My little minty delight, allow me to provide some feedback. I'm able to figure out your Xs, *s, and #s, so I assure you, I am understanding properly as I type this.
My belief here is that you are positing your success with your job hunt has a lot to do with securing the interview with your resume. I'm inclined to agree, however, now that I am seeing it, I'm seeing good things and bad things. Allow me to share my thoughts as advice for future searches, not as criticism (I assure you, this is not criticism).
First, some background on me - I'm a 30-something who came to nursing after trying other areas first. Like many people, my younger days were bartending and retail, but then I moved on to some unusual/unique roles, and more professional roles. I won't be more specific than that because the combination of unique and professional roles will quickly identify who I am to those who know me.
For my track record on resume and cover letter writing, I have literally NEVER been passed over for an interview. Every single time I have submitted my own letter and resume, I have sat for an interview.
Out of every interview I have sat for, I have been offered a job every time except twice.
The first time, I was a tiny 19 year old hot chick who looked 15 applying for a job as a corrections officer. It was the right decision.
The second time, I applied for a nursing scholarship/residency program at a tiny hospital that doesn't have women's health or pediatrics. The interviewers sized me up and thought I wouldn't stay there after my contractual obligation because these populations weren't served there. I was actually pretty angry over this as by this time, I'd decided against both specialties. But, their HR/recruiter called AND emailed stating that you normally get a Dear John letter, but they were so impressed by me and my resume that they really struggled to make the decision to not hire me. Ironically, I've been on an adult critical care unit very happily.
My current job, first one in healthcare, I competed against 250 applicants for four slots. Some of those applicants already worked there. Since ICU wasn't taking on a resident nurse that year, my unit was the one to get. My resume got me in the door with 24 other applicants, my interview sealed the deal.
My point here is that I am my only resource in the format and feedback I am about to share. I hope I am legitimized by my track record.
Now, regarding your letter. You took the time to look up the organization. You stated an example of how you embody their vision/mission. That is a wonderful way to connect yourself with the organization showing how you are already part of their team. I find it may also help to look up something they're working on, or something that has been in the news. Show some enthusiasm regarding that goal or accomplishment.
For the letter itself, it absolutely has to be one page. It needs to be strongly worded regarding how awesome you are, but how humbled you are to receive this opportunity. NO ONE will brag about you, so you should. Not in an annoying way, of course. But don't hold back. If you've achieved something, mention it. Don't be "that guy" though. If you ONLY brag, you're going to be that guy who is unwilling to learn, adjust to change, show humility, show vulnerability, make mistakes with some grace and transparency.
You need to close this letter as though you've already got the job, and all the interview is is an opportunity to talk about it. I think it's very strong to end with, "I look forward to meeting with you soon and discussing our future together!" It tells the reader you already see yourself as part of the organization. It says you're committed to this opportunity.
Now, for the resume. Again, concise is good. If you need two pages, make the second page education and awards. The fact that you have a degree in nursing is obvious if you're applying for a nursing job. And, we nurses tend to be overachievers, so awards are nice to add, but not as important as the professional experiences you've had and your personal statement.
On the work experience, list your relevant job experience. No one wants to read through the 19 restaurants you blew through in your teens and early 20s. Relevant jobs should leave little to no gaps in employment years, go back a minimum of ten years, if applicable, and every job experience should be able to be described with strong nursing buzz words. Time management, leader, delegation, organization, responsibility, prioritization, customer service, multi-tasking, high-speed environment, management, management of employees, engaging, development of interpersonal relationships, budgeting, etc. Many jobs can include these buzz words. Heck, one of my unique jobs, you'd NEVER imagine I could relate that to nursing buzz words, but I did. Gotta think outside the box. You can't by obvious about it, of course. You just need to fit some of those words in and trust me, they'll be noticed.
So for jobs, you briefly describe your duties, and then you briefly describe the skills you gained. After all, we are all evolving as we start every new adventure.
Now, this individual post is enormous already, so I'm going to put the end result of all of this rambling in my next comment.
Last edit by ixchel on Feb 25, '16 : Reason: I'm going to find the guy who invented autocorrect and I'm going to kick his dog.
3/67 Spring Street
Launceston TAS 7000
M: 0422 222 222
Staff Development Coordinator
St Joseph's Hospital
123 Example Street
Hobart TAS 7000
Dear Mr Costa
Re: Graduate nurse program
Thanks for your advice over the phone earlier this week. As a new graduate nurse from the University of Tasmania, please accept my application for St Joseph Hospital's new graduate program. I am an enthusiastic candidate with all the skills necessary to join this program and contribute to patient care at the hospital.
During my clinical placements at Launceston General Hospital, Springdale Aged Care Home and North-West Regional Hospital, I learned a range of nursing skills on the job, while also developing the ability to think on my feet and problem-solve. I especially enjoyed my rotation on the emergency ward and hope to one day specialise in this area.
I work well as part of a team, communicate well, and have excellent attention to detail. I strive to offer the best customer service to patients and always ensure safe practice on the job. The deputy director of nursing at Launceston General Hospital was especially impressed with my skills on my placement there and offered me a professional reference.
I received excellent grades at university, including the Florence Nightingale Award for my marks in pharmacology. I achieved high marks in all my subjects and have an excellent academic record (see transcript attached).
I'm eager to find out more about the new graduate program and the employment opportunities at St Joseph's Hospital. I look forward to hearing from you.