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How to Write Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is a narrative about you and why the employer, or hospital should employ you. The role of the cover letter is different to a resume or CV, as the cover letter is a narrative that allows you to showcase why you are perfect for the role.
The role of the cover letter is not as common in hospitals for junior doctor recruitment, but some hospitals may request one and some organisations may specifically ask that you do not submit a cover letter or email. Nonetheless, perfecting a medical cover letter is an important skill to gain for the remainder of your career. If you are sending an email to the recruiting team to apply for the position, you can format the email as you would a cover letter, but make sure it is succinct.
If a cover letter is optional as part of your application, submit one as it will allow you to stand out to the employer.
Most cover letter writing experts differ slightly in what they feel is the best structure, but they all agree that the purpose of the cover letter is to outline your particular strengths and highlight why you are the perfect candidate for the role.
Below are some tips on how to write a medical a cover letter;
- Make your cover letter specific for the position you are applying for, don’t submit a generic cover letter.
- Highlight your most relevant or exceptional qualifications and skills to help employers see why you are perfect for the position.
- Before writing your cover letter, spend some time reflecting on exactly why you are applying for the job and what skills, experience and knowledge you bring to the job. Think of some examples of how and why you are good at particular things and how you stand out from others. This content will form a large part of your cover letter.
- Once you have examples, try to provide an accurate description of the skill. For instance, if you know of that the nurses on the wards enjoy your company and trust you, ask yourself why that is? Are you a good communicator? Are you reliable? Are you efficient? Are you friendly?
- Keep your cover letter to one page. Cover letters should be succinct, tidy and can use bullet point formatting.
- Make sure you refer to the requirements of the role as outlined in the position description. If there is no position description provided, you can outline the presumed responsibilities expected.
- Always remember to provide your contact information (e.g. phone number and email address), and if possible add a link to your LinkedIn profile which brings more professionalism.
- Do not add or share other social media links such as Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok or Facebook.
- Always proofread your cover letter before submitting!
Medical cover letter template
Your phone number and email address
Date (Date letter was written)
Full Name of Contact Person (Bold. Tip: Address to the name on the job application/ position description)
Contact Person’s Job Title
Hospital’s Street address City, State
Contact persons email and phone number
Dear (Contact Person - ensure full title of name and correct spelling. If contact person is unknown you can choose to write Dear Sir/Madam/Doctor/Professor etc),
RE: Program/Position Name and Reference Number
Opening Paragraph: What and Why?
- State the position/program you are applying for and how you heard about it.
- Summarise why you are interested in this position/program/hospital, particularly mention if you have previously worked at the hospital or have any other experience there (E.g. Voluntary, research, university years).
- Show that you’ve researched the hospital by incorporating information such as their mission statement, values, particular specialties, and how this aligns with your interests and values. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that you have shared values and what you can provide them as an organisation.
Second Paragraph: Your Qualifications and Knowledge
- The second part is your narrative in which you can showcase that your past experiences have made you capable enough to be the best-suited candidate available for that specific position.
- Highlight your qualifications and previous employment, including rotations relevant to the role.
- E.g. If applying for an Emergency Medicine SHO position you could write “I am a PGY2 doctor with general registration who has completed all mandatory internship rotations plus 2 emergency medicine rotations and 10 weeks in a rural hospital with a focus on rural emergency medicine".
- Highlight the knowledge you have gained through previous experience, roles and jobs and how it would be beneficial in this role and meet the needs of this employer.
- Note – This can include voluntary roles, committees etc if you haven't directly experienced work in this field. It could also include any non-medical roles you may have that has direct experience. (E.g. If applying for a pathology training program, you could mention working as a phlebotomist in medical school).
- You can choose to give an example of an experience that highlights your knowledge in the relevant field. (E.g. If applying BPT, you could highlight any research/ audits/ experience you may have had that sets you apart from others).
Third Paragraph/Fourth Paragraph: Your Skills and Experience
- This is where you show the employer the skills and experience you could bring to the job. In this paragraph acknowledge the skills required to be a good doctor and how you in particular meet these requirements. Provide brief examples of how and where you have developed these skills.
- (E.g. – Knowledge, clinical skills, empathy, communication skills and clinical reasoning skills are essential for a doctor progressing through their career and I have proficiently developed these skills over my internship year. These skills have been learnt through my experience as an intern, observing my senior medical colleagues plus my nursing and allied health colleagues. My end of term assessment forms reflect the acquirement of these skills as I consistently received ‘excellent’ in these domains).
- Discuss the skills, strengths and experience you could bring to the job, being sure to connect them to the tasks and required skills listed in the position description.
- E.g. Applying for PGY3 critical care year and providing examples of episodes where you may have led a team in resuscitation to demonstrate you have skills and interests in this area).
- Tip: Always read the position description expectations and refer to these in the cover letter in areas that you particularly excel in.
Closing Paragraph: Conclusion
- Summarise any particularly important or standout points that you want the employer to remember.
- Refer to any other attached documents, such as your CV/Resume or Academic Transcript. Invite them to read your CV/resume so the reader is aware this is what contains more information about you.
- If there are interviews, state that you look forward to meeting them and discussing your application further at an interview.
- Make it easy for the hospital to contact you: list your email address, as well as your phone number and times you can be reached. (Note – Be aware of what your email address name is, and also your message bank message).
- Thank them for their consideration.
Yours sincerely, Your full name
NQRTH is an initiative of the Australian Government's Integrated Rural Training Pipeline (IRTP) and is facilitated by James Cook University in partnership with public and private hospitals, Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council (QAIHC), health services, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (ACCHOs) and GP clinics.
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