You’ve identified the perfect nursing job for you, and you know that you can ace the interview. But first, you have to get your foot in the door. How can you capture the hiring manager’s attention with your application?
A nursing cover letter is an important, not-to-be-overlooked component of your application. So, how do you write a cover letter that will wow a prospective employer and land you that interview? Here’s our advice, plus two examples.
How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter
1. Research the prospective employer.
Visiting your prospective employer’s website, blog, social media channels, and other sources of information can tell you a lot about the hospital or facility’s culture and mission. You should be tailoring every cover letter to the specific job for which you are applying, and this step will give you insight into what qualities, skills, and other attributes the employer values.
Mention some qualities specifically. You might, for example, mention how you’re passionate about working with children, and you know X Hospital is as well, given the celebration they had for pediatric ward patients last year.
Try asking colleagues or others who might have affiliations with the employer for advice as well. There might be events and other media coverage in local news outlets, so those are a good place to look, too.
2. Format your letter correctly.
This is a business letter, so it should be formatted as such. Include your mailing address at the top of the letter and the date and the employer’s mailing address below it. Open with a formal greeting, such as “Dear Dr./Ms./Mr. [hiring manager’s last name]” or “To the Hiring Manager” if you don’t have a name. (It’s worth doing your research to find the appropriate contact.)
The letter should be no more than one page, single-spaced. Close it with “Sincerely, [your full name].” If you are sending a physical letter, sign it in the space between “Sincerely” and your name.
3. Describe the value you bring.
This is the bulk of your letter. What problems can you solve for the employer? What needs can you meet? Even if you’re responding to a job listing, you still need to emphasize why you bring value that will improve the employer.
Perhaps you’ve been recognized by the American Nurse Association. Maybe you reduced patient wait times by a notable percentage at your current employer or created a scheduling system that cut overtime. Be as specific as possible, quantifying your achievements when appropriate and using plenty of examples.
If the job description or your own research has brought to light issues the employer is facing, you might also explain how you could address these based on your skills or previous experiences. However, you should be wary of being overly critical, so focus on obvious problems and emphasize the positive—how you can help them resolve them. For example, if patient wait times are notoriously high, this is a good place to focus on your own experience dealing with this type of problem and how you helped resolve it.
4. Convey your enthusiasm and passion.
It should be clear from your letter why you became a nurse and why you love your job. Nursing, in particular, is a job where passion for your work matters, and that should be obvious to the hiring manager. Use plenty of anecdotes and examples to explore why this is the field for you. For example, you might describe the bittersweet experience of caring for a terminal patient.
You should also demonstrate enthusiasm for the position. Why is this the right job for you? Describe what appeals to you about this employer.
A terrific cover letter can be for naught if it is riddled with typos and grammatical errors. Make sure to proofread your letter several times, and have a friend read it over as well to catch any errors.
Example Nursing Cover Letters
Hiring Manager Name
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
Since I was a child, helping people has been my calling; I even tucked my siblings in when they were sick and gave them a bell to ring if they needed help. This passion for caring for others led me to become a registered nurse in 2008.
As a proud RN with more than 10 years of experience in direct patient care, I would be thrilled to bring my passion to X Hospital. I have focused on pediatric care for the majority of my career, and your new children’s wing presents so many opportunities and possibilities. Your mission of accommodating the news of every child perfectly aligns with my own.
At my current employer, I developed a scheduling system that improved efficiency by 35%. I have also been routinely highly rated by both colleagues and patients; in fact, several long-term patients have requested me on numerous occasions. I would be so excited to replicate these same accomplishments in the new facility at X hospital.
I look forward to discussing the position further with you.
Hiring Manager Name
Dear [Hiring Manager Name],
With four years of experience as a nurse in the cardiology unit of X Hospital, I know what it takes to provide exemplary patient care. My former supervisor, [supervisor’s name], continues to speak highly of Y Hospital and suggested I contact you about a cardiac care position.
I performed a clinical rotation at your hospital during my training and saw it as the gold standard for providing exemplary health care. I would be thrilled to be part of the team, bringing my CMC certification and highly-rated experience working with cardiac patients, among other qualifications. As you transition to a new charting system, I would be happy to bring my own expertise handling patient charts into the fold.
I have witness Y Hospital’s dedication and commitment to providing exemplary care to cardiac patients firsthand and would be delighted to join you. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard.
1. What is a cover letter?
Your cover letter expands on the qualifications and experience you describe in your resume. It is a crucial component of your application, giving a voice and story to your achievements and explaining you are interested in the job.
2. How do you write a perfect cover letter?
Check out our advice for writing a compelling cover letter.
3. Should I write a cover letter?
If there is space to attach or upload a cover letter along with the rest of the application, you should include one. Some employers will even tell you that they won’t consider applications without cover letters. Moreover, a well-written cover letter can help you stand out from other applicants.