How To Write a Cover Letter: New Grad Nurse Tips (2023)

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In this guide, you’ll learn what to include in your cover letter and how to write it. You’ll also have access to example cover letters and templates.

You made it through nursing school and passed the NCLEX. Now you are trying to get a job. You’ll have to brush up on your interview skills and network like crazy. Another key part of landing a job as a new nurse grad is writing a killer cover letter.

Don’t freak out in anxiety as you stare at a blank screen. In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know – what to include, how to write it, and I’ll even share some of my favorite templates.

How To Write a Cover Letter: New Grad Nurse Tips (1)
How To Write a Cover Letter: New Grad Nurse Tips (2)

What Is A Cover Letter?

Before we get into all the specifics, let’s look a little closer at cover letters.

A cover letter is your first impression to really explain why you are a good fit for this new job. A well-written one can move your resume from the bottom to the top of the pile and score you an interview.

A resume is all about you. It’s a list of all your experience and credentials.

A cover letter is all about them. It explains in a direct way why they should hire you and how you will benefit their team.

(Video) How To Write a Cover Letter For New Grad Nursing Jobs? | Example

What To Put In A Cover Letter

When you write your cover letter, you need to include your contact information and explain why you are a good fit for their team.

Here’s a checklist of everything you need to include.

  • Your name, address, and date
  • Hiring manager’s name
  • Company’s name and address
  • Proper cover letter salutation (Dear Ms. Jones)
  • Opening Statement in paragraph 1
  • Describe your skills and experience and what you can do for them (paragraph 2 and 3)
  • Showcase your achievements in the closing statement (paragraph 3 or 4)
  • Complimentary Close with Your Signature (Sincerely)

Cover Letter Tips – How To Make Yours Stand Out

Writing a stellar cover letter will grab the attention of the hiring team and snag you that coveted interview. Avoid writing a dull letter that will cause them to just overlook your resume.

These tips will help you write a cover letter that makes them want to bring you in for an interview.

Create A Tailored Letter For Each Position You Apply To

Hiring managers can sniff out copy/paste templates. You might be applying to 5 or 6 different jobs at once, but don’t let your cover letter say that.

This is tough when you are a new grad nurse and every job you apply to is pretty similar. You can reuse the same letter, but make enough changes that it feels and reads like you are writing directly to them.

Research The Company/Hospital

This leads to my next tip: do your research. In your cover letter, write about how you are a good fit for their hospital/team and explain why.

In the body of the cover letter, share things like, “Community hospital has a holistic focus on health-care which I demonstrated when I volunteered at the women’s birthing center.” Show them that you care enough to know how to fit into their culture.

Don’t Echo Your Resume

The worst thing you can do is write, “as I said in my resume” and then rehash your skills and experience. They have your resume, they don’t need to read it twice.

(Video) NURSING COVER LETTER & RESUME FOR NEW GRADS 2020

Instead, you should expand on it and share more about yourself in a personable way.

“What my experience on my resume demonstrates is my internal motivation and drive to learn new skills quickly so I can help everyone around me.”

You can reference things that are on your resume, but use the cover letter as a way to explain why it’s so important for this new job.

Use A Clean Design

I can’t explain how important this tip is. Nurse managers are busy people, reading way too many cover letters every day. Keep your cover letter’s design clear and legible.

If you use a design or handwriting font that is difficult to read, it has little chance of even being read.

Use A Powerful Opening Sentence

Your opening sentence should grab their attention and pull them into wanting to read more. Need some ideas of powerful opening statements? This guide is fantastic.

Pull them in with something like, “As someone who is passionate about technology in health care, I am drawn to Community Hospital’s forward-thinking approach and would love to be considered as the newest nurse on your team.”

Share Stories But Keep It Brief

One of the best things you can do to your cover letter is to read through it after you write and cut out any unnecessary words. Being concise will keep the hiring manager’s attention and encourage them to read the entire thing.

The best way to do this is to use one strong adjective instead of stuffing sentences with 5 wordy ones.

