Looking to land more nursing job offers?
Crafting a strong cover letter is key. This comprehensive guide is packed with everything you need to know in order to write a job-winning nursing cover letter, complete with effective strategies, essential skills, helpful templates, and real-life examples.
You can trust that all the insights and tips in this guide are based on data from coaching thousands of job seekers, just like you, who have gone on to secure positions at some of the world's most reputable companies.
Whether you're a seasoned nurse or just starting out, reading this guide from start to finish can help you land your dream role. But if you're short on time and looking for specific information, here's a breakdown of what's included:
- What To Know About Writing A Job-Winning Nursing Cover Letter
- The Best Skills To Include On A Nursing Cover Letter
- How To Address A Nursing Cover Letter
- 3 Nursing Cover Letter Examples
- The 8 Best Nursing Cover Letter Templates
- 3 Tips For Writing A Job-Winning Nursing Cover Letter
Here's the step-by-step breakdown:
Nursing Cover Letter Overview: What To Know To Write A Cover Letter That Wins More Job Offers
What do healthcare centers look for when hiring for a nursing role?
Hospitals and clinics look for nursing candidates with a nursing degree or diploma from an accredited program and a valid nursing license. Certification in a specialty area, such as pediatrics or critical care, may also be preferred.
Nurses should have both technical skills, such as administering medication and using medical equipment, and strong interpersonal skills, such as communication, empathy, and collaboration. They should be adaptable, flexible, able to make quick decisions, and solve problems in complex situations.
Professionalism and ethical standards are also important qualities in nursing roles. Nurses work as part of a larger healthcare team, so employers often look for candidates who are team players and can work effectively with others.
Your resume should show your potential employer that both your personality and your experience encompass all of these things.
Additionally, there are a few best practices you want to follow to write a job-winning nursing resume:
- Highlight your experience. Highlight your nursing experience that is most relevant to the job you are applying for. Focus on clinical skills, procedures, and technologies you are experienced with.
- Emphasize your communication and interpersonal skills. Provide examples of how you have effectively communicated with patients, family members, and colleagues.
- Include keywords from the job description: ensure your resume is optimized for applicant tracking systems (ATS).
- Highlight your problem-solving and decision-making skills. Provide examples of how you have addressed complex issues and made effective decisions.
- Include any relevant certifications, awards or professional development courses. List any nursing certifications, licenses, and professional memberships you hold.
- Quantify your work: Use numbers and statistics to quantify your achievements, such as the number of patients you cared for or the success rate of your treatments.
- Proofread: Make sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter for any grammatical errors or typos. A well-written, error-free letter can make a strong first impression. I recommend using Hemingway App to do this.
Let's dive deeper into each of these so you have the exact blueprint you need to see success.
The Best Nursing Skills To Include On Your Cover Letter
Keywords are one of the most important factors in your cover letter. They show employers that your skills align with the role and they also help format your cover letter for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
If you're not familiar with ATS systems, they are pieces of software used by employers to manage job applications. They scan cover letters for keywords and qualifications and make it easier for the employers to filter and search for candidates whose qualifications match the role.
If you want to win more nursing interviews and job offers, you need to have a keyword-optimized cover letter. There are two ways to find the right keywords:
1. Leverage The 20 Best Nursing Keywords
The first way to find the right keywords is to leverage our list of the best keywords and skills for a nursing cover letter.
These keywords were selected from an analysis of real nursing job descriptions sourced from actual job boards. Here they are:
- Patient Care
- Team Member
- Follow Up
- Patient Care
2. Use ResyMatch.io To Find The Best Keywords That Are Specific To Your Cover Letter And Target Role
The second method is the one I recommend because it's personalized to your specific cover letter and target job.
This process lets you find the exact keywords that your cover letter is missing when compared to the individual role you're applying for.
Here's how it works:
- Open a copy of your target nursing job description
- Head over to ResyMatch.io
- Select the “Job Description Scan” from the scan type selector in the upper right corner of the tool
- Copy and paste the nursing job description into the field on the left
- Hit scan and review the results
ResyMatch is going to scan the target job description and show you the exact keywords and skills that are relevant for the role and that you should weave into your cover letter.
Here's a video walking through this whole process:
How To Address A Nursing Cover Letter
Personalization is what makes a cover letter stand out. That starts from the very first sentence where you greet the person reading your cover letter! There are two ways to do this well:
1. Use The Hiring Manager's Name
The first, and best, is by including the hiring manager's name. Let's say that you discovered the hiring manager's name from a post on LinkedIn or via an informational interview.
This is the jackpot! All you need to do is use their name in the introduction, like this:
But we won't always have the luxury of knowing the hiring manager's name. Here's what you do in those cases:
2. Use This Formula: To The [Department] Team at [Organization]
If you don't have the hiring manager's name, no problem! You can address your cover letter to the team that you're applying to.
