If you are a physician looking to secure your dream job, then you must take a look at our physician cover letter examples. Often overlooked, cover letters can be the application component that makes you stand out. Whether you are working on your job applications alone or with a , it’s important to know what a cover letter should entail and how to write it. In our article, we will share expert tips on physician cover letter standards, format, and provide you with stellar physician cover letter examples to inspire your own!
Physician cover letters are often neglected because they usually cannot convey the wealth of experience the applicant possesses. Unlike a CV, a cover letter is a short document, usually no more than 3-5 paragraphs long, so you must be extremely careful about what you decide to include. But if you plan correctly, a cover letter can truly be the optimal way to demonstrate why you are the best candidate for a position.
Essentially, a physician cover letter is your chance to really demonstrate your desire for and dedication to the position you are applying to. A CV cannot do that! A CV or a resume can outline why you possess appropriate education, skills, and experiences, but they cannot express why you want to pursue the positions you apply to. And that’s where a cover letter comes in. In a cover letter, you can express your genuine interest and commitment, as well as suitability. And while the credentials on your CV are important, the hiring committees want to see sincere interest from applicants, which can only be conveyed on paper via a cover letter.
Furthermore, a cover letter is also an application component that humanizes the candidate. It gives a real sense of the person behind the CV or resume. And while the latter are essential in the committee’s decision-making, a cover letter can give them a sense of your personality, background, and even interests. It's always great to have an accomplished professional on your healthcare team. But having a professional who possesses great communication and interpersonal skills, or a professional who demonstrates true commitment to their team is a much bigger coup. It is no wonder that as the most important factors when it comes to making their rank order list. Use the cover letter to demonstrate these skills and your dedication even before you are called into an interview! And in this article, we will show you how to do just that!
Are you a resident planning your future after completing your training?
Why You Are Interested in the Position/Your Suitability
Your physician cover letter must convey why the job ad or the job itself caught your eye. Why is this your dream job? Why are you sending this letter? Sometimes, to convey this, it takes more than a sentence or two, or a paragraph; you may use the entirety of the letter to convey this interest.
Some useful tips for showing this interest may include:
But at the same time, your interest must be backed up by your own background and experiences. It’s not enough to say that the job seems interesting to you – you must have informed interest that comes from skills and events in your life. While you are expressing interest, don't forget to emphasize your suitability at the same time. Show what you can contribute to the team and the institution.
How You Can Help Improve Patient Care
As a physician, your number one priority is always patients. If you are applying for a clinical position, then your cover letter should also indicate how you can help improve patient care at the institution you are applying to. This can be as simple as demonstrating great past experiences, like this:
“During my time at the walk-in clinic, I minimized wait time by 10 minutes by implementing a new software system that ended up saving time and money for both the clinic and the patients.”
In addition to demonstrating that you are an innovative thinker and problem-solver, this sentence shows that you care about solving the wait times and financial burdens that come with healthcare.
Essentially, your cover letter should indicate that the institution will gain better patient care options by hiring you. While you do not have to cure cancer or resolve the healthcare budget issues, it would be beneficial if you can show how you have helped patients have better healthcare experiences before.
Your Geographical Connection to the Position/City/State
This might seem less relevant, but your geographical ties to the position might be the one tie-breaker that surprises you. Having geographical ties to an institution, a city, or a state/province, indicates that you want to stay and practice in the area. Retention is a very serious issue in healthcare. By demonstrating that you have history, family, or, simply, interest in working in the area long-term, you are further showing genuine interest in the position.
Be specific. You should not go on a long tirade about the geographical area. Try to showcase your dedication very subtly, like so:
“Having grown up and started a family in X town, I want to continue dedicating my professional knowledge and experience to improve the lives of X citizens.”
Simple but effective. This sentence demonstrates that the applicant grew up in this town, which means she knows the kind of population she will be serving. Plus, she has already started a family here, which means she is really settled and ready to start or continue her professional life here.
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Before we jump into the discussion of how to write your cover letter, let’s go over some important rules and standards of cover letter etiquette:
Do Create a Narrative
Your cover letter is not a list! This is one of the biggest mistakes candidates make when they create this application component. They start to list all the accomplishments that make them look suitable for the position – and while this may seem like an appropriate approach, a cover letter has a completely different purpose! Remember, you have your CV or resume to demonstrate why you are suitable for the position “on paper”; your education, skills, experiences, awards, and so on, are all listed on the CV, so it’s not worth repeating the same items in your cover letter.