(Video) Landing That New Grad Nurse Job Series Episode 2/3 : Cover Letter Tips For New Grad RN Nurses

For example, “My strong work ethic motivated me to never miss a day of clinicals.” That’s powerful. However, “I have a strong work ethic and internal motivation that propelled me to always attend clinicals with a positive and hardworking attitude, never missing a single day.”

They both say the same thing, but the first sentence is easier (and quicker) to read.

Take Charge of Your Nursing Career

How To Write a Cover Letter: New Grad Nurse Tips (3)

Your first year as a nurse is daunting. You need someone in your corner telling you what your managers really need from you, helping you learn to interact with your preceptor, and really just manage your life. Find all that an more with the FreshRN VIP - Membership.

I'm Ready to Thrive

Keep It Chronological

Next, when you describe your experience and skills, share your stories in chronological order. This will avoid confusion and make your letter easier to read.

Start out with describing any skills you learned first, then build on those throughout the letter, finishing with your most recent experiences.

(Video) 5 New Nurse Resume & Cover Letter Tips that get the Interview || Tricia Ysabelle

Use Active Voice Not Passive

Your cover letter should always be in the active voice. This gives it more strength and shows them that you are taking ownership of your actions.

Active voice sentences have subject + verb in that order. Passive voice have something being acted on it.

Here are some examples to clear up the confusion.

  • I created a new system that improved efficiency. – Active voice, “I created.”
  • The system that was created by me, improved efficiency. – Passive voice. “was created.”

End The Cover Letter Strong

Focus on the summary paragraph at the end of your cover letter. Make it strong so it sells your attributes and compels them to call you for an interview.

Close with your desire to hear back from them and remind them why you are qualified. Glassdoor has 5 solid examples you can take and personalized.

Cover Letter Examples and Template

Now that you know how to write your cover letter I’ll share some of the best examples and templates.

Yale School of Nursing has a helpful example. It explains what to say in each paragraph and how to design the cover letter too.

George Washington University also has an excellent document explaining how to write a cover letter and an example cover letter. I really like this one because it has tips, examples, and even lets you read a strong cover letter example.

Resume Genius is filled with templates. You can even use their cover letter builder if you don’t have time to design/format it yourself.

(Video) HOW TO WRITE A GOOD NURSING COVER LETTER | Nursing Cover Letter to Land Your DREAM Job!!

More Nursing Job Tips

Congrats on making it through nursing school! As you keep looking for a new job, here are some more tips.

  • New Grads: Prep for Show Time!
  • Best Nursing Specialty For a New Grad
  • What are the Highest-Paid Nurses?
  • Nurse Resume Template – Fresh RN

FAQs

What should a cover letter include for a new grad RN? ›

Include information of your education: program, graduation date, and academic successes. To keep the reader/hiring manager engaged talk a little about the company you're applying to – why are you interested in this position at this facility.

What are your top 3 tips for cover letter writing? ›

Take a look at these tips for writing a cover letter that will convince hiring managers and HR professionals to call you for an interview.
  • First thing about how to write a cover letter. ...
  • Use fewer words to say more. ...
  • Tailor your cover letter to a specific job. ...
  • Be proud of your past accomplishments.
27 Sept 2021

What makes you stand out as a new grad nurse? ›

Networking is what is required. This seems difficult to do if you're not already working at a hospital, which makes working as a CNA and/or volunteering all the more important. Get involved on LinkedIn, try to meet people at work, and spend some time getting to know people and build professional relationships.

What are the 4 tips for a great cover letter? ›

4 Tips for Writing a Successful Cover Letter
  • Make It Personal. To make your cover letter seem more personable, it's a good idea to address the reader directly. ...
  • Past, Present, and Future. ...
  • Research is Key! ...
  • Keep It Brief.
1 Jul 2022

How do you write a cover letter when you don't have enough experience? ›

How to write a cover letter with no experience
  1. Carefully review the job posting and research the company's website. ...
  2. List your contact information at the top of the document. ...
  3. Greet the reader and introduce yourself. ...
  4. Explain your skills and achievements relevant to the position. ...
  5. Remind them why you're best for the position.

How do I sell myself as a new grad RN? ›

Strike up conversations with nurses and people from other healthcare disciplines, and exchange business cards. Keep in touch online and try to meet again in person, if possible. Also attend social events sponsored by your company to meet people from other departments. Connect on social media.

