How to write your cover letter

When a cover letter is needed, a poor quality one can limit your chances of getting the respiratory care job you want. On the other hand, a strong letter can effectively highlight your skills and attributes, which could greatly improve your chances of acing the interview.

Writing a cover letter can feel like an intricate balance between highlighting your strengths and avoiding needless fluff that makes you sound like every other job applicant. As a respiratory therapist, you want to convey your competence and hints of your personality that help you to effectively care for patients. The best way to do this is to be genuine, but also concise in writing a relatively brief cover letter. You should strive to effectively use all the words on the page. Remember to stay focused on illustrating your talent, and not veer off track with anecdotes, jokes, or irrelevant facts.

One important tip is to use active verbs to engage the recruiter while reading your cover letter. Use words like monitored, assessed, diagnosed, and analyzed. You also want to focus your content around specific and relevant experiences and attributes that directly relate to the job opening. The goal of your cover letter is to complement your resume and not replace it. Your cover letter should introduce you to the recruiter and highlight your capabilities. So please avoid just listing your job experience. As you work through your letter, remember to keep a clear, concise, and professional tone.

You may have more luck with your cover letter when you reference relevant skills to the job position. The skills, or qualities, below are the principle skills of being a respiratory therapist. If you use them in your cover letter, make sure to tie them to specific past experiences, and not just list the attributes that fit you.

  • Compassion – Though emotional support isn’t always in the career description, it is a great attribute to have as you may need to be sympathetic to patients as they undergo treatment.
  • Detail-focused – Detail is very important as you will need to make sure patients are given the correct levels of treatments and medications in a timely fashion
  • Social skills – You will be constantly caring for patients and working with other healthcare professionals in your team
  • Patience – You may deal with patients who need more care than others.
  • Dependability – Since patients’ lives are in the hands of the hospital, RTs need to be reliable and responsible. This is especially true when providing emergency care to patients.
  • Stress Tolerance – You may constructive criticism so you can learn from what you did. There are times where you will make mistakes you will need to accept that. You will also need to calmly and effectively deal with high-stress situations.


Other things to keep in mind

Remember to maintain a balance between covering the qualifications listed in the job post and describing your key qualities. It’s very easy to compare your experiences to the job requirements but that is what many other applicants do as well. You should also show how your personality and other qualities make you a good fit for the job. Let your prospective employer know how you’re detailed focused and during patient assessments, you have a standard process for diagnosing patients’ symptoms.

If your resume has some red flags, the cover letter is can be a good time to explain the situation. For instance, if you are switching jobs after a year or less, let the employer know why you are considering making the transition. However, it is a good idea to keep the tone positive and upbeat while you discuss these matters.


How to format your letter:

  • Introduce yourself, your program, and the position you are applying for
  • Talk about three to four skills, attributes, or experiences that relate to the position. Focus on things that make you a better candidate than other people in the same field. You may even want to talk about leadership traits and other qualities that show you will excel at the job.
  • Sell yourself. What can you do for the unit? How will you benefit them? What are you interested in working with?
  • End with your contact information and your appreciation.


 More Useful Tips for writing your cover:

  • Avoid using repetitive words and phrases in your writing (respiratory therapy skills or values)
  • Be clear, but brief. You don’t want to write an essay. The goal should be to stick to one page.
  • Bullet points can be easier for recruiters to digest and read, compared to a bunch of text
  • Make your cover letters customized to the person or organization receiving it
  • Trying not to use a lot of technical verbiages. Use regular language to discuss how you would be a good fit as a respiratory therapist
  • Tell your recruiter something about you, they wouldn’t know from reading your resume


Final thoughts

We hope this guide provides you with a good template to make your cover letter stand out from other applicants. Although respiratory care can be a challenging and rewarding atmosphere, the level of stands can make searching for a job seem difficult, especially for recent graduates. By looking at best practices for writing a cover letter, you can make your letter stand out and gain that desired interview.


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