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Career Advice

Writing a good NHS / Healthcare Cover Letter

Tips to help you get noticed and get that NHS / Healthcare job and a free Cover Letter Template are included below 

You can download your free Cover Letter template here: FreeCoverLetterTemplate.PDF or FreeCoverLetterTemplate.DOC

The world of recruitment in the UK has changed dramatically over the past 3-5 years and the NHS is no exception.  Whilst there are still plenty of jobs to be filled in the NHS, some of the recently imposed changes by Central Government have made the process a lot trickier and recruiters have to jump through more hurdles nowadays on behalf of both their clients and, of course, you our candidates!

So why not give yourself an advantage over other candidates and add a cover letter to your CV application.

What is a Cover Letter?

In bygone days a handwritten letter was sent by an applicant to his prospective employer explaining, in great detail, why he should get the job (I say “he” here as in the “old days” it was usually the man chasing after the job so please also now read “she” as well as “he”).  I am not 100% sure when CV’s first arrived on the business scene and became the norm but I truly believe the Cover Letter predates the CV by many, many years. 

Why use a Cover Letter?

At present we don’t see too many these days but I would say that anyone with a good cover letter will have a distinct advantage in attracting the attention of any employer.  I also believe that a good cover letter could be more valuable than a good CV.  You should take as long to create your cover letter as you would your CV and of course you must write a different cover letter for each job application.

How long is a Cover Letter?

Maximum recommended is just one size of a sheet of A4 but remember you must include your contact details and that of the hirer and treat the preparation and layout in just the same way as if you were going to post it - so you will probably only have space for 2-3 paragraphs and you must also sign it off either manually (wet) or electronically (digital).

What should you include in a Cover Letter?

Treat your cover letter as a sales pitch.  There are some things that must always be in every cover letter - accurate addressing, the job reference and so on - please see the sample Cover Letter Template.  The rest must be so convincing that the recipient will be in no doubt but to invite you in for interview.  You have the opportunity to create a picture of yourself as someone who knows a lot about the organisation, the specific requirements of the job and how your skills, experience and enthusiasm simply make you the best choice.  Make your cover letter personal, factual and hopefully inspiring so the recipient will want to read your CV in full and get you in to meet them as soon as possible.  Please don’t just extract bits from your CV as this will become obvious at the interview and the interviewer will feel cheated.  You can refer to bring our experience and skills specific to making you the best choice for the job.  The more research you do on the organisation and the job description the more ideas you will generate to highlight your suitability. The hardest thing will be keeping the letter precise and to the point.  No rambling sentences with long winded words trying to impress.  The best sentences are those with around 20-25 words, each word being an average of 4-5 letters.  Also don’t just accept your first attempt.  If you have the time then finish your letter, sleep on it, read it first thing the next morning and see how silly you feel.  Don’t rip it up just “polish it” and keep up the polishing process until you are proud to submit your shiny cover letter along with your perfect CV (find tips on writing the best CV and your free CV template here).


Writing an interview winning cover letter is just about as hard as writing a short story but if you get the job, wow! It’s worth it….


Now that you’ve learnt how to create a successful Cover Letter, take a look at our job listings and apply for the latest non-medical/non-clinical vacancies in your area, or register with GoToJobBoard to get new jobs sent straight to your inbox before anyone else sees them.  

Story by Don Tomlinson, founder of max20, the only specialist recruitment business dedicated to non-medical recruitment in the NHS and founder of GoToJobBoard - the only non-medical job board dedicated to the NHS and the wider healthcare community.

If you have been affected by anything in this article and would like to share it with me please email at either or


You can download your free Cover Letter template here: FreeCoverLetterTemplate.PDF or FreeCoverLetterTemplate.DOC

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