4 Skills You Must Mention in Cover Letters

A well-written cover letter, accompanying your resume, is the first step towards that an interview with a potential employer. Your cover letter needs to get noticed. You need to stand out from the other candidates. Hiring managers say, again and again, it’s the cover letter that determines if a candidate gets invited to the party.

Your cover letter is not a mere summary of your resume. Big no-no. Instead, the cover letter is your chance (in a single page, two at most) to elaborate on your specific skills and experience as it relates to the potential employer and job. Remember this point: As it relates to the employer and job.

The changing healthcare environment calls for new skills

In today’s healthcare environment, medical centers, physician offices and supporting networks face challenges, due to societal changes and how the Affordable Care Act mandates delivery of quality care and electronic medical records. Show you’re smart and on top of the issues healthcare providers face, by making these key points in your cover letter:

1. Your cultural competency. In today’s diverse society, you’ve undoubtedly treated patients with ethnic, social, religious and language differences from your own. If the potential employer treats large numbers of minority patients, let them know you’ve provided culturally competent care to diverse patients in your former jobs. And definitely mention if you are bilingual, or currently taking classes to improve your linguistic skills and patient relationships. Haven’t started taking Spanish classes yet? Maybe now’s the time.

2. Your computer skills. The Affordable Care Act mandates electronic medical records, and if you have any specific IT skills an employer will be attracted to that. Nurses especially are being recognized as the key leaders in developing the infrastructure of effective health information technology. If you’ve recently advanced your knowledge of electronic health records through continuing education — or even at a class taught through your current employer — this is worth mentioning. Also point out how that training improved your job performance.

3. Your certifications that relate to today’s biggest health issues. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes are three of the most serious health challenges in America. If you’ve gained advanced training in treating any of these conditions, your potential employer will recognize the value of those skills. Give an example of how you provided quality care to a patient with diabetes or heart disease, and what the outcome was.

4. Your knowledge of the employer. Make it clear you’ve researched the company, and identify how your skills can help them maintain or exceed their patient satisfaction scores. Is the hospital recognized as a community leader in diabetes prevention? Suggest how you might further their mission in your hometown. You don’t need to go on-and-on about the company — just a sentence or two will show you’ve done your homework and how you can be a prized piece in their big puzzle.

It’s OK to drop a name or two — someone who already works for the employer and recommended you apply for the job. Just make sure that person’s reputation is impeccable.

What’s your letter say?

It’s possible not every cover letter will include all of these key points…that’s because each letter is customized for the specific position. But by providing contemporary examples of your experience that fit into the new healthcare realities, you’ll look like a sharp go-to person who brings the necessary skills to perform the job, and one who can easily adapt to change.

© HealthCallings.com, Dice Holdings Inc., 2011

Related stories:
Your Next Job Hurdle: Pre-Employment Screening and Assessment
7 Questions to Ask Yourself Before an Interview
Watch Out for These Red Flags in Your Interview


  1. BY Dennis Palmer says:

    What if you are not fluent or cert. in 1 or more of these characteristics but have worked with them & can readily pick them up or reuse them again.—–

  2. BY john says:

    nice idea to research company you are applying to,however there is one big problem with that. so many jobs i apply for in medical field never list the company name,or even office phone number. about all the ones i respond to will only list their fax number or email address where you send your resume. i always see this advice lately in all the employment artcles,but as i stated,you cannot research what you cannot find.—–

  3. BY Shalia says:

    i do not know how or the formatting of a cover letter and a lot of the job posting i see want one. is there a website or anyone who has a cover letter layout and what is really needed to catch the attention of hiring employers in the medical field—–

  4. BY Leisa Stalnaker says:

    Pongo.com is a resume/cover letter website. They have templates to choose from. You can store your resumes and fax out of the website also. There is a monthly fee of around $10-12, which you can cancel at any time.—–

  5. BY Mary says:

    I have taught nursing for 10 years and have 20 years of LD/Nsy experience. I would like to go into research nursing. It seems the open positions require at least two years of research monitoring. How does one gain experience in research monitoring?

  6. BY Thelma I. Arzu says:

    I have been a fluent bilingual (Spanish/English) RN/BSN for 18 years, obtained my MSN along with Adult Nurse Practitioner (ANP) License with Prescriptive Right from NYC in 2009. Recently I became a certified ANP from AANPCP. I relocated from NYC to Texas 3 years when I completed my MSN degree and never practice as a ANP. Due to the state of Texas requiring NP certification prior obtaining APRN license coupled with multiple life altering personal issues, my NP career did not get off to a start when I moved to Texas. Recently I became certified and when inquiring with the Texas BON about eligibility for my APRN license, I was told that I am not eligible to apply for a APRN license until I complete an extensive refreshers/ orientation to the full scope of ANP that must include at least 400 clinical hours because I have been out of school and have not practice as an ANP for longer than 24 months. I have to find a company/organization who is willing to provide me with an NP internship/preceptor to provide that extensive refresher/orientation.

    My questions: 1.Are company/organizations willing to consider me for clinical (like they do regular student who are registered in a college) and if yes what department within a company would I contact first. I'm not necessarily looking for a paid job(although I wouldn't mind getting paid) to target the human resource dept. 2.Is there a website I can go to get internship? Any guidance/advice/word of wisdom would greatly be appreciated. I do know that in order to maintain NP certification, one way to an NP can do that is by being a preceptor to another NP……but once again I have no clue where to begin my search.

    Thank You