Hello there! If you’re a nurse looking to make the best impression with your job application, you’re in the right place. As a career coach, I’ve witnessed the power of a well-written cover letter. It’s not just a simple email introduction or a redundant version of your resume—it’s your chance to personally connect with potential employers and really sell your skills and qualifications.
A nursing cover letter is your vehicle to paint a clear picture of who you are, how you’re qualified, and why you’re the best fit for the position. It’s your opportunity to tell your story, express your enthusiasm for the role and the employer, and get across those hard-to-communicate qualities like personality, character, goals, and culture fit.
In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into what makes a standout nursing cover letter, the preferred structures and formats, and how to avoid common mistakes. Here’s to landing your dream nursing job!
What Should Be Included in a Good Nursing Cover Letter?
To get things started, let’s go over what you should have in a good nursing cover letter. Remember, as you craft your cover letter, it’s important to be specific.
Instead of creating a generic cover letter, research the job and the healthcare facility to tailor your cover letter accordingly. It shows your genuine interest in the role and makes a good impression.
With that said, let’s get into the components of a strong nursing cover letter.
Your nursing cover letter should begin with a professional greeting—preferably, address the hiring manager by name. Do some online sleuthing, if necessary, to find the active hiring manager’s name and title.
Concise and Compelling Introduction
Next, it’s time to start your introduction. Remember, your cover letter is essentially your “elevator pitch.” You want to quickly grab the hiring manager’s attention and make them interested to read further.
For instance, you could say, “As a compassionate and dedicated nurse with 5+ years experience in intensive care, I am excited to bring my skills and expertise to the team at XYZ Hospital.”
Cover Letter Body
After your introduction comes the body of the letter. Your body paragraphs should showcase your qualifications, accomplishments, and skills. Don’t shy away from discussing your achievements. If you’ve helped implement a successful procedure that improved patient turnaround time, mention it.
For example, you could say, “In my former role at ABC Healthcare, I initiated a quick triage procedure that improved patient intake speed by 20%.”
Remember to emphasize your soft skills as well. Nursing isn’t solely about technical know-how; empathy, attention to detail, good communication, resilience, and compassion are equally, if not more, important.
After the body, it’s time to start wrapping things up. The conclusion should reiterate your interest and eagerness for the job. Also, propose the next steps. Would you like to discuss your qualifications further in an interview? Make sure to mention it!
Follow up your conclusion paragraph with a professional ending. “Sincerely” or “Best” followed by your name would be suitable. Don’t forget to include your contact details in the header or footer of your cover letter.
What to Know About Formatting a Nursing Cover Letter
Crafting an exquisite nursing cover letter hinges heavily on its structure and format. You don’t just want to tell your story; you want to tell it in an organized, professional way that’s easy for hiring managers to follow.
Aside from the standard components of a cover letter, such as:
- your personal contact information
- the date
- the contact information of the hiring person
The way your letter looks should also be professional. Make sure your cover letter matches the visual format of your resume — it should have the same font, size, margins, and style. This helps create a unified application packet and shows attention to detail. Also, always proofread to check for typos and grammar errors.
Through a well-structured and professionally formatted cover letter, you can showcase your personality, dedication, and passion for nursing, making your application memorable. By following these guidelines, your cover letter can become a ticket to the next phase of your job journey.
General Examples of Nursing Cover Letters
Creating a nursing cover letter can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Let’s take a deep dive into some examples to understand what a successful cover letter looks like and, more importantly, why it works.
Cover letter for a Senior Nurse
“As an experienced nursing professional with 10 years of hands-on expertise in Cardiac Care, I am writing to apply for the Senior Nurse position at Health First Hospitals. My comprehensive experience in patient care, coupled with my proven ability to manage a team of nurses, will allow me to significantly contribute to the Cardiology department at your esteemed organization.
In my past role at Care Plus Hospitals, I led a passionate team of 15 nurses and facilitated a 20% reduction in patient readmissions. My commitment to excellence in nursing, reliable judgment, and exceptional communication skills make me a strong candidate for this position.”
Cover letter for a Pediatric Nurse
“With an unwavering passion for pediatric healthcare and over 5 years of experience within this field, I am applying for the available Pediatric Nurse position at Kids First Hospital. I have a strong foundation in providing holistic care to children, and my previous role at Healthy Child Clinics allowed me to improve patient satisfaction scores by 30%.
