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Writing a Successful Nursing Cover Letter With Examples and Templates
Jul 01 2022
Career Resources / Job Searching / Nursing Cover Letter
Reviewed by: Kiley Griffin, R.N.
Writing an effective nursing cover letter may seem unnecessary–trust us: it’s not. Roughly 45% of job seekers send resumes without a cover letter . Yet, a majority of employers prefer cover letters to go with a resume.
When looking for a new job , nurses often spend the most time developing their resumes . Sometimes they neglect their cover letters or don’t write one at all.
Whether you are a new grad nurse or a nurse veteran, a good cover letter is a great way to separate yourself from the pack. Even if a hiring manager only skims it, it can mean the difference between you and another candidate getting the job if something catches their eye.
In this post, we will explore the following:
- Examples and a Template for a Nursing Cover Letter
When Nursing Cover Letters Are Required
- Benefits to Writing a Cover Letter
- Steps for Writing a Cover Letter
- Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Cover Letter
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Nursing Cover Letter Examples and Templates
With the right care and effort, you can craft a professional nursing cover letter that helps distinguish you from other candidates.
We’ve provided two sample nurse cover letters and a template to help give you an idea of what to write.
Nursing Cover Letter Template
Hiring Manager name Nursing Recruitment 1234 Any Place Road Sometown, California 11111 (999)999-9999 June 16, 2021 Your Name Title Current Employer Mailing Address Phone Number Email Address Dear Hiring Manager, I am pleased to learn of this opportunity, as I found the qualities you are seeking for this position to be an excellent match for my skills, education, and experience. I have a robust background and leadership experience in emergency nursing, trauma/critical care, change leadership, and a commitment to providing high-quality care through standardizing workflows to align with best practices. It is in response to similar challenges that I have excelled during my career as a manager, director, and clinical leader. Also, I am particularly interested in [the company] because of your excellent reputation, community engagement, and focus on delivering high-quality care to patients. My current role primarily includes providing strategic direction to the clinical operations of the Emergency Department, Trauma Base Hospital, and Crisis Stabilization Unit. I also establish and enforce policies and procedures for the hospital. Additionally, I ensure that financial targets are met within my scope of responsibility. Moreover, I am confident that I can support your strategic objectives of the ICU and provide stability in the department with regard to achieving quality outcomes, staff development, and meeting financial targets. I look forward to discussing in detail with you the ways in which my experience and determination will make further significant contributions to your organization. Respectfully, [Your Name]
Here are the most common scenarios when a nursing cover letter is required:
- Applying directly to a specific person: Suppose the job posting invites applicants to apply to a particular individual instead of a general application system. In that case, it is appropriate to include a cover letter and address it to the individual . This is especially important for new grad nurses with less experience.
- Referral for a position: Don’t skip the cover letter If you apply for work based on another professional or mentor’s recommendation. Use the cover letter to explain that someone referred you to the job and specify whom. This allows hiring managers to see that someone they value as a trusted professional in the healthcare industry believes you are qualified for a position.
- When requested in a job listing: Some job listings specifically request candidates to submit a professional cover letter with their application. Following job listing requirements to include a cover letter shows hiring managers that you follow instructions and have an eye for detail. Both are essential qualities in the nursing profession.
Benefits to Writing a Nursing Cover Letter
Knowing you are the best candidate for the job and proving it are two different things. You may have an impeccable nursing resume ; however, 20 other candidates are applying for the same position.
Nursing careers are in demand , but that does not mean there isn’t competition for specific nursing positions such as a nurse practitioner or nurse educator .
Resumes are neatly spun packages of information about a candidate’s education, job history (when applicable), and professional certification . They leave little room for information about who you are as a candidate.
That is where a good cover letter comes in. With the proper cover letter format, your cover letter will offer several advantages and is a great way to showcase your nursing skills.
Identify your intent
Resumes indicate your worth. Cover letters reveal your intent . Outline how your desires and skills align with the job you are applying for. This shows the hiring manager you are interested in the position.
