We get it, you probably feel like there are better ways to spend your time than writing cover letters. They can be tedious, boring, and sometimes easier to avoid than to actually deal with. However, writing an occupational therapy cover letter is a crucial step to landing a job fresh out of OT school.
Why do you ask? Don't worry, we've broken it all down for you below.
Because an occupational therapy cover letter is a new grad's first opportunity to differentiate themselves from scores of other job applicants.
Sometimes, you have to put yourself in a hiring manager's shoes to truly understand a cover letter's importance. He/she has worked hard to get to that role, and now he/she must hire a team of effective and conscientious therapists. If all the manager has to go by is a stack of resumes, interviews will be granted solely based on credentials, most of which will be more impressive than a new grad's.
At the same time, if some of those resumes had thoughtful, sincere cover letters accompanying them, the hiring manager would have more of a complete picture to put on the resume.
Maybe you weren't lucky enough to have a pediatric neuro clinical, but you grew up with a disabled sibling. Perhaps that experience slipped under the radar on the resume, but your cover letter can highlight how you adjusted, overcame, and adapted to this experience, improving your communication skills and ultimately helping grow the organization in the long term.
Imagine that you were the one in charge of hiring a candidate and you've got exactly 6 hours to interview 6 OTs for a position.
Would you waste your time interviewing someone who sent the same generic resume to everyone, without taking the time to drop a friendly note to the organization?
As you sit down to begin your cover letter, consider the what and the why. What could you bring to this role that other applicants might not, and why do you want this position? What sticks out to you in the job description that makes you more interested in this organization compared to others?
And always, and we mean always, provide a fresh cover letter for each job. While you can create a generic template to follow along with, make sure that each cover letter you create is customized and personalized for that specific position. Chances are, each job will vary slightly, so you want to make sure to read the job description thoroughly, and create a cover letter that highlights the right experiences and showcases your skills appropriately.
Your cover letter is your chance to go beyond your resume. While it's important to highlight your resume's major features, you don't want to waste space by regurgitating all of that information in sentence form. Instead, focus on expanding on the bullet points you listed in your resume, and build a "bigger picture" on the experiences and accomplishments that make you the candidate for the job.
Now, sit back, relax, and start writing. You've got this!
Looking for additional best practices when it comes to creating your resume and cover letter? Click the link below to download our Simple Guide to Occupational Jobs After OT School!