. Ensure that any additional skills or attributes are relevant to the company and nursing role in question, and that you've stated which job you're applying for at the start.
This is arguably the most important feature of an effective cover letter. When you're assessing it, try to adopt the point of view of a recruiter. Ask yourself if you'd be interested in hiring or interviewing this candidate. If not, then determine how you could improve it. This is also where a friend or relative could be most helpful, by providing feedback and suggestions. Identify areas for improvement and amend your cover letter accordingly.
A cover letter is almost always one page long at most, and usually shorter. This is also the case if you use some extra spacing. Make sure that your paragraphs are reasonable in length, meaning no longer than five lines. Ensure that your language is clear and free of ambiguity or unnecessary repetition. Your cover letter ought to be succinct, easy to read and professional.
Example of a nursing cover letter
To help you write your own nursing cover letter, there's an example below that follows the steps and guidelines in this article. If you choose to use this as a template or guide, ensure that yours is sufficiently unique before sending, and assess it with the checklist above:
Dear Ms Smith,
I'm writing to you with regard to the registered general nurse position at St Apollonia's Hospital. I wish to submit my application for the role, which I saw advertised on the Indeed website. I believe my experience and qualifications make me an ideal candidate for the position.
With my eight years of experience in nursing, I've come to believe that patient-centred care is the most effective. This is why I was delighted to see a vacancy at St Apollonia's, as your facility has an excellent reputation in this regard. In my time as a nurse, I've worked in various settings, including home care services, the emergency room and the neonatal unit. I've always ensured that I'm intimately aware of a patient's situation and their doctors' approach, so that I can help explain it if there's any confusion.
Most recently, I've had experienced quite a number of difficult cases to diagnose. My diligent work, both inside and outside the lab, helped doctors make diagnoses quicker, ensuring that timely interventions were possible.
Thank you very much for considering my application. I'm available to interview at any time that's convenient, and look forward to discussing my candidacy further.
0111 2222 333
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