What are the 3 main parts of a cover letter that you should always have? ›

A cover letter should be 3 paragraphs – Introduction, Sales Pitch and Conclusion.

What are the 7 things you should include in your cover letter? ›

Key Elements of a Cover Letter
  • Information about you.
  • Date.
  • Contact Person's Name, Title, Employer, and Address.
  • Salutation.
  • Opening Paragraph.
  • Middle Paragraph.
  • Second Middle Paragraph.
  • Contact Information and Closing.

What are the five key points of a cover letter? ›

A great cover letter has five parts: the salutation, the opening, the hook, the paragraph of knowledge, and the close.

How do you write a flawless cover letter? ›

What the Experts Say
  1. Do your research first. Before you start writing, find out more about the company and the specific job you want. ...
  2. Focus it on the future. ...
  3. Open strong. ...
  4. Emphasize your personal value. ...
  5. Convey enthusiasm. ...
  6. Watch the tone. ...
  7. Keep it short. ...
  8. Get feedback.
4 Feb 2014

How do you impress a cover letter? ›

5 Easy Steps To Write Your Cover Letter And Impress A Hiring...
  1. Step 1: Use the top of the cover letter for company details. ...
  2. Step 2: Introduce yourself with a strong first paragraph. ...
  3. Step 3: Be specific about your accomplishments. ...
  4. Step 4: Show that you've done research on the company.

What are 3 things that you should definitely not do on your cover letter? ›

As a job seeker, it's better to be safe than sorry.
...
3 Tips On What NOT To Do In Your Cover Letter
  • Don't Waste The Opening Paragraph. ...
  • Don't Tell Your Story (Talk About What You Can Do For Them) ...
  • Don't Have Long Paragraphs.

What are the top 3 skills of a competent graduate RN? ›

The top ranked skills areas included efficient and effective communication, professional nursing behaviours, privacy and dignity and managing medication administration.

How do you answer tell me about yourself in a new grad RN? ›

Use a personal story or two about a time when you demonstrated the qualities that would make you a good nurse. These could be experiences where you were able to exhibit your work ethic, personality traits, passion for health care, or compassion for others.

What are some of the biggest mistakes you can have in a cover letter? ›

Common Mistakes Made When Writing a Cover Letter
  • Being overly formal. “Dear Sir/Madam…” ...
  • Being too informal. On the opposing side of the court is the peril of being too informal. ...
  • Using a stock cover letter. ...
  • Saying too much. ...
  • Forgetting to proofread. ...
  • Bragging. ...
  • Focusing too much on yourself. ...
  • Clumsy language.

What makes a strong cover letter? ›

Writing Your Cover Letter: Format and Structure

Keep cover letters short—three or four paragraphs and less than one page. Use the active voice, keeping your tone positive and professional. Avoid beginning too many sentences with “I”. Read your cover letter aloud to catch repetitious words and typos.

What is the best way to make a good first impression with a cover letter? ›

Cover Letters: 8 Tips for Writing an Effective First Impression
  1. Include the job title and keywords from the job description. ...
  2. Make it known how you became interested in the company. ...
  3. Cut the formalities and give it some personality. ...
  4. Don't include everything that's on your résumé ...
  5. If you're short on experience, focus on skills.
24 Nov 2015

How do you say you have no experience but willing to learn? ›

Using your own words, try something along the lines of: "I am interested in an entry-level position. I know I have much to learn, and I'm looking for an opportunity that will let me build a solid professional foundation.

How do you say you don't have a lot of experience? ›

If you're asked a question about prior experience regarding something you've never done, the best way to answer isn't to say “No, I've never done that.” Or, “No, I don't have experience in that area.” The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines: While I have not had any direct experience ...

How do I avoid too many I in a cover letter? ›

One possibility is to use "my" now and then: instead of "I am experienced in ...", write "My fields of experience include ...". Another possibility is to use references to previous sentences: instead of writing "I developed the method of ... . I applied it to the problem of ... ." write "I developed ... .

