Cover letter is a very important part of your physician employment application. Your application has only two papers in it, which is your cover letter and your resume or curriculum vitae. The prospective medical employer will read your cover letter first and then your resume.
Your cover letter should refer to kind of position you are looking for, your basic medical training, your strengths and the best way to reach you. If you are applying for more than one type of physician job then you need to make separate cover letters for each of them. Also as we realize that we are not applying to McDonalds, hence we should personalize the letter to each physician employer by adding the contact person’s name into the letter. It’s a lot of paper to print when you will be sending seventy to eighty applications out but fortunately it is easier to do it with the help of computers.
Use the following rules on and you should end up with a decent cover letter. You can also look at the sample cover letters before you draft yours. The points are in the sequence in which you will be drafting your letter.
Date the letter and change the date when necessary.
Give your current address including a cell phone number or beeper number so it is easier for your employers to contact you. Don’t encourage them to leave messages.
Also give your current email address.
Correctly spell the name of the contact person in the medical practice.
Never generalize your letter unless you have absolutely no information. Refer to your employer as Dear Mr. or Ms. X. or Dr. X as the case may be.
If you don’t know who to address the letter to, then call and find out.
Keep the body of the letter short and sweet.
First paragraph should mention your medical specialty and institute of training. Also make a note about your board certification status i.e. whether you are board eligible or board certified. Write when would you be available to start your physician employment. Keep the first paragraph limited to three to four sentences.
Second paragraph should highlight your strengths in the field. If you are applying to a private practice you can mention various procedural skills you possess. Remember knowledge of extra procedures gives you an edge to generate more revenue. Private practices love it!
If you are going for the academics then blow the trumpet about your research experience and other academic achievements. Be creative and think what the physician employer may be looking for in a particular setting. But please! Keep it short. Not more than four lines. And No! You cannot use extra long sentences to get around it!
Last paragraph is generally “Looking forward to hear from you….blah blah blah”. But also use this space to inform the prospective physician employer about the best way to contact you. That is your email, cell or beeper number.
Do not forget to put MD or DO behind your name.
Do sign your name.
Some books will suggest you to write a small sentence at the end by hand to give a personal touch to the letter. You may do it provided you have a decent handwriting. I guess that leaves ninety nine percent of us docs out.