Don’t send out that BARE resume!

What does that mean? It means you should never send out a resume or CV (they are the same thing, really) without a cover letter. A cover letter serves several purposes:

• It introduces you to the doctor and lets him/her know why you are sending the resume. If you send out just a resume with no cover letter, the doctor doesn’t know who you are or why you are writing.

• It creates interest in you and your capabilities, driving the reader to your resume to find out more.

• It provides you with an opportunity to tell more about your personal characteristics and your situation than a resume can.

• It gives you a way to tell the reader of your interest in the position.

• It lets you end with a “call to action” (a way to get the reader to respond positively).

Career expert Darlene McDaniel has some tips for developing your cover letter:

• Start with strong action words. Avoid forms of “to be” like “I am;” instead use words like “energy,” “strength,” For example, instead of saying, “I am a caring doctor,” say “I care for my patients.”

• Parallel the job description and search criteria of the doctor. Read carefully what the doctor has written about the position, so you can mirror it. If the doctor says she wants someone to do marketing, talk about your experience in marketing.

• Use highlights in bullet points to set out your most interesting qualifications. You must set yourself apart from other new doctors, so include experience and training to make your reader want to find out more in your resume.

• Avoid including limiting factors. Don’t say you don’t have experience, or that you can’t start right away. Keep your cover letter positive – say what you do have, when you can start, and what you will do for the doctor.

• Use the closing paragraph as an opportunity to ask the doctor to follow up. State that you will call in a few weeks if you don’t hear from the doctor, then do contact him or her.

The purpose of the cover letter is to draw the doctor into the resume so you can get an interview. Then it’s up to you to get the job.

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