Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Five Things to Consider Before and After Writing a Cover Letter

BEFORE:
1. Specificity
Research the practice to which you are applying. Address the doctors, staff, or hiring authority by name. If possible, at some point in your letter you could even mention what you know about this particular practice’s environment that appeals to you professionally as a potential employee.

2. Confidence
Who are you and why are you writing a cover letter to this practice? State what you are looking for and what you can immediately bring to the table.

3. Sell your experience
Briefly touch on experiences with specialty clinics, conferences, lectures, research, externships, residencies, school organizations, professional organizations, certifications, teaching, or continued education. You may even want to mention your undergraduate degree or a previous work experience, if they are relevant to the position for which you are applying.

4. What’s in it for you?
Not only do you want to show the practice what’s in it for them, but you also want to illustrate how this practice will benefit you as a professional in your field. What do these goals say about your work ethic and personality?

5. Sell your virtues
Throughout your letter, you want to clearly explain why it would benefit the practice to hire you. Express your passion for your field by highlighting traits and skills you posses that make you an invaluable asset to the organization. For example, what skills do you have with communication, business, or management?

AFTER:
1. Consistency
In just a few short paragraphs, you are trying to convince a company that you are the best choice for a potential hire. Disperse your virtues throughout the letter as they are relevant to your experiences and future goals. Consistency in purpose will balance your letter and make it easier, more enjoyable to read, and more impressive.

2. Concise wording
Brevity is the key, as it will allow you to more easily insinuate self-confidence and purpose within your letter. Avoid clich├ęs and redundancy in your wording, and try to use fresh verbs and adjectives.

3. Contact information
In your closing paragraph, include a sentiment regarding your availability and the different methods of contact, which should include a phone number and email address. Detailing your specific times and methods of availability denotes professionalism and a sincere interest in speaking further with your potential employer.

4. Clean, simple formatting
Break up your paragraphs so that each one addresses one or two points and contains no more than five sentences. Look up proper formatting for formal letters so that you know where to put dates, names, addresses, or contact information.
5. Correct grammar and spelling
The editing process may be daunting, but proof-reading is essential for an impressive cover letter. When you’ve spent so much time writing, it can be invaluable to get a fresh perspective from a friend, peer, or family member; new eyes may be able to spot a mistake that you’ve overlooked and small technical errors could break your chances for an otherwise well-deserved interview.