Can I negotiate my salary as a new grad nurse? ›

It is possible to negotiate a higher salary as a new nurse. There is no rule book that says you can't. No one will scold you or punish you if you negotiate. As a matter of fact, according to the 2019 Job Seeker Nation Survey report from Jobvite, your potential employer expects it.

Do new grad nurses make mistakes? ›

Your first new grad nurse job is exciting, thrilling, and fun. However, it can also be nerve-racking and scary at times. New grad nurses are eager to jump into their new job, which can often lead to mistakes. “Every new grad is in a rush to become the seasoned nurse.

How do new grad nurses make 100k? ›

HOW TO MAKE SIX FIGURES AS A NURSE?
  1. Become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) ...
  2. Become a Nurse Practitioner (NP) ...
  3. Become a Nurse Midwife. ...
  4. Advance in Nurse Leadership. ...
  5. Begin travel nursing assignment. ...
  6. Change Nursing specialties. ...
  7. Relocate to a higher paying state. ...
  8. Make sacrifices.

What is a good opening sentence for a cover letter? ›

A Universal Method for Starting a Cover Letter

Dear [First Name], I was excited to come across the [Job Title] position at [Company Name]. As a [Current Job Title] with [# of Years] years of experience, I have become competent in [Relevant Skills & Job-Related Abilities].

What should you not include in a cover letter? ›

15 Things You Shouldn't Include
  • Any Spelling or Grammar Errors. ...
  • The Wrong Company Name or the Wrong Name of the Contact Person. ...
  • Anything That Isn't True. ...
  • Paragraphs That Are Too Long. ...
  • Your Salary Requirements or Expectations. ...
  • Negative Comments About a Current or Past Employer. ...
  • Information Not Related to the Job.
5 Mar 2021

How do you introduce yourself in a cover letter? ›

Yes, you should introduce yourself in a cover letter. Introduce yourself by stating your name, the position you're applying for, and how you found it. For example: My name is Henry Applicant, and I'm applying for the open Account Manager position listed on LinkedIn.

What are key words in a cover letter? ›

In a cover letter, emphasize your excellent communication skills by using words such as “negotiated,” “addressed,” “persuaded” and “encouraged.” To describe your writing abilities, use words such as “authored,” “corresponded” and “publicized.” Choose words that are logical, concise and reader-friendly.

What do employers look for in a cover letter? ›

Recruiters say your cover letter should be succinct and: Show how your achievements relate to the role. Highlight how your skills and work experience are what the employer needs. Show genuine excitement and enthusiasm for the role.

What are the 4 paragraphs in a cover letter? ›

Cover Letter Body
  • First paragraph: Why you are writing. This is "the grab," your chance to grasp your reader by the collar and get their attention. ...
  • Second paragraph: What you have to offer the employer. ...
  • Third paragraph: Your knowledge of the company. ...
  • Fourth paragraph: Your closing.
16 Jul 2021

Do recruiters actually read cover letters? ›

The simple answer is, yes ‒ most of the time. Many employers like to see a cover letter because it shows two important things: that the candidate has gone the extra mile and that the candidate is serious about their application.

How do you sound confident in a cover letter? ›

6 Tips to Write Your Confident Cover Letter
  1. Address your receiver. This can be a tough one right off the bat because you may not know if this unnamed person is a female or male. ...
  2. Keep it short. ...
  3. Do not repeat your resume. ...
  4. Use key words. ...
  5. Formulate a lasting impression. ...
  6. Make it easy for the employer.
10 Aug 2015

Do new grad nurses need a cover letter? ›

A cover letter is a vital addition to any job application for a nurse. It serves to make a more personal connection with a potential employer while pointing out why you are the best candidate. This letter is crucial for a new grad nurse as you do not have any nurse employment experience.

What do you put on a resume if you have no experience for nursing? ›

An entry-level nurse resume should include a resume objective, educational background, relevant nursing skills, clinical, residential, or internship experience, and any licenses or certificates you currently possess.

Are cover letters still a thing in 2022? ›

Short answer: yes, you should submit a cover letter alongside your resume. Here's why: Most job openings require you to submit a cover letter. Recruiters might not have the time to read ALL the cover letters they receive, but they will definitely read cover letters if they're on the fence for a candidate.

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