My ability to connect with children and earn their trust, along with my comprehensive knowledge of pediatric illnesses, makes me the ideal candidate for this role.”
Example Cover Letter for a Certified Nursing Assistant
Besides general nursing cover letters, there are also certain positions in the field that you’ll want to tailor your document to. One of those is a certified nursing assistant (CNA) position.
As a CNA, your cover letter should reflect your skills and experiences in patient care, as well as your ability to work in a fast-paced healthcare environment. This is your chance to not only summarize these areas but to also provide examples demonstrating your dedication, competence, and empathy.
Here’s an example of a CNA cover letter:
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[Your Email Address]
[Employer’s City, State, Zip Code]
Dear [Employer’s Name],
I’m writing to express my genuine interest in the Certified Nursing Assistant position at [Company’s Name] that was advertised on [where you found the job posting]. As a highly skilled and patient-oriented CNA with over X years of experience, I am confident I can make a positive impact on your team.
In my previous role at [Previous Employer’s Name], I provided high-quality patient care, assisted with ADLs (activities of daily living) for elderly patients, and coordinated with nurses and doctors. I also gained experience in more specialized care, such as [detail a specific situation/health issue you have handled], providing effective, compassionate, and individualized care.
One of my most important achievements during my tenure was [describe a situation where you went above and beyond or had a significant positive impact]. This experience not only fortified my essential caregiving skills but also developed my commitment to enriching the lives of patients with dignity and respect.
I am excited about the opportunity to bring my unique skills and driven nature to [Company’s Name]. I’m eager to contribute to your team and support your commitment to delivering outstanding patient care.
Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing this exciting opportunity with you.
Example Cover Letter for an Entry-Level Nurse
Another position that warrants a cover letter is an entry-level nursing job.
Crafting a cover letter as an entry-level nurse can feel challenging, especially when you are competing against more experienced nurses. However, remember, everyone starts somewhere, and what you lack in extensive experience, you can make up for with passion, dedication, and the willingness to learn.
Start your cover letter with a professional greeting. Then, introduce yourself and explicitly state the entry-level nursing position you’re applying for. For example:
“Dear Hiring Manager,
I am excited to apply for the entry-level RN position posted on your hospital’s website. As a recent nursing graduate from XYZ University, I believe I have the essential skills, dedication, and drive necessary for this role…”
In the body of your letter, emphasize the clinical experiences and internships you have undertaken as part of your nursing education. Be sure to highlight any specific areas of expertise or knowledge, detailing how you implemented them in a real-world setting:
“For my final-year placement, I interned in a busy metropolitan hospital’s ICU….”
Remember to showcase qualities that indicate your willingness and aptitude for learning and growth, such as adaptability, proactivity, and eagerness to absorb new knowledge:
“Over the course of my studies, I consistently sought out opportunities to broaden my understanding of nursing practice, voluntarily attending additional workshops and seminars.”
Towards the end of the cover letter, express your interest in the company and why you’re a good fit for the role:
“I am particularly drawn to your hospital due to its focus on holistic patient care… I believe my empathetic nature, keen attention to detail, and desire to contribute positively to patients’ lives align perfectly with your philosophy.”
Your final paragraph should include a request for further action like an interview:
“Thank you for considering my application. I’d appreciate the chance to discuss how I can contribute to your esteemed nursing team.”
To close, opt for a simple, professional sign-off such as “Sincerely, [Your Name].” Don’t overlook this section, end it on a positive note, and thank the reader for their time.
Example Cover Letter for a New Grad Nurse
Similarly to an entry-level nursing position, recent graduates will also need to focus on their cover letters for success. As a new graduate nurse, your cover letter will play a significant role in bridging your academic achievements and your future professional goals.
