How To Write a Great OT Cover Letter

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 new grad OTs and practicing therapists that are in the job market. 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 in your specific OT cover letter. You may be even more concerned if you’re still in school or you just graduated and don’t have much on-the-job experience yet. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with these tips and tricks.

First and foremost, try not to stress about it.

Even if you’re an OT newbie, there are lots of relevant points to highlight in an OT 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.

occupational therapy cover letter tips

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.

1. Introduction

Provide a brief introduction, but don’t forget to treat it conversationally – mention your name and list any 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, volunteer experience, side jobs like teacher’s assistant or rehab aide, and any organizations that 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

The Closing 

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:

  • Regards
  • Best
  • Best regards
  • Respectfully
  • Warmly
  • With thanks
  • Sincerely
  • 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.

ot cover letter tips

How long should your occupational therapy cover letter be?

Cover letters are actually 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.

Check out our Occupational Cover Letter Template

If you would like to take a look at an example template, you can check this basic template that we created for you here: Occupational Therapy Cover Letter Template. Be sure you tailor it to your specific details situation with the above information we mentioned. 

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.

If you decide to use AI tools to help you with ideas, which some applicants are doing, make sure you take the time to edit it to sound like you/a real person since AI really isn’t that great of a writing tool when you really read into what it spits out. 

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As you can see, 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 job profile shine and increases your chances of getting a call back for an interview.

Happy job hunting!

PS: Are you also looking for resume tips? Be sure to check out our other article, Crafting the Perfect Occupational Therapy Resume as well! We also have a great, free job interview guide to check out here: The Complete Guide To Ace Your OT Job Interview

This post was originally published on January 20, 2022 and last updated on May 1, 2024.

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