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I am writing a cover letter to a facility in which I am interested, but which does not have open positions. What should I say?

Tuesday December 13, 2011
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Dear Donna,

Thank you so much for your advice with regard to sending my resume to a hospital that interests me but that does not have a position posted for which I can apply.

I am in the process of developing my cover letter, but I am stumped about how to start it, since I cannot refer to a position that is advertised.

Can you assist me with how best to introduce myself and discuss my interest in working for the institution, even if a position is not posted? I am a perioperative nurse educator and a board certified CNS.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear MLM,

Start the letter with something like this: "I am interested in working for County General Hospital as a perioperative nurse educator or clinical nurse specialist. I am attracted by County General’s reputation for quality and service, and I am confident I can contribute to that. I have my sights set on being part of your winning team."

The second paragraph should briefly state what skills and experience you would bring to the position. You don’t have to repeat what’s in your resume, but you can give some highlights. Be sure to let your personality and enthusiasm for your profession/specialty come through. Remember to be brief.

End the letter on an upbeat note, such as “I look forward to meeting with you so we can discuss our mutual interests further. I will call you in one week as follow-up.” Then, of course, you would need to make that follow-up call.

End the letter with “Sincerely” or a similar closing. Type your name several lines down and sign the cover letter.

For future reference, you can find this information and much more, along with many examples and sample forms in my book “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses” (www.nurse.com/ce/7250).

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.