Finding a nursing job in today’s competitive market can be quite a challenge, especially if you’re just starting in this field. If you want to stand out from the competition, a strong resume is not enough. You will also need a well-crafted registered nurse cover letter that allows you to introduce yourself and your skills to recruiters, and tell them why you’d be perfect for the job.
In this article, we will guide you through the process of writing a strong resume and cover letter. You will learn how to complete both step-by-step, as well as common errors to avoid. We’ve also included samples of a resume and cover letter to help you prepare a strong application and land your dream role.
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Registered Nurse Cover Letter Guide
Your resume already includes your educational background and work experience, so you don’t need to rehash everything in your cover letter. Instead, research the unique needs and characteristics of the hospital you are applying to and adapt your cover letter accordingly. The job description is a good place to find out what they value in a potential employee.
Why Does Your Registered Nurse Cover Letter Matter?
Having an impeccable resume to demonstrate your extensive nursing experience and education is important. However, you’ll be competing for a role with hundreds of other applicants. A well-written nursing cover letter is the most effective way to stand out from the competition and land yourself an interview.
A nursing cover letter is a place to highlight any special skills, personality traits, clinical experiences, and certifications that make you a strong candidate for that position. For example, do you have a testimonial about your impeccable patient interaction and empathy? This is where you mention it, along with why you’re passionate about being a nurse.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says that registered nurses make around $75,330 per year, so make sure you put your best effort into your cover letters. Don’t forget to mention some of your soft skills relevant to that position, including excellent communication skills, problem-solving skills, and teamwork.
Essential Components of Your Registered Nurse Cover Letter
As its name suggests, a cover letter should be written in a traditional letter format. It should be clear, concise, and well-formatted. We’ve listed some of the elements you must include in this particular cover letter below.
- Personal Information. Begin with your name, address, and contact information. Write this information in block style, on the top left margin of your paper.
- Date. Include the date you plan to send the cover letter, not the day you are writing it. Place it just one line below your contact information.
- Recipient’s Name and Contact Information. One line after the date, write the recipient’s name, address, and contact information. Never write “To Whom It May Concern.” Instead, find the name of the person who might be responsible for hiring you and address them. A quick Google search will usually provide this information.
- Greeting. Your cover letter must include a professional greeting. Again, address a specific person, but start with “Dear Mr/ Mrs.” If you could not find the name, “Dear Nursing Recruitment,” “To the Hiring Manager” or “To the Human Resources Department” will do.
- Introductory Paragraph. In the opening paragraph, you should include the nursing position you are applying for, followed by your expression of why you want that particular job. You can also mention how you came to find out about the registered nurse position.
- Middle Paragraph. The middle paragraph is where you include the meat of your skills and qualifications. Include any unique skills, achievements, and things that will make you stand out. You can also mention the impact you made in your previous roles.
- Third Paragraph. If necessary, write one more paragraph to expand upon your soft skills, achievements, and qualifications.
- Closing Paragraph. Include an ending paragraph where you mention your availability for the job, reiterate your enthusiasm to be part of their team, and include a call to action. For example, you can say you are looking forward to hearing back and meeting with them for an in-person interview.
- Professional Sign-off. Finally, conclude your cover letter with a sincere professional sign-off. Include something like “Sincerely,” followed by your full name and signature.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Registered Nurse Cover Letter
So, you have mastered the format, and you know exactly what you should include in your registered nurse cover letter. Below we’ve listed five expert tips to ensure your cover letter stands out and leaves a lasting impression.
- Include keywords from the job ad. The words used in a job ad are there for a reason. Someone put them there because they represent what the company is looking for. It is crucial to include some of them in your cover letter, especially since cover letters are scanned by applicant tracking systems nowadays.
- Match your cover letter to the job description. There are different nursing positions in every institution, and their job descriptions differ. Tailor your cover letter to match the exact description of the job you are applying for.
- Highlight crucial skills. As a nurse in that position, what specific clinical skills would be required? For example, you can include hard skills like emergency response, nursing diagnosis, pre-operative assessment, and OR support. For soft skills, include teamwork, time management, being detail-oriented, and having strong interpersonal skills.