Hopefully, it’s not going to be just another job for you. It will become part of your mission and vision as a nursing professional . For instance, if a position will help grow your leadership skills and prepare you for an advanced nursing career, state that as part of the intent.
Provide a more in-depth description
Your education and credentials make up only a small portion of who you are as a nursing professional. How someone looks on paper is not an indicator of how they will perform. It does not accurately gauge their character.
In that sense, a cover letter provides a sample of what the hiring manager will expect in the interview.
Using a cover letter to honestly explore your strengths, weaknesses, experiences, interests, and perspectives is an asset. Maybe your resume includes a certification or award you are proud of. Expand on it in the cover letter.
Pro-tip: Using some of the traits and terms found in the job’s job description is a great way to stand out as a candidate, as it shows you have the qualities the employer is looking for.
What makes you proud of that achievement and how does it make you the best candidate for the position?
Explain the gaps
Hiring professionals suggest resumes span one page for new nurses and those with less than 10 years of experience. Due to length limits, it is hard to explain any gaps in work history. Also, resumes leave out room for detailing why you may have shifted gears from an earlier career into nursing.
A cover letter provides the perfect opportunity to explain these situations.
Establish a willingness to work
Cover letters add an extra touch to a job application. As stated, nearly half of all job applicants fail to include a cover letter with their job applications unless requested.
Going that extra mile shows a hiring manager that you are willing to put the work in to get the job done right. That is a desirable quality for any business or industry, especially in nursing and other healthcare careers.
Remember that a cover letter should focus on a resume’s highlights, fleshing them out in a more meaningful way.
These are key purposes of a nursing cover letter.
Include only information that falls into one of the four benefits listed above to get the most mileage out of your cover letter.
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Steps for Writing Your Cover Letter
The nursing field requires structure and proper etiquette .
You wouldn’t walk into a patient’s room and say,
“hey, Adam, what’s up, man?”
The same need for etiquette and structure applies to writing a cover letter.
Accordingly, we have provided steps to writing a successful nursing cover letter.
1. Create a header
When a nurse injects a patient with a vaccine, they clean the area first with an alcohol wipe. They don’t just stick the needle in. In the same vein, you need to start by listing your name, phone number, email, and residential address .
Make sure you put the date under that information.
Last, include the recipient’s contact information as well.
2. Use a professional greeting
This is your first impression – show respect. Using “Dear” will work when sending a formal cover letter. If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name, simply write “Dear hiring manager.”
3. Write your opening paragraph
Your first paragraph serves as the bait or pitch to get the hiring manager’s attention. Don’t bother placing a fishing lure of fluff to try and get their attention. It’s essential to lead with honesty and earnestness.
While writing this paragraph, make sure you include the title for the position you’re applying to. If you’re applying to work as an RN , state that. Next, articulate why you applied for this job to begin with and your overall excitement to obtain this role.
Make sure that you key in on specific details about the position and how they interest you.
Here’s an example of a stellar opening paragraph:
I am thrilled at the opportunity to apply at St. Joseph’s Hospital as an ICU nurse. As an ICU nurse with over six years of experience, I have gained the necessary skills to perform my role excellently. Specifically, I am excited about the opportunity to work on a 35-bed unit with the demands it requires. I think that my experience, passion, and skill set make me an ideal ICU nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
4. Write your background paragraph
Dedicate this paragraph to your career in nursing up to this point. You want to include all the most applicable skills that pertain to this position. Be specific. Include the detailed duties that you performed that correspond to this new role.
If you’re applying to work in oncology, but have training in wound therapy, maybe don’t lead with that. Try including only relevant examples.
Next, include any measurable achievements you’ve had in other jobs that relate to this role. Keyword: measurable .
Here’s an example of a job posting for an ICU nurse:
Now, here’s a great way to respond to such a job posting:
My experience as a CVICU nurse has allowed me to develop the necessary skills to provide exceptional nursing care through a continuously evolving education. One of my greatest achievements is training 10 CVICU nurses to handle the CVICU and work with external pacemakers and post-cardiac surgery care. By working alongside a variety of health care providers at all levels, I have been able to establish outstanding collaboration and delegation abilities. Through my education, a strong emphasis on patient advocacy and ethical decision-making has been incorporated. Therefore, I have learned to place patient care at the utmost importance. I have developed strong assessment and critical thinking skills. This allows me to deliver the highest quality patient-centered care.