As you create your cover letter, remember to address the letter professionally and include your contact details at the top. Begin with a strong opening line that displays enthusiasm about becoming a healthcare professional. For instance:
“Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name],
As a fresh graduate from [Your College’s Name] with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I am eager to embark on my nursing career and contribute to the exceptional standards of patient care at [Company/Hospital’s Name]…”
Next, dedicate one to two paragraphs to highlight your qualifications and accomplishments during your student years. Here’s an example:
“During my academic years, my focus has always been to strive for excellence in all areas of my studies. I have been recognized for my leadership and team collaboration skills and have gained practical experience during my simulation labs, academic projects, and clinical rotations, strengthening my patient care skills…”
Then, emphasize your clinical rotations and the skills you’ve developed:
“In my final semester, I completed a clinical rotation at [Clinical Rotation Hospital’s Name], where I worked in [specific department]. There, I honed my [mention specific skills] skills.”
The ending paragraph should show eagerness to contribute those skills to the hiring institution:
“I am excited about the opportunity to bring my unique blend of skills and experience to a dedicated and patient-focused organization such as [Company/Hospital’s Name]. I am confident that my fresh insights and passion for nursing can contribute positively to your team…”
Finish with a polite conclusion such as:
“I appreciate your consideration and welcome the opportunity to further discuss how I can apply my strengths to the progress of [Company/Hospital’s Name].”
Remember, the goal here is to spark interest and score an interview invitation. Put emphasis on what you can offer based on the experiences gained during your studies, specifically your clinical rotations.
Example Cover Letter for a Nurse Practitioner
Writing a cover letter as a Nurse Practitioner differs from other nursing roles because it involves more specialized and advanced care. You want to highlight your specialty area, whether it’s working in a family practice, emergency care, pediatrics, or another field.
This is a chance for you to showcase your particular skills in diagnosis and treatment, educational accomplishments, and leadership abilities in your nursing career while also showing that you can deliver compassionate, patient-centered care.
Here’s an example:
“Dear [Recipient’s Name],
As a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over five years of experience in primary care, I’m writing to express my interest in the Nurse Practitioner position that’s currently open at your facility. With my track record in providing high-level care and maintaining strong patient relationships, I believe I’m well-equipped to contribute to your team.
During my tenure at [Previous Healthcare Facility], I managed average patient caseloads of 20–25 people per day, diagnosing and treating diverse conditions. I also piloted a primary preventive care program, which reduced hospital admittance rates by 15% within three years.
Known for my ability to explain complex medical issues in simple terms, my patient satisfaction ratings were consistently above 95%. I also successfully trained three new Nurse Practitioners who went on to become valuable members of our medical team.
I’m drawn to [New Facility] because of its commitment to patient-centered care, an approach that aligns with my philosophy as a healthcare provider. I believe that my expertise and dedication to holistic care can help further your facility’s mission and improve patient outcomes.”
Remember, the key here is specificity. Show concrete examples of your accomplishments and explicitly state how these experiences shaped you into a more skilled and empathetic nurse practitioner.
Make your cover letter personal, engaging, and strongly connected to the job position you’re applying for. It will unequivocally show your commitment to excellence in your nursing profession and render you a serious contender for the position.
Benefits of Writing a Nursing Cover Letter
Crafting a well-written nursing cover letter can significantly escalate your job search and open doors to unexpected opportunities. A couple of the main benefits of creating a cover letter for nursing jobs includes:
- It sets you apart: A cover letter gives you the platform to tell your unique story and showcase your personality, something a resume just doesn’t accomplish.
- It shows you’ve done your homework: A personalized cover letter not only shows your interest in the job but also highlights how much effort you’ve put into understanding the role and the organization.
- It makes up for any potential shortcomings: Whether you’re an entry-level nurse or an experienced professional, there are often gaps in experience that employers might question. A cover letter is an excellent opportunity to address these gaps or any other reservations an employer might have.
- It provides context: A cover letter allows you to explain the reasons behind your career moves and choices. While moving from an urban hospital to a rural healthcare center might seem like a downgrade on a resume, for instance, a supplementing cover letter may be able to exemplify a genuine passion for providing care to underserved communities.
- It demonstrates communication skills: A clean, well-structured cover letter can reflect your ability to communicate detailed information promptly and coherently.
A cover letter was never just a piece of paper. It is a golden ticket that allows you to step into the spotlight, capture the attention of potential employers, and truly make a positive difference in your career.