For example, if you're applying to for a Product Marketing Manager role at Discovery Education, you might start you cover letter like this:
This shows the reader that this letter has been written specifically for them and the content inside of it will support that.
It's much more relevant and personal than “To Whom It May Concern!”
For more advice on writing a strong opening to your cover letter, check out this guide.
3 Nursing Cover Letter Examples For 2023
Now let's take a look at all of these best practices in action. Here are three cover letter examples for different situations from people with different backgrounds that are all applying for nursing roles:
Nursing Cover Letter Example #1: A Traditional Background
Our first example is a cover letter written by a candidate with traditional nursing experience. Here is what an example of their cover letter might look like:
Nursing Cover Letter Example #2: A Non-Traditional Background
Our second cover letter example comes from a candidate looking to transition from a social work background into a nursing role. This cover letter illustrates how they identify and speak to their transferable skills:
Nursing Cover Letter Example #3: Landing A Nurse Practitioner Role
Our third example highlights a candidate with extensive nursing experience who is looking to take a leap in their career and land a Nurse Practitioner role.
The 8 Best Nursing Cover Letter Templates
At this point, you know all of the basics you'll need to write a nursing cover letter that wins you more interviews and offers. The only thing left is to take all of that information and apply it to a template that's going to help you get results.
We made that easy with our CoverBuild tool. It has 8 proven templates that were created with the help of recruiters and hiring managers at the world's best companies. These templates also bake in thousands of data points we have from the job seekers in our audience who have used them to land job offers.
Just click any of the templates below to start building your cover letter using proven, recruiter-approved templates:
3 Tips For Writing A Job-Winning Nursing Cover Letter
You're off to a strong start! But I've got a few more tips to help you take your cover letter to the next level:
1. Use ChatGPT To Write Your Cover Letter In <30 Seconds
All of these tips and best practices work, but you still have to implement them. Normally, that'd mean you sitting down and spending hours brainstorming ideas, typing, deleting, and typing again, and then feeling absolutely drained.
Now there's a way to work around all of that so you save your best energy for the writing and edits that matter most. Here's how it works:
- Head to ChatGPT (you'll need to create an account – it's free)
- Ask ChatGPT, “Please write me a cover letter for a nursing role. The role I'm applying for is [Job Title] role at [Employer]. Here is the job description: [Paste Job Description]. And here is my resume: [Paste Resume].
- Watch ChatGPT write up a pretty darn good cover letter base!
Here's a video of me doing this with a real cover letter if you want to see the steps in action:
Note: I do not recommend or advise that you simply copy and paste the content from ChatGPT into your cover letter and submit your application. ChatGPT is great for doing 80% of the baseline work, but you still need to review, revise, and personalize the content yourself.
2. Include Measurable Metrics And Outcomes
Too many job seekers only focus on the actions that they took and not the outcomes that resulted from those actions. As a hiring manager, it's impossible to differentiate between a dozen candidates who were all “Responsible For Monitoring Patient Progress.”
If you want to win, your cover letter should speak to the specific outcomes that you drove in previous roles. That could be:
- The percentage by which your patients' health improved under your care
- The average reduction in hospital readmissions
- The average parent satisfaction rate
- The rate by which you and your team were able to reduce medical errors
These numbers will show hiring teams what you're capable of and make your value crystal clear!
3. Match Your Cover Letter And Resume Design
Design has a big impact on perceived quality. Take the below image for example, which car is worth more?If you said Car A, you'd be wrong!
They're the exact same car, down to the year, make, and model. The only difference is the way the product was presented. Like I said, quality impacts perceived value.
One of the best ways to boost the quality of your cover letter is to make it look clean, professional, and have it match your resume. That's why the resume templates in our resume builder tool match the cover letter templates in our cover letter builder:
If you use both tools to create your cover letter and your resume, your entire application is going to be top notch.
Key Takeaways To Wrap Up Your Job-Winning Cover Letter
You made it! We packed a lot of information into this post so I wanted to distill the key points for you and lay out next steps so you know exactly where to from here.
Here are the 5 steps for writing a job-winning nursing cover letter:
- Start with a proven cover letter template from CoverBuild.io
- Use ResyMatch.io to find the right keywords and optimize your cover letter for each nursing role you apply to
- Start your nursing cover letter with a personalized greeting for the hiring manager or Human Resources representative.
- Emphasize the measurable outcomes and value you drove in previous roles (include metrics!)
- Compare the draft of your nursing cover letter to the examples on this page to make sure you're on the right path
- Use a tool like Hemingway App to proofread your cover letter before you submit it
If you follow those steps, you're going to be well on your way to landing more nursing interviews and job offers.
Now that your cover letter is taking care of, be sure to check out our guide on writing a job-winning Nursing resume (with examples!)