5. Expand on qualifications
Try adding a few short stories that can highlight your primary achievements. This is a great opportunity to highlight your soft skills as well.
Some potential soft skills include:
- Communication skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Ability to work under pressure
6. Craft a conclusion
In your concluding paragraph, circle back to why you’re the best candidate for this role. Try to expand on your eagerness to obtain the position. End the paragraph with a call to action . A call to action expresses your desire to hear from them soon with next steps regarding the hiring process.
7. End your letter formally
Just like you began your letter, conclude your letter professionally with a “Sincerely” or “Respectfully,” followed by your name. Ending your letter this way helps it end on a high, formal note.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Cover Letter
In the nursing profession, a mistake can lead to a lawsuit. When writing a nurse cover letter a mistake could lead to you not getting a job. Below are some of the common mistakes to avoid when writing your cover letter.
- Typos: The nursing profession has a lot of difficult and wonky spellings. For example, you may be proficient at Arrhythmia management , but do you know how to spell it? Having typos within your cover letter sends the message to your hiring manager that you might not be detail-oriented and that’s one of the most important traits in a nurse.
- Focusing too much on yourself: According to Forbes, this is another common mistake to avoid . Often people try to list all their accomplishments in ways that don’t directly tie into how they can help the company . You want your cover letter to be strategic and it’s imperative to list ways that you can help the employer.
- Lying: This should be obvious but it’s crucial that you tell the truth in your cover letter. The truth will eventually come out. The best policy is to just practice honesty.
- Addressing the letter to the wrong person: This is a critical mistake. The recruiter or hiring manager probably will just stop reading at that point.
- Re-writing your resume: Unfortunately, this is a common error when writing a cover letter. As explained earlier: resumes explain your worth, cover letters show your intent. They are two separate documents and a hiring manager will know if you attempt to merge them.
- Using a different font than your resume: It may seem like a small detail, but using the same font on your resume shows that you pay attention to detail.
You’ve made it. Congratulations!
Writing a cover letter on its own separates you from the pack. However, writing a strong cover letter makes you an even more intriguing candidate. A nurse wouldn’t leave a stitch when sewing up a wound and neither should you leave a job unfinished when applying for a job.
Nursing Cover Letter FAQs
Your nursing cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page. The recruiter should be able to read it quickly and get a good idea of what you offer the company. Anything longer than that and you risk the recruiter tossing your letter.
It’s best to use either Times New Roman or Arial when writing a nursing cover letter.
The cover letter should expand on information found in the resume. It should provide insight into your skills, qualifications and background.
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How to Write a Nursing Cover Letter
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Updated March 7, 2023
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A nursing cover letter is still crucial in the job application process. It’s often the first impression a potential employer will have of you. A cover letter is a chance to tell your story and call attention to aspects of your resume you want a reviewer to notice.
It’s also a chance to explain to an employer why you want to work for them, what you know about them, and why you’re an ideal candidate. A strong cover letter can tip the balance in your favor, helping you stand out from the competition and land an interview.
In the following guide, we walk you through writing a strong nursing cover letter, mistakes to avoid, and real-world tips that will keep you focused. Check out our downloadable nursing cover letter template and a sample letter to get started. Once you master the process, you’ll be writing winning cover letters in no time.
4 Steps to Write Your Nursing Cover Letter
Writing a cover letter can feel overwhelming for many nurses, especially because it’s difficult to know what to say, how much to reiterate what’s on your resume , and what information to include or not. A cover letter is an opportunity to explain aspects of your professional or personal history that a resume can’t always get across. Your passion and interests come through, along with your ability to communicate clearly. Review the following steps to write a stand-out cover letter. Feel free to use our sample letter and downloadable template. The cover letter is a significant part of convincing employers that they absolutely need to meet you!
