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How To Write an Occupational Therapist Cover Letter

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What to include in the cover letterHow to format your letterAdditional skills to include in your cover letterOccupational therapist cover letter: your past experiencesHow to make your cover letter easy to readTelling the recruiter why you are the right fit for the occupational therapist roleWhat skills you need to demonstrate to get an OT jobRelated skillsSkill transfer to occupational therapyAdd your accomplishmentsThank the employer and summarize your letter in one sentenceAdd references

Guide Overview

Step by step guide to writing your cover letter

Whether you are searching for your first job in occupational therapy, or would like to obtain a higher position, your cover letter can open the right doors for you and get your CV read. It is important that your personality and attitude shine through your email and you give the recruiter a good enough reason to check out your resume. Find out how you can write an occupational therapist cover letter that will help you get an interview. 

What to include in the cover letter

There is usually confusion about what people should include in their cover letter, and how long it should really be. If it is too short, you don’t really have a chance to win the employer over. If it is too long and reads like an essay, they might just scan through and not even see your personal skills or qualification sections.

Generally, you should be including the role you applied for, your location, relevant skills, and qualification, as well as your preferred start date. This will tell the employer that you are an organized and well-presented individual who can answer open-ended questions clearly.

How to format your letter

It is important that you use a cover letter template that is well structured. There are loads of occupational therapist cover letter resources online for you to check out. You should always address the hiring manager or recruitment consultant by name and introduce yourself briefly.

Once you have the introduction, you can talk about your career so far, and back up your claim that you are a suitable candidate with your qualifications. You might also want to demonstrate that you are interested in the company and include a section about your findings after you studied their site and communication. You might even tell them how you could improve certain figures or stats, if they are publicly available.

Close your letter with a polite reminder of your skills and a list of your references.

For more expert tips on how to write a cover letter, check out our blog.

Additional skills to include in your cover letter

While you should keep your occupational therapist cover letter short, there are certain trigger words you might want to include. You should not only have your work-related skills listed, but also interpersonal and related qualities that would benefit your future employer. Skills that might be relevant to this role include caring, analytical, communication, active listening, and observation.

Occupational therapist cover letter: your past experiences

It is also a good practice to give your future employer a great reason why you decided to change your career or leave your current employer. Remember that you should never say anything negative about your past or current company; if you really need to share your experience, you can do it on our website.

When mentioning your previous roles, you will have to mention what the employer is interested in: how did you improve the department, what were your main achievements, and how you supported the management. Every employer wants problem solvers on board, and nobody wants those who create problems.

How to make your cover letter easy to read

Using white space and short paragraphs will make your letter easy to read. Start every paragraph with a clear statement, then expand on it, giving examples. This will help you get your message across, even if the hiring manager only has time to scan through your letter.

You could also use bullet points if you feel like you are going to have a long list of skills that you acquired during your past jobs.

Telling the recruiter why you are the right fit for the occupational therapist role

This part of the cover letter is the most important. You will have to create an argument that will convince the person reading your email that they should give you a chance. Remember that the reason they are hiring is that they want people who can solve a specific problem within the organization. Therefore, you can tell them that as an experienced occupational therapist you can put together care plans and communicate them with the patient quickly and effectively. This might tick a box or two. Try to highlight the skills that are mentioned in the job ad.

What skills you need to demonstrate to get an OT job

Apart from the experience, there will be certain skills you will have to highlight in your cover letter to get an occupational therapist interview. For example, you can tell the potential employer that you have good people skills and you have a high level of cultural competence, after working with patients all over the world.

Computer or technology-related skills can also be mentioned in your letter, such as patient management systems, planning or project management tools, and insurance and billing software, depending on the role you are applying for.

While you should mention the job-related skills and qualifications in your cover letters first, you should also add to the list, especially if you have limited work experience. Some of these skills include: analytical skills, good organization, charity promotion, community building, project management, teamwork, etc.

Skill transfer to occupational therapy

If you have any medical or health care experience, this can be easily transferred to an occupational therapist job. Using certain hospital or medical software can also give you an edge over other applicants.  You might also mention examples from your personal life when you supported people at the workplace, as this skill will surely be useful in an occupational therapist role.

However, you can think about other skills that you can also transfer, such as managing people, organization, research, decision making, and more. Look out for hints in the job post on what to include in your occupational therapist cover letter.

Add your accomplishments

You have to remember that when an employer gets your CV and cover letter, they will be looking to see how you have demonstrated your skills and abilities and how you can benefit their organization. It is crucial that you answer the needs and the skill shortage highlighted in the job description. You can learn to read between the lines and understand what the main problem of the hiring manager could be and how you can show that you can provide them with an effective solution.

Think about it: what was the highlight of your career? Did you achieve something in your previous role that was outstanding and made a positive impact for your company? If your answer is yes, be sure that the person reading your cover letter knows about it. This is your time to shine.

Thank the employer and summarize your letter in one sentence

Once you have introduced yourself, listed your work experience, qualifications, skills, and accomplishments, summarize the letter and restate why you think you are the right fit for both the company and the role. Don’t forget to say thanks for reading your letter, and let them know that you are available to answer any questions regarding the content. This will tell your potential employer that you are serious about this job and believe that you are the perfect candidate. Remember that a healthy dose of confidence will go a long way. Writing your cover letter is not the time to be modest.

Add references

Finally, once you have the closure of the letter, put an additional section to the bottom of the page. You might mention them in your resume, but it is good to gain trust by letting your potential new employer know that you have nothing to hide and you are happy to provide them with the contact number of your previous managers.

The best practice is that you only list two or three of your recent employers, and you check with them whether it is OK for another company to contact them. This will help them prepare for that call or email. Alternatively, you might also decide to mention that you can provide written references upon request, so you can speed up the recruitment process for the company.

If you read the job description for the role, you will be able to read the mind of the recruiter and adjust your occupational therapist cover letter accordingly. 

Learn more about different roles available and search for your next job here.

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