Your cover letter should be a narrative. As a physician, you have experience creating compelling narratives in your and your . And while the cover letter will be slightly shorter, its objective is quite similar to the application essays. Your cover letter should demonstrate why you want and deserve the position via a strong, compelling story. We will be going into more detail about what exactly to include in the narrative, but first, it's important to remember the first rule of cover letter writing: you are creating a short essay.
Do Tailor to Each Position
Before you even start writing your letter, make sure to research the position you are applying to. You must have done so already if you are interested in it, but make sure to review what kind of work the position involves, what kind of skills are important for the position, and what kind of goals and mission are emphasized by the institution you are pursuing. Tailor your cover letter to emphasize your relevant skills, background, and interests. This does not mean that you have to embellish or lie – simply try to reflect on what kind of skills and experiences from your life can relate to these requirements and values.
Additionally, when you start writing, do not forget to address your letter to a specific person or hiring committee. You want to showcase genuine dedication and interest, so simply addressing the letter “To Whom It May Concern” is impersonal and, frankly, forgettable. Do your best to research who will be reviewing your application.
Don’t Skip Soft Skills
Your CV is the place to really highlight your hard skills, such as your specialty training, your experiences in the field, your research background, and so on. But your cover letter should be able to give a glimpse into your personality and soft skills that are highly valued by hiring committees. For example, writing a compelling and strong narrative in your cover letter is so important – it shows your written communication skills and critical thinking skills. By showing that you are able to articulate your thoughts concisely, you show that you can pinpoint the most important aspects of your candidacy and highlight them appropriately.
In your cover letter, you can also emphasize soft skills like ethical proclivity, professionalism, leadership, and even commitment to the specialty. Remember, it's important to try and show rather than tell the reader about these qualities. For example, instead of simply saying “I am dedicated to professional ethics, and I have leadership skills”, you can write:
“As the head of the Center for Healthcare Ethics during my tenure with the X residency program, I have dedicated much of my time creating awareness of dementia and related patient treatment in Arkansas. I believe I can affect more change in making the lives of these patients better as a member of your team in X clinic.”
This sentence demonstrates that:
Do Address Gaps
If you have any gaps or setbacks in your resume or CV, a cover letter is a perfect place to briefly address them. Do not take up the entire space to make excuses for these problems, but try to explain why x, y, or z happened. For example, if you have a large gap in your resume due to illness or if you had to take a leave of absence from your position, address it like so:
“Having had to take a prolonged leave of absence from my position due to cancer diagnosis, I am more than eager to return to working with patients and doing my best to promote their well-being and health.”
Remember not to dwell on the gap or the setback. A brief explanation is best. If the hiring committee wants to further investigate it, you will be asked about this issue in the interview. And keep in mind that if there is a reasonable explanation for the setback in your cover letter, then the setback should not prevent the hiring committee from speaking with you in person. Leaving the gap or the setback unaddressed is more of a red flag than including a brief explanation in your letter.
Don’t Just Repeat CV/resume
It’s worth repeating that your cover letter is not a CV, so do not simply repeat the same information in your cover letter. While you can certainly bring up the jobs or positions you list in the CV, use the cover letter to express items you cannot include in the CV, such as your genuine interest in the position, your connection to the institution you are applying to, your connection to the geographical area, your soft skills, your background, and so on. You have a limited amount of space to convey your suitability for the position, so repeating the same information in the same format throughout your job application is just not a wise approach.
Your physician cover letter should not be more than a page, so around 3 to 5 paragraphs long. Use professional language and avoid a colloquial tone. Make sure to structure it as an academic essay, with an intro, body, and conclusion:
In the heading of your cover letter, don’t forget to include your contact info, such as your full name, address, email, and telephone number.
Check out the golden rule of writing any professional letter or statement:
123 X Street, Fresno CA, 93711
Dear Dr. Johnson,
I am writing in response to the Family Staff Physician position posted in the X City Daily Newspaper, Job ID 1234, located in Orange Cove, California. I am a young, but experienced family doctor, with more than 7 years of clinical experience in Fresno County. I believe my dedication, skills, and experience will be a valuable addition to your institution. Having lived in California all my life, I received my education and training in some of the best medical programs in the country. Throughout my education, I was driven by the desire to become a physician who advocates for healthcare accessibility for low-income households and vulnerable populations.