Create a Header with Your Contact Information
Introduce yourself and note the position you’re applying for in the opening paragraph, highlight your skills and the reasons you want to work for this employer, write a closing paragraph and restate your interest, 7 mistakes to avoid in your nursing cover letter.
- Submitting Spelling and Grammar Errors: Nursing requires excellent documentation and attention to detail. Grammatical errors are unprofessional, and they can paint a picture of someone who doesn’t value attention to detail. Many resume reviewers will likely pass on a candidate whose resume and/or cover letter contain errors.
- Copying Your Resume: Your nursing cover letter can highlight aspects of your resume , but it shouldn’t be a verbatim copy. Find creative ways to underscore your key characteristics, skills, or experiences without repetition.
- Using Incorrect or Inconsistent Format: It’s best practice for your cover letter and resume to match in terms of design, font, and format. This creates a branded, visually cohesive application package.
- Forgetting to Tie Your Qualifications to the Position: Your cover letter should be targeted and specific, addressing the position you’re applying for and its qualifications, skills, and responsibilities. If you don't tie your qualifications to the job in question, that makes a weak case for you getting an interview.
- Failing to Address the Letter to a Specific Person or Department: Many postings fail to provide the name of an individual or a department to address in your letter. If they provide this information, use it. If they don’t, you can use the generic “Hiring Manager” or “Hiring Committee”.
- Starting Every Paragraph with “I”: Be creative in finding different ways to begin each paragraph (see our sample letter for examples). If two paragraphs begin with “I”, that’s OK, but no more than that.
Tips from Nurses on Writing Your Nursing Cover Letter
Research potential employers, explain relevant skills that meet the position's qualifications, include your soft skills, highlight your best qualities, demonstrate your passion, showcase your ability and willingness to learn, check for errors, frequently asked questions about nursing cover letters, what should a nurse cover letter include.
A nurse cover letter should include a header with your name, credentials, and contact information, plus the receiver's contact information. The body of the letter should specifically address the position you’re applying for, and how you can fulfill the characteristics, credentials, skills, knowledge, and expertise required.
What should a nurse cover letter not include?
Your cover letter does not need to include phrases like, “My references are available upon request”; “Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns”; or “I can be contacted via email at _____________or via phone at _____________.” These are all givens, and if your contact information is in your header, there’s no need to say it again.
What's the difference between a new grad nurse cover letter and an experienced nurse cover letter?
A new grad nurse cover letter can't demonstrate the level of skill, expertise, and knowledge as a seasoned nurse. New grads haven’t accumulated years of nursing experience, but they have their academic and clinical performance, enthusiasm, passion, and related healthcare experience to share, whether paid or volunteer. When employers advertise new grad positions, they understand that new grad resumes and letters can't reflect the resumes of experienced nurses.
Are nursing cover letters necessary?
In these days of online applications, a cover letter may be optional, meaning that applicants can upload a cover letter if they choose to. For some applications, a cover letter will be required. Consider this: if a cover letter is optional, why not go the extra mile and write a strong one? If your resume and experience are comparable to another candidate’s, your cover letter could give you the edge. After all, a resume can’t by nature express much personality, but a cover letter can. So, make a strong impression with a well-crafted letter, whether it’s required or not.
Nursing Cover Letter Template
Download our cover letter template (DOCX, 14KB)
Name and Credentials
Town, State | Phone | Email
Personalized LinkedIn profile URL (optional)
Dept and/or contact person Facility or organization Street Town, State, Zip
Paragraph 1: Begin by stating the position for which you are applying. Say something about the organization to demonstrate that you’ve done your homework and understand what they’re all about, and that this letter is not at all “cookie-cutter” in nature.
Paragraph 2: Share select highlights of your career, expertise, experience, skills, or personal characteristics that are directly applicable to this position and/or this employer. You can emphasize something from your resume that you want them to make note of, as long as you don’t use exactly the same language as your resume, which is redundant.
Paragraph 3: This is a good place to highlight some of your “soft skills” (e.g., communication, emotional intelligence, relational intelligence, patient education, compassion, empathy, etc).
