How To Pique Your Potential Employer’s Interest With A Great Cover Letter


Many of you may be able to relate to this email I received from Kate Nesterwitz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Kate has just finished up her Masters degree in Couple and Family Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University and plans to specialize in sex therapy.  She writes . . . Image of Man Thinking w/ Open Head

I came across your page as I was searching for ideas for what to put into a letter to private practitioners.

I just received my MFT degree and would like to send letters to private practitioners in attempts to perk their interest in expanding their practice and hiring an unlicensed therapist. There are many advantages in doing so but I’m struggling to create a letter that both markets myself and requests a position while also explaining what is “in it for them” per say.

It’s clear from your site that you may have some ideas for what and what not to include. I would love to get any tips or suggestions from you!

Thank you so much for time and kudos to creating such a thorough and helpful website.”

Kate!  I’m so glad you wrote and I love your confidence! So let me help you with this.  You are right in stating that there are many advantages to hiring a new professional – especially one that is pursuing a mental health license!  You sound as if you already know what some of those advantages are so I won’t elaborate on those here (and if you don’t know, I wrote about a few of them right here in a blog post last year.)

It sounds like what might be more helpful to you is a great attention-getting cover letter. Here’s a few tips to help you write a cover letter that excites your potential employer about the possibilities of working with you . . . .

  • Highlight your skill set in the first paragraph.  The goal of your cover letter is to highlight the strengths and fresh ideas that you are going to bring to the agency.  Don’t get sidetracked.
  • Don’t start out in a boring and predictable way and don’t state the obvious.
  • Don’t be timid.  Write with a sense of authority about the position that you are applying for.
  • Your potential employer doesn’t care about you.  S/he cares about her business.  Don’t skew your cover letter to be about you – it’s about what you can do for your potential employer.
  • Use current, aggressive, and action-oriented language.
  • Position yourself as specific solutions to your potential employer’s problems.

And, finally, if you struggle to put these tips into practice, consider hiring a copywriter to help you put together a cover letter that sings.  It’s a tiny investment in your future that could land you in a job that you love.

(If you don’t know a great copywriter, let me introduce you to Kathryn Bass. Kathryn is an author, an editor, and a copywriter.  Her business is  Kadroodle and she has helped me when I couldn’t find my voice.)

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  1. Tamara,

    I found your blog a few weeks ago, and have been loving it ever since! As a new music therapist in the process of opening a private practice, your website has been an amazing resource that I have been consistently coming back to. All of your posts (including this one!) are thoughtfully written and completely relevant.

    Thank you for providing such great tools for therapists across all disciplines!

    • Megan! I’m so glad you dropped in! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to say such nice things! Your feedback will help me stay on track so I hope you’ll drop back in often to chat, share your thoughts and your challenges related to private practice. If I don’t have answers for you, I’ll help you find them elsewhere!.

      And, I hope you’ll send all your colleagues here to take a peek, too! Our online community is growing every day and my goal is to hear from every one of the disciplines in mental health and our allied health professionals, too!

  2. Thank you so much for this response, Tamara! I appreciate your advice and hope others can benefit from it as well!

    • Kate, you are so welcome! I hope you’ll send your colleagues here too so that they can also get their questions answered as well as share their own tips for building a successful private practice.

      I look forward to finding your voice here often as you grow your business!

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