Any time your resume is not going to be hand-delivered (either through a networking contact or at a job fair), it should be submitted with a cover letter. A cover letter is a one-page letter that identifies the role you’re applying for and how you learned of it, summarizes your qualifications, and expresses your interest in that specific opportunity.
Writing Your Letter
- Cover letters should be unique to each employer based on the skills and qualifications of the position and the uniqueness of the employment setting. Once you develop a strong base cover letter, you can use it to guide future letters.
- Your cover letter should introduce your resume, not repeat it.
- Write about your personal qualities as a way of introducing your skills:
- “I am a dedicated worker as demonstrated not only in my clinical assignments but also in my experience with the Student Nursing Association, where I served as a committee chair.”
- “I am a fast learner as demonstrated through my med surge rotation, where my supervisor indicated I was able to _____ procedure faster than any other nursing student she had supervised.”
- Incorporate language from the job posting into your cover letter as employers often do keyword searches to search for candidates.
- Use a standard business letter format: block (left-justified throughout) or modified block (indents).
- Use traditional fonts that are easy to read like Times, Arial, or Calibri.
- Proofread to ensure your resume is free of grammatical and/or typographical errors. Your cover letter should demonstrate your writing ability.
When writing your cover letter, consider the following questions:
- Why does this position appeal to you? If the answer is location or pay, consider the next level of appeal for you — is there anything else about the role that appeals to you? If not, what is it about this type of work that appeals to you?
- How did you learn about the opportunity?
- What specific requirements mentioned in the job description do you fulfill? If you’re applying without a job posting, what requirements do you anticipate that you can fulfill?
- How do you fulfill those requirements?
- What steps are you going to take to follow up with the employer after sending your resume and cover letter?