Paragraph 4: Here you can call attention to your computer skills, EMR experience, etc., as well as any other tech skills worth mentioning.
Closing paragraph: Tie the letter together, reiterate your interest, and express your enthusiastic desire to have the opportunity to meet to discuss your experience and the position further.
Sincerely, Your name and credentials
Sample Nursing Cover Letter
Miguel Schwartzkoffnian, BSN, RN
Annabelle, HA | 000-000-1000 | [email protected]
April 3, 2023
Department of Nursing Recruitment University of Tabula Rasa Medical Center 301 Rasa Drive Glen Tabularea, MOO 22222
Dear Nursing Recruitment Department:
As a caring and dedicated summa cum laude graduate of Adelphi University’s BSN program, please accept my enthusiastic interest in the Registered Nurse - Respiratory/Intermediate Care position posted on your website. I am both personally and professionally aligned with the values that are a very clear aspect of your organization’s mission. From your “Power of Caring” funding of your expanded Outpatient Care Center to your “Next Generation” initiative, I can clearly see the forward-thinking philosophy underlying UTRMC and its reputation as an innovative facility and community member.
During my education, I thrived in clinical practice where I received positive preceptor feedback following each rotation. I am highly coachable, and as you can see from my resume, I bring more than six years’ related healthcare experience as both an EMT and CNA. I am already well-versed in code blue response, Foley catheter insertion and care, venipuncture, ECG interpretation, and non-complex wound care. Comfortable in new settings, I am not afraid to ask questions to enhance my learning and improve the quality of care I deliver to patients and their families. I thrive in multidisciplinary environments, and I use my highly-developed communication skills and emotional and relational intelligence to foster a sense of camaraderie and collaboration among my colleagues, and nurse-patient relationships built on trust.
As a digital native and quick learner, I am highly competent using the Epic and Cerner EMRs and Microsoft Office Suite, and I have full confidence in my natural curiosity and powers of critical thinking in relation to learning new technologies and digital interfaces.
I have a great deal to contribute as a member of the UTRMC community of clinicians. I look forward to discussing the intersection of my skills and experience with the needs of your inspiring organization that embraces its role beyond the actual facility and into the surrounding community it serves.
Sincerely, Miguel Schwartzkoffnian, BSN, RN
Page last reviewed on February 24, 2023
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Nurse Cover Letter Samples & Examples That Worked in 2023
How to craft compeling nurse cover letter
The medical industry is dependent on skilled nurses to handle everything from providing patients with counseling and advice to conducting physical exams, administering medications, and more. To earn a position as a nurse , you need a cover letter that perfectly showcases your professional passion and qualifications.
In this guide, we will teach you the 5 essential steps for writing a cover letter as a nurse. Keep reading to learn all about how to:
- Properly format your nurse cover letter header & headline
- Personalize the content & greeting of your nurse cover letter
- Craft a compelling nurse cover letter introduction
- Showcase your most relevant skills & accomplishments as a nurse
- Conclude your nurse cover letter with an effective closing statement
1. Properly format your nurse cover letter header & headline
The first key step to writing an excellent cover letter as a nurse is to create a well-formatted header and headline.
A cover letter header contains all the necessary identifying information about you and the medical facility you are applying to, while the cover letter headline is an optional yet highly useful title statement used for hooking an employer’s attention.
Your cover letter header should include:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name and department of the medical facility you are applying to
- The medical facility’s address and location
Here is an example of a well-formatted header on a nurse’s cover letter
Mary Smith , Registered Nurse
(123) 456-7890 | [email protected] | linkedin.com/in/mary-smith
To: Glenvale Urgent Care Nursing Department 1234 Street Address New Haven, CT, 06501
After your header comes your headline, which should always include a keyword related to the position, an eye-catching number or trigger word , a powerful adjective or verb, and a promise statement that informs the employer this letter is tailored for the position.
Here is an example of a compelling nurse’s headline, followed by a brief breakdown of its core components
My 5 Best Skills as a Nurse & How I Will Apply Them to Provide Empathetic Care to Your Patients
Trigger Word/Number: 5 Skills Keyword: Nurse Adjective/Verb: Best, Apply, Empathetic Promise: Your Patients
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2. Personalize the content & greeting of your nurse cover letter
In your headline, you included a promise statement that indicates to an employer that your cover letter is tailored for the exact position you are applying to.