- Be personable. The hiring manager is looking for a person who will touch their hearts and leave a lasting impression. You can make this possible with a compelling story about your previous job or anything that will demonstrate your personality and make you memorable.
- Proofread your cover letter. Finally, spend some time reading through your cover letter to correct any typing, grammar, or font errors. The end version should be 100 percent mistake-free.
Registered Nurse Cover Letter Example
The nurse cover letter outline below is a great example of a job-winning letter that will get a potential employer’s attention and leave them wanting to meet you. It has followed the above format to the letter and employed all the tips to make a cover letter stand out. Remember, this registered nurse cover letter must be accompanied by a resume.
Registered Nurse Cover Letter Sample
[Your phone number]
[Your LinkedIn profile *optional]
Dec. 18, 2021
[Hiring manager’s name]
Dear Mr/Ms [hiring manager’s last name],
As a freshly graduated nurse, your advertisement for a Registered Nurse at Mercy Hospital sparked my interest. I was excited to see that my strengths and qualifications align with your needs.
Even though it’s the beginning of my nursing career, I’ve already had the perfect opportunity to provide bedside care to elderly and pediatric patients during my two internships. I am aware that you require the highest quality care for all your patients and as it happens, I received a score of 94 percent in my internship evaluation.
Besides developing my nursing skills, my previous experience gave me a chance to:
- Practice quality patient care in a 25-bed unit.
- Cooperate with other medical units and nursing managers, thereby increasing my awareness of various departmental challenges.
- Perform emergency medical procedures like basic cardiac life support and stabilizing interventions.
In addition, I possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills, which help me to interact beautifully with patients, families, and colleagues. I have experienced numerous situations that have positively influenced my work ethic, attitude, and confidence as a nurse.
I couldn’t be more elated to apply for this role, and I believe my range of nursing skills will greatly benefit a respected healthcare facility like Mercy Hospital. I look forward to discussing this opportunity and my qualifications in more detail.
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Registered Nurse Resume Guide
When you become a registered nurse, you can’t really put all of your excellent healthcare skills and experience into words. But you still need a good resume to get a job. Are there specific strategies a registered nurse should follow when writing their resume? How detailed should you be when describing your educational background and medical skillset?
To answer this and much more, let’s look at what a registered nurse’s resume looks like.
Why Does Your Registered Nurse Resume Matter?
A well-crafted registered nurse resume highlights your nursing skills, abilities, and professional qualifications. It’s a summary of the health care services you can offer and a chance to impress the employer. Since recruiters are busy people who go through hundreds of applications, a resume helps them decide if you are an ideal candidate within 10 to 30 seconds.
Essential Components of Your Registered Nurse Resume
There are three resume formats you can use. They are reverse chronological, functional, and combination. A nurse should pick the format that best suits their particular skills and position. Regardless of which format you pick, the five components listed below should always be included. The American Nurses Association also has a helpful, free resume-writing course you can try.
- Education and Training. The American Nurses Credentialing Center says the preferred sectional order of this resume section is education, licensure, state designations, honors/awards, and additional certifications. You should start with the highest nursing degree, working backward.
- Experience. List your professional nursing experience starting from your most current going backward. You should also list medical facility and unit specifications, including the number of beds, trauma levels, and patient demographic. Being specific gives the panelists a clearer picture of where you have worked.
- Skills. You can discern which skills the employer is looking for by simply going through the job description. Tailor this section according to those needs and include the keywords used. For example, if they have used words like basic care, urgent care nurse, care of patients, administrative, be sure to include them too.
- Licensure and Certifications. For those who have experience, include any advanced specializations with certifications or post-degree training. When listing them, state the license type, licensing state and body, license name and number, and expiration date. For certificates, list the name, conferring organization, expiration, and certificate number.
- Awards and Accomplishments. Finally, list all relevant achievements that show your commitment to nursing and excellence. These awards can include either academic or professional recognition.
5 Tips for Writing a Strong Registered Nurse Resume
No matter what stage of career you are in, an updated resume is a must. When accompanied by a good cover letter, a resume is the first chance you have to impress potential employers and hopefully land an interview. With these five tips, you can make a nurse resume that stands out from hundreds and lands you that job.
