Written by Prashant Patel, Regional Director.
Contact him at 1.800.974.4828 x106 or email@example.com
Have you crafted the strongest possible resume? We work with professional Medical Management nurses (that is Case Management, Utilization Management, and Quality Management) on a daily basis and often candidates underestimate the critical importance of a well-constructed resume. In 2010 we published a paper entitled “How Your Resume Can Drive Success” that addresses the key components for drafting a powerful resume. In this document, we aim to shed some light on tips to improve your resume, secure an interview, and land your next great job. Below we expand on the next item addressed, “What about a Cover Letter?” Download the full white paper to read more about these 7 key steps to resume success.
“You only have one chance to make a first impression,” is definitely true when meeting someone in person and it’s just as important when you are writing to someone regarding a potential job opportunity. The key question when considering whether or not to write a cover letter is: “Who is going to read this?” As long as you are confident that an actual human being and not a computer program will be doing the reading, then it makes sense investing the time to craft a well-written cover letter.
Writing a stellar and focused cover letter becomes even more important in today’s job market when there are so many applicants competing for the same position. If you follow some basic guidelines, you can set yourself apart from the other applicants. Below are some ideas to consider when writing a cover letter so you can be the one that stands out!
BE SPECIFIC: Address the cover letter to a specific person rather than “To Whom it May Concern.” Do your best to research the person responsible for hiring. Through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram, you should be able to find the name of a relevant employee to whom you can address your cover letter; it may even be listed on the job ad.
- For example, you can use LinkedIn advanced search or Twitter advanced search to find names, or if the company has a profile, you can view its employees from there.
- Don’t just choose a random individual, find someone involved in the hiring process. Ideally, you should be writing directly to your future boss; so if you are applying for a HEDIS Program Manager position, you should address it to the Director of Quality Improvement. Use their name if you can, and make sure the title is accurate, as some organizations use different titles for the same position, so it might be the Director of Performance Improvement or Director of Healthcare Services at the company you are writing to.
- If you cannot determine the name or at least the title of your future boss/hiring manager, consider writing to someone in Human Resources, again preferably a Director or Manager. This will help get your resume in the right hands from day one.
BE CONCISE: Cover letter should be 1 page at a maximum and can be divided into 3-4 brief paragraphs. Keep it simple and to the point, make it easy to read through quickly, and remember sometimes less is more.
- The 1st paragraph should indicate the reason you are writing or how you heard about the position. Try to open with an attention grabbing yet professional sentence. For example, “A proven track record in Utilization Management makes me the ideal candidate for this position,” or, “My 12 years of experience in Quality Management is the expertise that ABC Company needs to achieve your stated goal of…”
- The 2nd paragraph should be used to explain your qualifications and highlight with specific examples how your experience and skills match what the employer is seeking. For example, “I am an effective Case Manager,” doesn’t actually convey anything to the reader. Instead try saying, “During the past year alone, I have documented over $300K in cost savings for XYZ Health Plan with a rate of 95% for increased positive outcomes to patient care and in overall return to abilities.” Numbers tend to POP amongst words, and employers love to see concrete proof that supports what you are saying.
- The 3rd paragraph should be used as a closing paragraph to thank the reader for their consideration and to request an opportunity to meet to discuss the position further. You should also provide your contact information (phone number and email) so the employer knows how to reach you. Another option is to be more proactive and state a follow-up action on your part. For example, “I will contact you within the next several days to set-up a time to talk.” Then you must make sure you actually follow through with what you said you were going to do!
CUSTOMIZE: Although you are likely sending out cover letters and resumes to multiple companies, do not broadcast this by using a generic template letter. For example, instead of “I am very interested in working for your company,” customize it by replacing ‘your company’ with the actual company name. Additionally, make sure you address the specific company’s needs with your talents; what challenges are they facing that hiring you will solve? “I have developed several policy ideas that I believe can help reduce hospital re-admission rates by at least 30%.”
Employers can tell when you are using a one-size-fits-all type cover letter and they don’t like it! Like the objective statement on your resume, if you are only going to use a generic one, don’t bother. By taking a few extra minutes to state the company’s name, why you want to work there, and addressing specifically how you can benefit them, you could set yourself apart from the masses of generic applicants.
PROOFREAD: If you have grammatical errors or misspellings, this can immediately disqualify you from being considered for a position. Employers often view this as being careless and an inability to write effectively. Highlighting that you are “Detail Oriontated” is not just ironic, it’s can also be quite damaging. Always proofread and, when possible have a friend proofread it as well. We will expand on this topic in detail with next week’s blog: “Ask for Feedback.”
IMPROVE YOUR ODDS: You took the time to write an exceptional cover letter and craft a focused resume, but you just sent your resume and cover letter off into the unknown abyss of the internet. You are left wondering, did they even receive my electronic application and documents? Will a human get a chance to read these or will a computer algorithm determine if I am worthy of an HR representative’s time? It is not a pleasant feeling, but before becoming one of the countless jaded job-seekers who shotgun the same resume and generic cover letter to every job post they see, consider an alternative. Most organization require you to apply through HR, so don’t skip that step, but once you have done that put your hard work and research to work and double-down on your chances to have your cover letter read and resume reviewed. Take the classic approach and physically mail out the cover letter and resume to your future boss, addressing the letter to them by name, or at least by title. I like to imagine that Director of Medical Management, desperate for qualified staff, who reads your letter and likes your resume, calling down to HR asking what the status of your application is, and demanding to know why they can’t see more resumes like yours. If you can get the hiring manager’s interest, you can be sure that you will move through the HR hiring process rapidly. Now you are out of the uncertain abyss of strictly online applications!
The purpose of the cover letter is to grab the reader’s attention by convincing them you are an excellent candidate, make them want to read your resume and, of course, call you in for an interview so you can brilliantly sell yourself in person just like you did on paper!
As always, you can contact one of our representatives at 800-974-4828 to assist you in re-tooling your resume for that next great opportunity in Healthcare Services. CareNational provides superior career consulting support, and there is never a fee charged to candidates for any of our services.
For other great tips, visit a recent brief blog of ours for 5 Tips to improve your Medical Management Resume, or download the full whitepaper below.
Written by Prashant Patel, Regional Director. For more great tips on career search strategies and to discuss our current opportunities, reach out to one of CareNational’s best Medical Management Recruiters! Contact him at 1.800.974.4828 x106, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org