This makes it incredibly important to follow through with this promise and thoroughly research the medical facility before applying to complete this tailoring process. To personalize your cover letter in this way, you will need to look up information such as:
- The medical facility’s current goals, projects, or initiatives – use this information to explain how you can apply your skills for the company’s current needs.
- The language and keywords the medical facility uses in marketing materials – use this information to alter your cover letter to reflect the company’s own writing style.
- The person at the medical facility who will review your cover letter – use this information to create a personalized greeting that addresses a specific person by name.
Here are 3 examples of personalized cover letter greetings
Dear Head Nurse Jack Jones,
- Dear Mr. Jack Jones,
- Dear R.N. Jack Jones & the Nursing Team,
Find out your resume score!
3. Craft a compelling nurse cover letter introduction
Your introduction is the first full paragraph of your nursing cover letter and serves a key purpose – to convince an employer to continue reading.
To make your nurse’s introduction compelling, make sure to include:
- A concise overview of your professional experience and any specializations you possess
- A statement on why you have chosen to apply to this facility
- A mutual acquaintance (when possible) – mutual acquaintances help to immediately establish rapport and credibility with an employer
Pro Tip: If you do not have a mutual acquaintance, consider using the professional platform LinkedIn to grow your professional network. Connect on the platform with other nurses and medical professionals, as well as current employees at the facilities or institutions you are most interested in.
Here is an example of a well-written nurse cover letter introduction
I am a registered nurse with more than 3 years of experience working in nursing homes and palliative care centers. As a dedicated medical professional, this opening at your facility excites me because my professional beliefs and practices are well-aligned with your facility’s mission and goals. My former employer, Mr. George Green, is a former colleague of yours who alerted me to this opening and strongly recommended I apply for this position.
4. Showcase your most relevant skills & accomplishments as a nurse
Following your introduction are the body paragraphs of your cover letter where you will provide greater insights into your skills and accomplishments as a nurse.
As you describe your various, relevant skills and accomplishments, make sure to include details that are:
- Specific: Rather than simply stating a skill or accomplishment, use exact keywords to give these details greater specificity.
- Contextual: Always include contextual information, such as explaining your role or responsibilities at a previous job.
- Quantifiable: Whenever possible, include quantifiable and verifiable facts or statistics when describing your skills and accomplishments.
Here are 6 examples of nursing skills that are excellent to describe in a cover letter
- Patient consultations and preparation
- Administering medications and vaccines
- Performing standard laboratory tests
- Providing patients with treatment instructions and education
- Knowledge and certification in first aid care
- Maintaining patient records (physical & electronic)
Here is an example of how to describe an accomplishment in a nursing cover letter
As a registered nurse at [Former Employer], I worked directly with patients, providing education and instructional resources to guide them through treatment plans. As a result of my empathetic and personalized care, I received more than 100 positive online reviews and helped to raise the practice’s customer satisfaction rating by 75%.
5. Conclude your nurse cover letter with an effective closing statement
Finish off your nurse’s cover letter strong with an effective closing statement that encourages an employer to get in contact with you. This closing statement should include:
- How and when you can be contacted
- When you would like to hear from the employer
- When you plan to follow up on your application
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of an effective conclusion from a nurse’s cover letter
I am eager to learn more about your facility and staff, and hope to hear from you within the next week. If I have not heard back by next Monday, I plan to follow up regarding the status of my application. I am available to talk or meet any weekday between the hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the best way to reach me is at (123) 456-7890, or at [email protected] after hours.
If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two .
Martin is a resume expert and career advice writer at Kickresume. In his five years at Kickresume, he has written hundreds of in-depth, painstakingly researched resume advice articles and, as chief editor, he has also edited and revised every single article on this website. Tens of thousands of job seekers read Martin’s resume advice every month. He holds a degree in English from the University of St Andrews and a degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Amsterdam .
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