Three tips for physicians on writing cover letters
Although a physician’s CV will include all of the required information for the hiring process, a well-written cover letter can provide the opportunity for them to distinguish themselves from other candidates.
“The intent of a cover letter is to introduce the physician as an individual and to give a little bit of personal twist to the points that will be covered by the CV,” says Jim Stone, president of the Medicus Firm and the National Association of Physician Recruiters. “It transcends where they trained, where they practiced, how many patients they would see, and it gets more into the physician as an individual.”
Stone offers these three tips for writing cover letters:
- Personalize it – Biographical information and whether or not you have a family moving with you would both be appropriate to include in the letter. “The intent is to give the CV a little bit of a face, so the entity that you’re sending it to understands you as an individual, rather than just you as a practitioner,” he says.
- Make it specific to the employer – “An expression of why they reached out to them is important,” says Stone. “Say, 'I reached out to you because I want to live in that area,' or 'I want to practice that type of medicine.' – Include whatever the connection is to the opportunity.”
- Don’t limit yourself – “At this point in the process, I would be cautious not to narrowly define the specifics of what you’re looking for,” he says. “I don’t think it would turn off an employer or prevent them from calling because of the shortage that we’re facing. But if you were to say for example, ‘I will only accept opportunities with call-in coverage of one in four days,’ the hospital might not be able to do that. There are some dynamics there that you wouldn’t want to paint yourself into a corner with what your requirements are because that’s always subject to negotiation.”
If a physician doesn’t include a cover letter, Stone says including a brief message in the email with their CV would also be sufficient.
“At the end of the day, the physician shortage is such that even without a formal cover letter, they’re likely going to get a prompt phone call and there will be interest regardless,” he says.