The cover letter job applicants send when seeking a job with a desirable employer can be the key that opens and gets you in the door. To write a good cover letter requires that the job applicant follow certain rules and best practices. How long should your letter be? Should you reiterate what already appears on your resume? What about negative aspects of your background or gaps in employment? These questions and others can be the key to obtaining the job you seek. Use this information (and the links at the end) to refine your cover letter and improve your chance to secure the right caregiving position.
In a cover letter, you should expand on—but not repeat—information that is on your resume. If you are a recent graduate or new member of the caregiving community, find ways to connect your education, training or prior work experience with the demands of the caregiving workplace. If you had exemplary grades, for example, in college courses in nursing or biology, discuss how you can support seniors by offering healthcare expertise and strong work ethic. Your prior work experience can help as well. Consider pointing out the people skills necessary as a retail manager, which assists you in forming strong relationships with coworkers and seniors. Include a few short sentences about the specific position for which you are applying and how your experience, training, and character make you a qualified candidate.
Cover letters, generally, should not take more than one page, single-spaced, and should be formatted like a letter meaning that you place your information—name, street address, phone number and email address—at the top of the letter, as well as the date. Include a formal salutation that be as specific as possible, beginning with the name of the person to whom your cover letter is directed. If the job has a hiring committee, address it to the committee; if the job does not have a specific person for your application, use “To Whom It May Concern.” Use a formal closing, such as “Sincerely yours,” or “Best regards.” Sgn your full name and type your name under your signature in the middle of the page. Within the letter use Standard American English.Avoid any slang or jargon and make sure there are no spelling errors. Proofread the letter carefully. many jobs will reject applicants for including easily avoidable spelling or grammar errors in their cover letters or resumes. Avoid academic and overly elevated language. Many jobs have dozens of applicants and long sentences can seem pretentious. Speak directly and accurately about your skills and your desires to work with the company, organization, family or guardians. Use plain English.
Turn negatives to positives
Negative aspects of your background in a resume are normal. Almost everyone has these on their resumes, such as a firing, a gap in work experience, or a less-than-ideal education. Employers in every field care more about finding a good fit rather than an elusive perfect candidate. While an interview is likely the best place to address any negatives in your resume, since the employer will probably bring it up, if you have a glaring negative that you feel your interviewer might see immediately, it is not a bad idea to address it in the cover letter. On the subject of negative aspects of your background, however, you should determine beforehand whether to bring it up in your cover letter or to raise the subject during the interview if one is extended to you. Use your best judgment.
Be honest about what happened. If you have a gap in work experience due to injury, for example, explain that you were injured at a previous job, that you spent the recent years or months in recovery, and that you feel well enough now to contribute in a workplace. (This could be accompanied by a doctor’s note certifying your wellness, if this is something you can obtain and feel comfortable in providing it.) Many people take time from work to raise children or care for seniors in their family. This can be a positive thing since it shows your experience in and dedication to caregiving. Most employers will not see this as a significant detriment to your employment. Most employers will ask you to elaborate in an interview if they want to know more than a sentence or two could provide.
Dealing with prior absenteeism, dismissals, job environment
If you were fired or if the negative aspect of your resume is due to a mistake or poor judgment on your part, own up to it. After you explain the circumstances, detail what you learned from the experience and how you plan to utilize that knowledge in a new workplace. For example, if you were fired for unavoidable absenteeism, explain the circumstances, that it is a thing of the past and that losing your job educated you to know about making better contingency plans to avoid or reduce the absences. Turn the negative into a positive if possible and continue taking a positive approach throughout your discussions with the potential employer. If you feel you were dismissed unfairly, for example, do not lament the loss or berate the previous employer. You might explain that the workplace environment is not compatible for all parties and you lost your job as a result.
One good way to reduce the effect of negative aspects in your background is to list as references your former employers, with their contact information, who will say positive things about your work, character, diligence, punctuality and work ethic. Be sure to contact these former employers and others that you may list as references to obtain their approval for being listed as references in your resume.
Emphasizing your character, experience, diligence and history of strong work performance in a cover letter and inviting conversation about your skills and position are always a recommended sound approach to a job application. Use the cover letter to ask any questions about the position and include some comment or evidence that you are familiar with the organization’s history and mission.
Coverlettersandresume.com. Caregiver Cover Letter Example. CoverLettersandResume.com, January 11, 2015. Available at http://coverlettersandresume.com/caregiver/caregiver-cover-letter/. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
Coverlettersandresume.com. Cover Letter Example for Elderly Caregiver. CoverLettersandResume.com, August 3, 2014. Available at http://coverlettersandresume.com/live-in-caregiver/cover-letter-example-for-elderly-caregiver/. Retrieved December 7, 2016.
LiveCareer.com. Caregiveer Cover Letter Sample. LiveCareer.com. Available at https://www.livecareer.com/letter-samples/cover-letters-misc/caregiver. Retrieved December 7, 2016.