Cover letters may seem like an antiquated component of the job search, but they still serve and important purpose. Before you meet with recruiters, your cover letter is what helps differentiate you from other physicians.
An effective cover letter provides a concise introduction to your personality, work experience and communication style. Whether you're writing your first cover letter or you want to revise a letter you dashed off in the early stages of your search, keep these four tips in mind:
1. Personalize each letter
It's fine to have a template for your cover letters, but you should put some time into personalizing each one. For example, if you have a paragraph describing your work history, you might alter it slightly to emphasize skills highlighted in the job description.
At the very least, you should always personalize the opening and closing lines. Mention the name of the organization to which you're applying, and thank the recruiter by name. These small touches show the hiring stakeholders that you are detail-oriented.
2. Use a three-paragraph structure
The three-paragraph cover letter format is widely used because it allows job seekers to express their skills and experiences in a concise manner. It should look like this:
Introduction: Introduce yourself briefly. Then state the purpose of your letter, such as if you're applying to a specific position or if you're making a general inquiry.
Body: The second paragraph should highlight skills and experiences relevant to the job. If you already have professional connections to the employer, mention them here.
Conclusion: Always thank the reader for their time, and end with a strong call to action (see tip #4).
Remember to keep your paragraphs short. Your letter should take up between half to a full page.
3. Express your enthusiasm
One of the chief challenges of cover letter writing is striking a balance between professionalism and personability. On the one hand, you want to sound competent and qualified for the job; on the other hand, you don't want to sound robotic or stilted.
Inject some personality into your writing by expressing why you're excited about the position. What are you most looking forward to? How does the job align with your professional ambitions? A little enthusiasm can go a long way.
4. End with a strong call to action
Your cover letter won't get you a job, but it can get you an interview. The letter is more likely to help you reach your goals when you clearly tell the recruiter what you want. In most cases, what you want is to set up a phone call or in-person meeting.
If you follow the three-paragraph model, your second paragraph should get the reader interested in learning more about you. Then, the third paragraph tells them what to do next. Don't just end your letter by saying you'll await the recruiters response. Use active language: "Call me any time of day to discuss how I can help your organization."
Ready to take the next step in your career as a physician? Sign up for free job alerts from myHealthTalent.com today. An effective cover letter provides a concise introduction to your personality, work experience and communication style.