Why the Physician Cover Letter Matters†
A Great Physician Job Requires a Great Physician Cover Letter
There are some people that may be wondering what use a doctor would have for writing a physician cover letter. These people might have the impression that an individual with the highly sought after credentials and skills of a physician would not ever need to seek work as aggressively as other professions. And those people have a point. It is true that the skills of a physician are highly marketable and that very few doctors are ever actually without work.
What they might not realize, though, is that just as in any filed, there are levels of job desirability. Some physician jobs are just better than others. They either have higher pay, better conditions or more of a work life balance than others. Or perhaps there is some sort of prestige associated with working at a certain organization that makes these positions highly sought after and competitive.
It is to land these sorts of positions that the physician cover letter is necessary. Naturally, for these positions, the competition is coming from some of the most intelligent and talented physician in the country and even world. So the applicants need every single advantage that they can bring to the battle. Fortunately, a great physician's cover letter will go a long way towards creating a great first impression that gets the interview and then the job.
Physician Cover Letter Requirements
Before going into the specifics of what a first rate physicians cover letter should contain, let’s talk a little bit about what it should not contain. In the first place, it should not be merely a repetition or regurgitation of the resume that follows it. Not only is this simply a sign of unoriginality, it wastes what could be one of the best opportunities you have to showcase your qualities. Second, it should not be a place to wax enthusiastic about the job and the position and how happy you would be to work for the place. There is a time and place for enthusiasm, as we will get to later. But the target of the physicians cover letter will be reading it with one specific question in mind: What can this person do for me? Reading how you have dreamed of working for that hospital ever since you were a little girl playing doctor in a tree house does not answer that question.
Lastly, the letter should not be a faintly revised version of a cover letter that you have found on the Internet or in a book. For one thing, it’s highly unlikely that you will find a cover letter that is personalized and specific enough about your qualification and attributes to effectively sell you to the target organization. In the second place, the people that will read your letter have read literally thousand of cover letters in their lifetime. It’s likely that they have read a version identical to or similar to yours at least a dozen times already. Why they get that stale, unoriginal, boring copy of a letter in front of them they just might infer that the person writing it is also stale, unoriginal, and boring too. In that case, it’s bye-bye letter, bye-bye interview, bye-bye job opportunity for you.
So now that we’ve got it out of the way what the cover letter is not or should not be, what should it be? The cover letter is or should be nothing more than a super salesman that goes and sits in the office of the target hiring manager when you cant. Like a super salesman, this cover letter will seek to say what best convinced the Hiring Manager that you are the best solution to the problem that faces him or her. Further, the super salesman will seek to convince the hiring manager that not only are you a great solution, but you are enthusiastic and looking forward to solving the problem that the hiring manager faces. Lastly, the super salesman wants to get the Hiring Manager so motivated, so excited, so pumped up that he or she wants to pick up the phone and call you in for an interview.
Your Cover Letter Does the Selling for You
Okay, for specifics, imagine what this super salesman would do if he made his way to the Hiring Manager’s office. First, he would walk in and introduce himself in a way that would attract the Hiring Manager’s attention and put him or her on notice that the salesman had the solution that the hiring manager was most concerned with finding.
In the case of the physician cover letter, this might take the form of a headline that says in ALL CAPS the most relevant and exciting aspects of you the candidate and advertise your excitement about the position. EMERGENCY ROOM SPECIALIST SEEKS NEW CHALLENGES might be one way to do this.
Lastly, the letter spends a couple of sentences describing the problem that the Hiring Manager is most concerned with solving. This makes the letter writer have more credibility as someone that knows the field and the challenges that the hiring manager faces in it everyday, which makes the writer appear to be more of a professional. Second, it tightens its hold on the Hiring Manager because it answers, again, that single most important question on the Hiring Manager’s mind—What can this person do for me?
What’s the Problem, Doc?
As an aside, if you don’t know what the problem is that the hiring manager is most concerned with solving, you need to do some research to find out. Nobody ever hires someone because they "need another" someone in the place. Each hiring, from management’s perspective is to fill a specific need. To put it more bluntly, to solve a specific problem. Before writing your physician cover letter you should know more or less what the specific challenges facing the target organization, their current resources and strategy that they are using to solve them, and what they are planning on doing in the future to solve the problem.
Additionally, at a minimum, your research should confirm once and for all the name of the Hiring Manager you will need to send the letter to and their contact details. Sending a letter to "SIR/MADAM" or "Physician In Charge" is not acceptable. Think for a second about what you do to mail sent to your house labeled "Occupant" and you’ll understand why.
Showing that you dhow what the Hiring Manner wants done for him or her is a good start to show that you can actually do it. That’s where the next paragraph comes in. In this paragraph you link your experience, education skills, interests, etc.. etc… etc… clearly and logically and directly to the problem that needs to be solved. Keep two thins in mind. In the first place, your experience solving that problem is the most important thing do demonstrate. It shows that you are a proven solution, one that is not a bet or a gamble or a person that may or may not work out. So you need to emphasize your problem solving examples over all other factors, even your education and training. Second, don’t assume that the Hiring manager will make the connections on his or her own. Chances are that the Hiring Manager is a pretty smart individual, but is busy and rushed and having to read a lot of these letters. So come on out and explain why your experience makes you a great choice for solving their problem.
If You’re Happy and You Know It, Write It Down
Which brings us to the enthusiasm piece of the physicians cover letter puzzle. All things considered equal, the average Hiring manager is going to want to choose the enthusiastic person over the person simply going through the motions. The enthusiastic hire is going to be more innovative, work harder, longer and make the whole company’s morale higher. For that reason, you will want to add a couple of sentences about the challenges that you enjoy most about the problem that the Hiring Manager needs solved.
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