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The Secret Formula to Cover Letter Success

The Secret Formula to Cover Letter Success

Nina Kim | AllHealthcare

March 24, 2010

Paragraph 2: Delve into your past accomplishments and education that relate directly to the job requirements

Okay, now you can start talking about yourself! The second paragraph in your cover letter should delve into your accomplishments that relate directly to the job requirements. Here, you want to be as specific as possible. Your accomplishments should not be a vague summary. They should be measurable results you delivered.

Think facts, figures, context, timelines, major projects, leadership roles — anything specific that will show exactly how hard you’ve worked doing what you’re doing. You were the nurse manager? For how many nurses? For how many years? What specific skills did this teach you? You analyzed a patient database and delegated tasks to the rad techs you manage? How big was the database? How many rad techs? What problems did you solve?

But remember, you must tie this all in with the job requirements. If they asked for two years experience as a pharmacy tech, tell them you have five. Use specific keywords in the job requirements so the hiring managers can easily see you match the profile of someone they’re looking to fill the job. These days, employers often use scanning software to specifically look for keywords, so the more words you leave out, the less likely your resume or cover letter will be looked at by a real person.

This should be the “beefiest” part of your cover letter, so if you need to, take two paragraphs to explain what you’ve been doing. Avoid huge chunks of text at all cost.

In the example below, the writer specifically mentions her position and hospital she worked at then goes on to show how she was able to multi-task effectively. She doesn’t just say she’s good at multi-tasking — she gives examples of tasks she was assigned. When she speaks of the patient to nurse ratio, she gives exact numbers and even mentions a particular award she won. The last sentence about pursuing the CCRN certification is key and shows the hiring manager she is committed to her career development.

Working as an ICU staff nurse for Pleasantville Community Hospital, I learned the importance of on-my-feet thinking and effective assessing while multitasking, even in high-stress situations. When I wasn’t rapidly assessing patients head-to-toe, I was administering IV and oral medications, all while discussing patients’ current statuses with physicians, physical therapists, and social workers. Despite the general nurse-to-patient ratio being 2:1, I often took the responsibility of 3:1. Given my success in this ability, the hospital awarded me the PCH Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice in 2008. I can’t wait to further hone my critical care nursing skills this spring, when I enroll in a CCRN certification class.

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