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How to Structure a Good Cover Letter

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In our last post, we gave you some tips for writing an effective cover letter, courtesy of Dr. Goodhook over at the Adventures in Medicine site.

In that same article, Dr. Goodhook also provided an outline for constructing a solid cover letter.

It basically consists of seven parts.

First, the Introduction.

According to Dr. Goodhook, the introduction is where you state the position in which you’re interested and how you found out about it.

Second, the Objective.

What are you hoping to accomplish in your career? What are your career objectives? Once again, keep this brief. One sentence will do.

Third, Your Strengths.

As with every element of the cover letter, your strengths need to “directly relate to the job for which you are applying,” Dr. Goodhook writes. This is where you can begin to answer that inevitable interview question: If I hire you, what skills and talents will you bring to the organization?

Fourth, Education Highlights.

“Careful, young resident!” Dr. Goodhook warns. “This is not where you simply ‘rehash’ your CV. Instead, use this as an opportunity to elaborate on one or two educational highlights that are relevant to the position.”

Fifth, Personal Information.

Don’t make this section generic, he writes. Think through what you could offer as “outstanding personal characteristics that set you aside from your peers.”

Sixth, List Any Ties You May Have to the Area.

Many organizations are interested in hiring young physicians who have family nearby or want to live in the area on a long-term basis. We’ve talked before about how much money it costs organizations when they hire someone who doesn’t stick around for long. Knowing that you plan on being there for a while could give you a leg up on the job.

Seventh, the Closing.

This gives you a chance to reiterate “your interest in the position,” Dr. Goodhook states. “If you know your schedule in advance, you can include potential interview dates.”

As physicians and advanced practitioners who are looking for jobs, what is the most important thing you could say directly to an employer in a cover letter?

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