We are always looking for great ideas on what to write in a cover letter. New or soon to be graduates are definitely in need of substantive items to show they are not just the next run-of-the-mill new grad.
Check out the following:
Dear Practice Owner:
I am a fourth year dental student at the University of Dental School seeking an associate position as a General Dentist in the Happyville, USA area upon my graduation in May 2009. I am looking to work in a friendly environment where I can contribute to practice growth, while broadening my knowledge of advanced dental topics and procedures. As a hardworking and highly motivated individual, I am open to working mornings, evenings and weekends.
Through externships, research and participation in dental organizations, I have used my time in dental school to gain exposure to all branches of dentistry. I have attended many continuing education courses through my involvement with professional organizations and have volunteered and attended lectures at the Dentist Conference Meeting each year. I have received training to become a certified Invisalign provider and possess clinical and research experience with the appliance. While I am confident that my education and experiences have prepared me to diagnose and treat patients in all facets of dentistry, I am excited to enter the dental world where I expect my learning to increase exponentially into the future.
I strongly believe that my perpetually positive attitude, excellent communication skills (including an ability to speak Spanish fluently) and valuable background in Business Administration will allow me to be an asset to your practice. Before entering the field of dentistry, I earned a degree in Management Information Systems from the University and spent a year as a Quality Assurance Analyst at ABC Co., which has given me a fundamental understanding of business principles and will aid in my transition from student to practicing dentist.
I have enclosed my resume for your consideration. I welcome the opportunity to meet with you to discuss my qualifications and experiences in detail. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at (555) 555-5555 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
I thank you for your time and consideration and hope to hear from you soon.
Great Dentist, D.D.S.
This is an actual letter (w/ some obvious edits) received for a new dental graduate. I find that it covers areas not typically noted by some doctors. Make sure to highlight the key training you have receive. State your goals and aspirations.
(click on image to enlarge letter)
Too often, dental hygiene job seekers forget to create and submit a cover letter for openings. It’s kind of understandable. Many job announcements simply forget to request it.
But cover letters are great tools for standing out since not everyone includes one with their resume. They also give you an opportunity to communicate that you understand what it is the employer wants in a new employee.
In clinical dental hygiene, the duties are often very similar from one job to another, so it’s helpful for you to play close attention to the extra things you can spot in job announcements. Then, take that information and incorporate it into a customized cover letter for each job you apply for.
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Along with that, you want to create a cover letter that is simple, concise, and readable. Here’s five tips for creating a cover letter that helps position you as the right person for the job, plus the anatomy of how it all goes together.
Along with that, here’s a link to where you can download a free cover letter template that will help get you going in the right direction.
1. Customize it—Each job you apply for should receive a unique cover letter. There are basic elements that will be the same or similar, but spend a little bit of time with each one, customizing it to the position you are seeking.
To do this, carefully review the job announcement and pick out the qualifiers—things an employer is looking for in an employee. Then address each and every one of them in your cover letter. If the announcement says they want someone with Dentrix experience, then you need to include that you have that in the cover letter.
For those who like going the extra mile, visit the office’s social media pages and website to get a flavor for their style and approach so that you can further tailor the language in your cover letter. That will also give you useful information at the interview stage.
2. Keep it short—Cover letters are only one page, and usually about five to six paragraphs of one to three sentences each. You are one of many applicants, and there just isn’t enough time for an employer to read a “wordy” cover letter.
3. No errors—Mistakes make you look bad. They call into question your thoroughness and attention to detail (both skills employers want in new employees). Review it several times before you submit it. If possible, have a friend read it or try reading it backward (end to beginning) as that helps you focus on the words individually.
4. Use bullet points—No one enjoys reading large blocks of text. Keep your sentences short and tight, using bullets somewhere in the document. Bullets are especially pleasing to the eyes as they indicate a simplified area of text that can be absorbed more easily (especially if the bullets are short themselves and don’t wrap to two lines).
Sometimes the eyes will dart straight to the bullets. So it’s especially important that you fill them with words that have impact and leave the reader with a good idea of who you are in a nutshell.
5. Consistent look and feel—Create a cover letter that matches your resume. Use the same paper, font, color, and design scheme. Consistency is also an indication that you have organizational skills and an eye for detail. In general, a matching or consistent cover letter and resume communicate that you are a serious professional who took the time to get things right.
Anatomy of a cover letter
Again, cover letters are unique for each job you apply for, and so don’t think you need to do it exactly like this every time. However, here’s a detailed anatomy of one great way you can organize it.
- Date/Inside Address/Salutation: A cover letter is a formal letter. As with any such document, you begin with the date at the top left. Drop down two lines and include the name of the office and their mailing address (also called Inside Address). Drop down three lines and add your salutation, “Dear All Smiles Dental,” would be one good example. If the office is anonymous, the best you can do is post a date and generic salutation.
- Paragraph 1: From the salutation line, drop down two lines and start the first paragraph with an acknowledgement of the job opening. Let the employer know where you heard about the job and that you are formally applying for it.
- Paragraph 2: This is where I recommend you acknowledge any technical qualifications, such as number of years of experience, or experience working with Dentrix as an example. Employers tend to look at those as easy ways to eliminate some from consideration so you want to make sure it’s very clear that you meet those.
- Paragraph 3: Next, I would suggest that you acknowledge any soft qualifications. These are things related to your personality or personal attributes, such as a “patient” or “attention to detail.”
I like using the third paragraph as a great way to transition into some bullets that further describe who you are (your personal brand). After confirming the soft qualifications in a sentence, I will often lead that into a list of three to five additional things about you that you think will provide value to that office.
For example, if they seem like a “fun” office from your research about them, but don’t mention it in the job description, and you have a “fun” personality, then you may want to mention that in the bullets. It could be experience-related, too. Maybe you have experience as a nutritionist and are able to provide added value to your role as a hygienist in terms of your ability to counsel patients about nutrition.
- Paragraph 4: Always finish your cover letter with a call-to-action, as it’s termed in marketing. Write a short, yet clear, statement that you would appreciate an opportunity for an interview.
Here’s how I might word it: “I would be pleased to discuss how I am a great fit for your office at a time that is convenient for you. Please call me at 555-444-3333.”
- Complimentary Close: This is what you call the short closing with comma you see just before the signature line: “Sincerely,” is the most common example.
- Signature Line: Your name, plus your hard-earned credentials such as BSRDH or RDH.
- Final tip: Either use pre-printed letterhead (with your name, phone and e-mail address) or create that effect in the header/footer settings of your document so your cover letter looks that much more impressive.
Doug and Tracie Perry are authors of the book, “Landing a Great Dental Hygiene Job” and provide dental hygiene job coaching tips and services to thousands of dental hygienists. You can get a free copy of their book and free weekly tips at their website at www.GetHiredRDH.com.