Writing a Cover Letter
The strength of your cover letter could help secure your interview with a hiring dentist. A strong cover letter will help you get noticed by presenting a professional image as a qualified candidate who is a good match for the dental practice.
A good way to start is to understand the practice. Its website should provide useful information. You can search the American Dental Association website to see a listing of dentists in the United States, or you can use a search engine such as Google or Bing.
Also, check with your college, state association, and colleagues for insight on the practice. If possible, speak with current employees to get the inside scoop. You may want to organize the information for easier reference:
- Practice's name: ABC Dental
- Practice's location: Chicago, Illinois
- Practice's approach to dentistry: Focus on family dental care
- Practice's objective: Expand market share in the under 45 segment. Position ABC Dental as dental care for the whole family.
- Practice’s annual revenue: Approximately $500,000
- Customer demographics: 10% ages 18 and under; 35% ages 19-45; 55% ages 46 and older
- Area colleagues: XYZ Dental Associates
- Practice promotional slogan: Creating Beautiful, Healthy Smiles
Identify your unique selling points. Be prepared to sell your unique education, experience and personal attributes to hiring dentists.
Determine what makes you stand out among other dentists who are seeking associate or independent contractor positions.
Start by creating a cover letter that can be customized for each practice. Your cover letter should include the following sections:
- Heading/Date/Inside Address
- Opening Paragraph
- Closing Paragraph
- Complimentary Close
Your cover letter should be personalized (i.e., "Dear Dr. Jones"). Avoid using "Dear Sir/Madam" and "To Whom it May Concern." Most employers do not look favorably on cover letters that appear to be mass produced.
It should also state the position you are pursuing and how you found out about the opening (e.g., a recommendation from a current employee, an online posting, etc.). Tell the employer briefly why you are interested in this position. Your opening may also include a synopsis of why you are an excellent candidate.
The body of your letter should contain the sales pitch. This is your chance to outline the reasons you should be considered for the position.
- Explain the skills and experiences that will make you successful in the position. Talk about your internships, classes, activities, etc. Even if your experience is not directly related to the position, think about the skills you have gained and how they could relate to the duties of the position. Don't duplicate what is in your CV, but highlight accomplishments and lead the reader to your CV.
- Demonstrate that you have done your research. Highlight how your credentials, motivation, and track record would benefit the practice. Identify your unique selling points and skills, and weave them into the body of your letter. Back up achievements with specific examples, and be prepared to verify any information you include in the letter.
- Keep your letter positive and upbeat. A cover letter should be businesslike, friendly and enthusiastic. Put yourself in the hiring dentist's shoes – would you call yourself for an interview?
Your final paragraph should generate a call for action, so express strong interest in an interview. State that you will follow up soon to confirm your CV was received and discuss the possibility of meeting face-to-face.
End your letter with a professional close such as "Best regards," "Sincerely," or "Respectfully yours."