Steps for Writing a Good Nursing Cover Letter
As an aspiring or practicing nurse, there’s always potential to advance your career. One of the ways you can elevate your chances of getting your dream nursing job is a well-crafted cover letter. Here are steps to guide you on how to write an engaging and impactful nursing cover letter.
Step 1: Do Your Research
The first step is to research the healthcare facility where you’re applying. Understand their mission, values, priorities, and goals. Knowing the specifics of the organization will enable you to craft a tailored cover letter that aligns with their needs and expectations.
Step 2: Use a Professional Layout
When you’re writing your cover letter, ensure that you use a professional layout. Include your contact information at the top, followed by the employer’s contact information. Then, add the date, a formal greeting, an engaging opening paragraph, a body that supports your capabilities, a polite wrapping-up paragraph, and finally, a professional sign-off.
Step 3: Write a Strong Introductory Paragraph
In the introductory paragraph, aim to capture the hiring manager’s attention right away. Here, mention the position you’re applying for, briefly express your enthusiasm for the role, and give a summary of your qualifications and experiences that suit the job description.
Step 4: Detail Your Experience and Skills in the Body
The body of the letter is where you can really sell yourself. Use this space to detail your relevant experiences, skills, and accomplishments. Always try to include specific examples to show the impact you’ve made in your previous roles.
Step 5: Conclude Strongly
In your conclusion, always show gratitude for the reader’s time. Express your interest in further discussing your qualifications in an interview setting.
Step 6: Proofread and Edit
Last but not least, always proofread your nursing cover letter meticulously. Check for grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors, as well as the overall flow of the letter. Getting a second set of eyes to review it for you often provides fresh perspectives and can catch any errors you might have missed.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Nursing Cover Letter
There’s no denying that creating an effective cover letter can feel daunting. However, avoiding these common mistakes can significantly level up your cover letter game.
A couple of common pitfalls people fall into when making a nursing cover letter include:
- Not personalizing: Generic does not stand out. Instead, personalize your letter to the hiring manager or organization you’re applying to. It shows you’ve done your research and know exactly why you’re a great fit.
- Focusing only on yourself: Avoid focusing solely on what the job can do for you; instead, articulate what you can do for your potential employer.
- Having typos, grammatical errors, and inconsistencies: These errors suggest a lack of attention to detail and can be interpreted as a lack of care. After you’ve written your cover letter, proofread it.
- Overusing buzzwords: Phrases like “hard worker” or “team player” can come across as clichéd. Instead, use specific examples that demonstrate these qualities.
Other FAQ About Writing a Nursing Cover Letter
Do you still have some lingering doubts about creating the perfect nursing cover letter? Let me walk you through a couple of quick FAQs.
How to Use Keywords in my Cover Letter?
Keywords are the skills and attributes that the employer is seeking in a candidate. In most cases, you can find these within the job description. For example, if the job description mentions ‘critical thinking’ or ‘team collaboration,’ be sure to highlight these skills in your cover letter, perhaps when discussing a clinical experience or a time you worked on a team.
How Should I Address Employment Gaps?
If you have a gap in your employment that the hiring manager might question, the cover letter is a good place to address it. You don’t need to explain in-depth. Instead, briefly acknowledge the gap and focus more on what you were doing during that time that might be relevant to the role you’re applying for.
Should I Discuss Why I’m Changing Jobs?
Yes, but approach this with caution. You want to come across as someone who’s seeking a career progression; you don’t want to sound like you’re running away from something. You might say something like, ‘I’m looking for an opportunity to expand my skills in pediatric care, which is why I’m thrilled about the opportunity to apply to your clinic.’
Craft the Perfect Nursing Cover Letter and Land a New Job
Your cover letter is often your first introduction to a potential employer. It’s your handshake, your welcoming smile, and it prefaces your personal and professional narrative.
When you create a nursing cover letter, make sure that you personalize it, regardless of whether you’re applying to an entry-level position, a CNA role, or even a management role. Additionally, research the values, missions, and needs of the organization to which you’re applying. Understand the unique challenges and opportunities of the role. Then, blend these insights into your cover letter, matching them with your skills, experiences, and ambitions.
With these tips, you’re on the right path to crafting the perfect nursing cover letter and stepping into a new job. And, if you still need some support, we’ve got plenty of other cover letter articles for you to browse through to help you out.