After graduating from , I was trained and served as a primary-care doctor at the St. Agnes Medical Center for 7 years. During my tenure, I operated as a staff physician, serving over 150 patients from low-income backgrounds per week. This experience exposed me to a variety of disorders that continue to plague the vulnerable populations of California, including HIV, hepatitis, substance abuse, as well as a variety of other health problems that were often neglected by my patients.
As a result, I became involved in the promotion of the Low-Income Health Program to help bring healthcare to low-income and vulnerable populations of Fresno County. Furthermore, I joined the board of the California Department of Health Care Services to promote initiatives that further alleviate the financial burden of healthcare for low-income families. We have made significant improvements to the lives of Californians by instating payment reforms and lifting policies forbidding physicians from serving immigrants without proper paperwork.
What I would like to bring to the X Hospital of Orange Cove is a proven dedication to first-rate healthcare to all patients regardless of their class or socio-economic status. The mission and goals of your institution greatly align with my own - I have vast experience working with the type of population that makes up the majority of your patients. Not only does my experience show that I am dedicated to working with low-income and vulnerable populations, but my fluency in Spanish will also help me communicate easier with a large part of our patients.
I attach my CV with this application for your review. I am very interested in becoming a part of your establishment and I hope that you can provide me with an opportunity to discuss my candidacy for the position in more detail in a personal interview.
567 ABC street, Kelowna, BC, V1P 1U8
Dear Dr. Rosen,
This letter is to express my interest in the Pediatric Immunologist position with the X Hospital in Toronto, ON. I am an experienced pediatrician, having worked with immune-compromised children for the last 17 years and I would like nothing more than to contribute my knowledge and experience to the healthcare efforts of your esteemed establishment. I have been advised of this position by your colleague, Dr. Palmer, who has assured me that I would be the perfect candidate for this position.
For the last 10 years, I have been working as a pediatric immunologist at X hospital in Y city, British Columbia. Within 3 years of my tenure at this institution, I was promoted to the head of the Pediatrics Department, having had a significant impact on research developments in the field and on patient care practices. My contributions to the treatment research have led to significant developments in treatments for young patients with allergies and skin conditions. My work on psoriasis has been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and recognized by my colleagues all over the world.
During my time as a researcher, I never left clinical practice. The well-being and healthcare of my patients remained my main concern. The more I worked with children, the more I understood the gravity of my responsibility before my patients and their families. I did everything in my power to improve the healthcare experience for my young patients. My colleagues and I created playrooms where the children could play with their peers and families while they wait for their appointments. We provided toys, games, and allergy-free snacks for our patients to enjoy. This initiative has been especially supported by the parents, who claim that their children were much more eager to attend our appointments since the playrooms were introduced.
I have loved working with my colleagues and patients in Y city, BC, but I have always longed to return to Ontario. I grew up and attended university in Toronto. Currently, my family and I are looking to return to Ontario, as my wife is also from Toronto. When I was told of this opportunity, I wasted no time preparing my application. I am ready to exceed your expectations and to dedicate my most sincere efforts to improving the health and the healthcare experience of my patients in Toronto.
My CV is enclosed with this letter. I am highly interested in joining your dynamic and esteemed team and hope that you give my application due consideration. I sincerely thank you for your time.
1. Why do I need a physician cover letter for a job application?
A cover letter allows you to express your interest in a specific job. While your CV may remain mostly the same for each position you may apply to, a cover letter will allow you to demonstrate what exactly attracted you to each position and why you would be a great fit for each position you pursue.
2. How long should a cover letter be?
It should be no longer than a page.
3. How should I structure my cover letter?
Use academic essay structure with an intro, body, and conclusion.
4. Should I address the letter to specific people/institutions?
Yes, each cover letter should address the person who is in charge of the hiring process or who will be supervising you in the position. Try to find out who will be reading your application and address the cover letter directly to them. You may find this information in the job ad, on the institution’s website, or you may want to call the institution and ask who is in charge of the hiring process.
5. What should I include in my cover letter?
Express your genuine interest in the position and why you are a good fit. Also, try to include some geographical connection you have to the position, the city, or the state.
6. Do I always need to submit a cover letter?
Unless you are explicitly asked not to submit a cover letter, always include a cover letter as part of your application.
7. Can my cover letter just list my skills and qualities?
No, your physician cover letter should be a narrative and not a list.
8. Should I restate the experiences and qualities I list in the CV?
You can discuss the most important jobs or positions, but try to extrapolate on your significant experiences by adding details and events that cannot be found in your CV.
9. Should I tailor each cover letter for each job I apply to?
Yes, you should.