How To Write a Great Occupational Therapy Cover Letter (with Template)
Writing an outstanding occupational therapy cover letter does just that: it makes you stand out from the crowd! There’s no shortage of OT students (or therapists) for that matter. It’s important to make sure your accomplishments and background are highlighted in the right way. You may be wondering what’s important to include. You may be even more concerned if you’re still in school or just graduated and don’t have much on-the-job experience yet.
Don’t stress about it. Even if you’re an OT newbie, there are lots of relevant points to highlight in a cover letter. The beauty of cover letters is that they don’t need to be laser-focused on your experience in the field where you’re looking for a job. Each person brings their own unique perspective with a blend of backgrounds, knowledge, aspirations, and past work. This is a good chance to show employers what you’re made of in a more detailed way than a resume does. Plus, resumes don’t give much wiggle room or space to explain yourself. They focus on the key details and that’s about it.
Cover letters can say anything you want, but it’s important they are formatted like a standard letter would be. If you’re not the type who keeps up on written correspondence (who does these days?), this is what you need to know.
What to Add to your Occupational Therapy Cover Letter
Your Contact Information
Start with your basic contact info in the top left corner: name, address, city, state, zip code, phone number, and email address. Place each of those on their own line. If you want, you can also add the link to relevant online profiles such as a portfolio or LinkedIn page. Again, give each bit of information its own line.
It’d be a real shame if your potential employer was impressed by your beautifully-written cover letter only to find they can’t get in touch with you. While your cover letter usually comes with your resume, application, and other materials, there’s always the possibility someone will come across just that one document. If that happens, we want your information to be front and center – or top and left in this case!
Once you add your contact information, the start of the letter will address the company directly. In most cases, you’ll have a name and can include “Dear Sharon Jones,” before diving into the next part. However, you may not have any specifics yet. In this case, it’s best practice to place “Dear Hiring Manager,” at the start since that’s who is most often reading applications and cover letters.
The Body of the Letter
From there, you will have the body of the letter, which is where you add all those details that don’t fit on your resume. Again, a cover letter is intended to supplement a resume, not replace it. So you don’t need to repeat basic information that someone can find on your resume.
The intention of this body section is to elaborate on your resume. If you’re not a big writer, it’s not a big deal. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Think of this as an elevator pitch for yourself that relates back to the job you’re interested in. The idea is to talk about yourself, but don’t forget to mention how all those key points would make you a good fit for the job. This means you need to be familiar with the job posting to know what key duties you’d be responsible for. So dig through the website or application portal and keep it handy while you’re creating your letter.
You can even figure out what to say by using voice typing and pretending you’re in an interview. What sort of summary would you give a hiring manager in an interview? What key points would you emphasize? Is there anything you’d want to explain further? Once you think you’ve covered it all, go back to edit and make any additions you may have forgotten.
Provide a brief introduction, but don’t forget to treat it conversationally – mention your name and list major credentials, if you have them. And include a sentence referring to the job you’re applying for.
2. Highlight Your Skills
Discuss how you’d be good at the job you’re interested in by highlighting your best skills and experience, then relating them back to the job duties. Use those application skills that you learn in OT school!
3. Use Keywords From the Job Posting
Hiring is one of many processes these days that relies on the help of automation tools. For this reason, it’s a good idea to include keywords directly from the job description right in your content. This makes software much more likely to send your cover letter through to the next round, where an actual person will have eyes on it and can review it more closely.
4. Explain Why You’re a Good Fit
Emphasize the match between your experience and the qualifications: If you’re applying for a job that you don’t have much experience for – like an OT job just out of school – you’ll want to highlight relevant fieldwork rotations, side jobs like teacher’s assistant or rehab aide, and organizations you’ve been part of
5. Call To Action
End with a call to action (CTA) that encourages the hiring manager to read your resume for more detail, schedule an interview, or reach out for a phone call
Don’t forget to put a nice ribbon on the end of your cover letter with a good closing. Your call to action makes a request, but you want to sign off tactfully. It’s best to include one of the following phrases or words:
- Best regards
- With thanks
- Thank you
Then, include your name and any relevant credentials. It’s not a bad idea to include your email address again right below your name, just for easy viewing.
How long should your cover letter be?
Cover letters are not intended to be wordy. OT school can sometimes teach you that wordiness is appropriate, but that’s not how things operate when you are job searching. This is not an opportunity to fit all the information you want to relay about yourself, because you need to save something for the potential interview.
Keep it concise and stick to the major points. Always be sure to relate back to the job description. Stay under one page (one-sided) but two to three paragraphs is the most ideal.
If you would like to take a look at an example template, check this one out here: Occupational Therapy – Cover Letter Template
What else you should know:
Some employers make specific requests for cover letters. They typically aren’t too outlandish, but it’s important to be mindful of them when writing your letter. This not only shows your ability to follow directions, but it demonstrates attention to detail. These are both key in any job.
We also mentioned before that hiring managers use automation tools. By following certain directions in the posting, this helps ensure your cover letter gets through to the right people.
There is clearly a lot to consider when writing your occupational therapy cover letter. But just remember, always keep it concise while relating your experience directly back to the job description. This will help your profile shine and increases your chances of getting a call back for an interview.
Happy job hunting!
Are you also looking for resume tips? Be sure to check out our other article, Crafting the Perfect Occupational Therapy Resume as well!