In discussions about applying for a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant, or any position for that matter, talk always turns to the extreme importance of the resume. But many aspiring practitioners fail in their quest because they overlook, or underestimate the power of a well-written, detailed cover letter and don’t give it the attention it deserves.
That by no means is a suggestion that the resume has limited impact or isn’t an important part of the job application process, because it is essential. Virtually no professional organization will give any consideration to a job candidate without a resume. This is the applicant’s historic timeline of relative employment. It should show dated material that depicts the nature of each job held, duration of employment and basic job requirements.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story does it?
And that’s where a cover letter comes in play. No resume should be submitted without an accompanying cover letter. If a resume is the equivalent of the answer to a multiple choice question, then the cover letter is the application equivalent of an essay answer. Use this opportunity to elaborate on particular strengths and experience with a focus on how your specific talents and skills will make the organization better.
In other words, a cover letter is where the job applicant really gets a chance to sell themselves and that is exactly what should be done – within the parameters of truth and accuracy, of course. And that is an important point because just as a job applicant should assume their resume entries may be checked for accuracy by a prospective employer, the same goes for details contained within a cover letter.
A quality cover letter should contain information about personality traits – work ethic for example – that are relative to the prospective job and how general and specific work experience has helped the applicant grow into a qualified professional. Details are important in a cover letter.
If you’ve worked as a CNA in the past, detail the aspects of that experience that pertain to the specific job being applied for at the time. For example, if you worked alongside an OBGYN diagnosing and treating a yeast infection, or assisting with pre-natal examinations, address that in the cover letter if you are applying to work in another medical environment that caters to women’s issues. However, if you are applying for a sports medicine position, it would be important to relate experience specific to that field of practice – bandaging or physical therapy, for example. A new cover letter should be written for each job application.
Aspiring applicants should consider the cover letter as nothing less than an introductory interview – albeit one-sided. It is an opportunity to sing your own praises in an uninterrupted format that will serve not only as an introduction, but the all-important first impression.