First impressions count. When you’re applying for a new GP job, nursing job or other type of healthcare job, the cover letter (or email) accompanying your application is important. You want it to cut through the clutter of emails and other applicants.

You might have a killer CV and brilliant responses to the selection criteria, but if a recruiter is sifting through hundreds of applications, your application might not even get a look-in if your cover letter lets you down. You need a cover letter for a healthcare job that gets you through the door!

In fact, research has found that many employers prefer job applications that contain a cover letter.   Simply looking at your CV and answers to selection criteria don’t allow the recruiter to get to know who you are, what makes you unique and what you are passionate about as a healthcare professional.

These are the do’s and don’ts to ensure your cover letter stands out from the crowd:

1. Proof-read your work

Make sure the spelling and grammar on your cover letter is impeccable.  Typos happen, but if you don’t pick them up you look careless. Psychologically, it puts a subconscious mark on your ability to pick up on details.

2. Make it easy to contact you

Include all your contact information – set it out as proper business correspondence with your address and phone number easy for a recruiter or practice manager to find.

3. Don’t send a cookie-cutter letter

Tailor the cover letter to the healthcare job you are applying.  Recruiters can often pick up that you have used a form letter you send with every application. Use the letter to introduce yourself and why you would be a good fit for the role you are applying for.

Highlight where your skills and experiences match the employer’s selection criteria. Most healthcare and medical jobs have certain basic criteria that need to be met before the employer goes on to looking at the quality of experience and personality matches.

These are things like

  • Seniority – what level you are currently working in
  • Speciality
  • Country – where you live
  • Highest level of education
  • Experience in years
  • Residency / Visa status
  • Current AHPRA licence and other professional registrations

These are the key criteria that an employer in the healthcare profession would need to consider for all potential candidates and your cover letter or email should refer to these, where you match them.

If you’re a jobseeker on HealthcareLink, this information is automatically sent to the employer, when you apply for a job via the platform. Update your preferences now to ensure you are lining up the best jobs opportunities for you.

4. Get the tone right

You don’t want to be too formal or too casual with your language. Successful cover letters come across as friendly, enthusiastic and businesslike at the same time.

5. Don’t include irrelevant information

Stick to describing yourself and your professional accomplishments and why you would be a great fit for the role. Avoid including unnecessary personal information.

6. Make it personal

Wherever possible, avoid addressing the letter to “Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam” – it can seem quite cold and sterile and be off-putting for many people.  If you have a contact name for the position, address it to this person – it is much more warm and friendly.

7. Not the time for salary negotiations

The cover letter is not the place to mention your current salary or to state your salary expectations if you are successful in landing the role you’re applying for – unless you are asked to do so in the job advertisement. While we all need money to survive, mentioning salary in the cover letter can look like you are primarily motivated by money.

Most employers are like Dr Madas at the Lane Street Medical Centre, who looks for doctors who can join his team, be honest and flexible, and a reasonable person who can take on feedback. You want to reflect the best version of yourself in that first email or cover letter and stating earnings expectations is definitely not going to open the door to a conversation!

8. Avoid being negative about your current or previous employers

You might have had enough of your current workplace and that’s why you’re looking for a new role.  Appearing negative in your cover letter about your motivations to leave your workplace can leave the wrong impression with a recruiter.  Look for the positives in why you are wanting to make a change and speak to that – for example, you are looking for a new opportunity to build on your current experience. Or perhaps you’re looking for an opportunity to help build the practice and learn about practice management. Leadership and management are greatly sought drivers after by many employers who are putting in a succession plan.

9. Don’t brag or sound boastful

As an accomplished healthcare professional or medical practitioner, you will have a lot of successes you want ensure the recruiter knows about. But it’s important to get the balance right when talking about your achievements – you don’t want to sound conceited and arrogant.

10. Express an interest in the organisation

Show the recruiter that you’ve taken the time to research their organisation or individual practice and understand the work they do or the role they see themselves playing in the community. By showing you understand the job requirements and the employer’s needs, you can then demonstrate what value you would bring as a candidate to the GP job, nursing job or other type of healthcare job advertised.

Sign-up today to receive the most ideal jobs for your profile here.