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Job Search Tips January 30, 2023

By Erin Wallace

5 Tips for Writing An Effective Nursing Cover Letter

Stuck on how to write a nursing cover letter that will get you noticed?

Applying for a new nursing job can be challenging, and many people will naturally spend the most time working on their nursing resume. But when you include a well-crafted nursing cover letter, it can help you stand out from the crowd.

Below are five actionable tips for writing a successful nursing cover letter, whether you are applying by mail or online. These tips can help you highlight your experience and show why you are a strong candidate for this particular job.

Find travel nursing jobs with Onward Healthcare.

How to Write a Compelling Nursing Cover Letter

1. Modify Your Cover Letter for each Facility

Every hospital, doctor's office or healthcare facility has its own unique set of qualifications and desired experience in mind for the position they're trying to fill. So your nursing cover letter should be tailored to that job. A boilerplate format with generic information isn’t going to win you any points.

Spend some time researching the culture and characteristics of the healthcare facility you're applying to, review the details of the job description, and incorporate those elements and key words into your nurse cover letter as much as possible.

2. Keep the Cover Letter Brief and Professional

Focus on sharing your passion and interest in the position, demonstrating your nursing talents, and expanding on your education and training. 

Your nursing cover letter, whether printed or saved as a PDF, should be no longer than one page, single-spaced or 1.5 line spaces, and typed in a professional, business-letter format. 

Formatting a business-style cover letter for nurses means it should include the date, the employer's mailing address, and your address and contact information at the top. See these nursing cover letter samples from Resume Genius for more details on this layout. And don’t forget to proofread your letter multiple times.

If you are submitting an online application and the site allows you to provide a digital cover letter or short message, be sure to write that section with just as much time and care as you would a printed letter. One trick is to write it in Word or a similar system, review it carefully, spell-check, and then cut and paste the content into the appropriate section in the online application. After pasting, check that the formatting hasn’t changed or created any issues.

3. Show Your Passion

The first paragraph of your cover letter should explain your passion for nursing and why it's such an important part of your life. Employers know that most nurses want to help people, so try to avoid clichés. This section should be different for everyone: be specific in explaining your passions and tailor it to the current position.

4. Promote Yourself with Enthusiasm

In the next section, focus on highlighting your strengths and qualifications, including your accomplishments, education and specialized training. If you can quantify things—such as how many nurses you mentored or how your team lowered hospital-acquired infection rates by a certain percentage—those can be great to include.

While some of this information should be listed in your resume, hitting the high points in your cover letter is an opportunity to relate your credentials to the position for which you are applying.

5. Share Personal Stories if You Have Them

Personal stories are usually remembered, and if you have a particularly poignant example, be sure to include it. It might be a small example of a colleague or patient who influenced your life in a positive way during an internship, or it might relate to a close family member who inspired your career.

Whatever it is, be authentic and keep it concise, yet memorable.

When you keep these tips for writing a great nursing cover letter in mind, you can help yourself land a job that's a great fit for your skills and qualifications.

Onward Healthcare, an AMN Healthcare company, has thousands of travel nursing jobs available around the U.S. Our team of experts can help you find the right assignment and walk you through every step of the application and onboarding process. We’ll also be there to provide support throughout your assignment.

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