- Be Specific. Registered nurses must tailor their resumes to the job posting and description. If the job requires specific skills or certifications, highlight those in your resume. It should be clear to the employers that you have everything they are looking for.
- Keep it short. Employers are busy people who have no time to read pages and pages of your life history. Therefore, only include what is relevant to your nursing career and leave your high school and college accolades for another day. One page of well-organized and relevant information is sufficient.
- Focus on achievements. In the employment section of the resume, include your achievements in various positions. The employer wants to know what you excel in and how you can transform their company. For example, did you improve patient care by 70 percent? Feel free to brag about it here.
- Optimize for keywords. Most companies and institutions today use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sift through resumes. These bots look at relevant keywords included in the job description and only pick the resumes that have them. You may have the best registered nurse CV in the world, but it must be keyword optimized.
- Proofread. Once you are done writing your nursing resume, take some time to read and review every aspect of what you’ve written. Ensure there are no mistakes, such as grammatical errors, incorrect punctuations, or spelling errors. Better yet, give your resume to a professional to review before submitting it.
Registered Nurse Resume Examples
To help you craft a strong registered nurse resume, we’ve included a sample section and a template below. These will give you an idea of what a good resume looks like. Remember to keep your resume brief and well organized, and to highlight your strengths so recruiters can find them at a glance.
Registered Nurse Resume Sample: (The Work Experience Section)
A passionate professional nurse with strong clinical experience in delivering exceptional care to patients. More than eight years of experience in emergency room care, post-surgical recovery, and triage. Caring, reliable, personable, and committed to making patients more comfortable throughout their care.
San Jose Hospital, Los Angeles
- Successfully supervised a team of 12 nurses in both busy and quiet times.
- Introduced new training procedures, increasing efficiency of the nursing staff by 20 percent.
- Successfully monitored patients’ progress during their stay and coordinated their discharge arrangements with 100 percent accuracy.
- Received a 94 percent patient satisfaction rate.
- Commended by supervisors for calmly handling dire situations in triage.
Sample Registered Nurse Resume Template
[YOUR NAME AND CREDENTIALS]
[City, State] [firstname.lastname@example.org]
A simple summary of who you are, your values, and your qualifications.
- [Describe skill]
- [Describe skill]
- [Describe accomplishments]
- [Describe accomplishments]
- [Describe accomplishments]
- [Describe accomplishments]
AWARDS AND AFFILIATIONS
AWARD, Organization, Date
Registered Nurse Resume Template Resources
- My Perfect Resume. The resume examples outlined here are simple, well organized, and articulate the work section perfectly.
- Zety. This resource outlines the right and the wrong way of writing a resume, with excellent examples.
- Nurse.org. The resource gives different formats of writing a resume in template form.
Importance of a Registered Nurse Cover Letter and Resume
As a nurse, your cover letter and resume are merely selling tools that serve only one purpose, which is to get you an interview. A strong resume and cover letter combo will introduce you to the employer, outline your skills and experience, and allow them to make a quick decision on whether you are a good fit for their company.
When done well, a cover letter and resume leave the employer wanting to meet you and discuss more about what you can offer them.
Registered Nurse Cover Letter and Resume FAQ
Yes. A majority of employers prefer a cover letter to go with the resume. This gives them a glance at your personality and why you want to join the company. As for you, a perfect cover letter is your chance to shine and stand out from the pack.
For a successful cover letter, keep it between 250 and 400 words. Unless the employer says otherwise, a standard cover letter and resume should be brief and to the point. The resume can take up to one or one and a half pages but not more than that. The best way to stay within this limit is to remove irrelevant things and only put what will represent you in the best light.
You can include them in your resume’s skills section, as this is what most people do. Alternatively, create a section at the end of the CV purposely for this information. However, you can also combine the two by having a section called “Affiliations and Certifications.”
Mention them in your summary and again in your skills section. Because soft skills such as teamwork, critical thinking skills, and reliability are so important for a nurse, you need to incorporate them throughout your cover letter and resume. Most importantly, tie each of those soft skills to an accomplishment or a duty for evidence purposes.
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