Careers in Functional Medicine: Why You Should Include a Cover Letter

Careers in Functional Medicine

Recruiters have varying opinions about the necessity for cover letters, but I can say with confidence that it’s important to include a cover letter with your resume in this field. When it comes to reviewing job candidates in Functional Medicine, there are many variables that an employer will consider. A cover letter allows you to explain relevant information that your resume simply cannot. Therefore, it’s important to determine what the purpose of your Functional Medicine cover letter is and to ensure that there are certain important elements included. Let’s dig in.

Overall, your cover letter is an opportunity for you to explain why the employer should consider you for their job opening. When reading through resumes and cover letters, as a recruiter and employer, I want to know off the bat why the candidate is interested in this position. I’m also interested in whether they intend to complete a certification program (and in what time frame) and why this job is aligned with their career goals. Do you have the experience, credentials, and skills to do this job well? If so, these need to be explained. A cover letter also gives you a chance to briefly share your story and demonstrate your passion and dedication to practicing in this field.

Here is a quick overview of other elements that should be at least touched on in your cover letter:

  • What sort of initiative have you taken to pursue a career in the field?
  • What additional education have you completed?
  • Do you have practice experience? 
  • If this position requires relocation, why are you committed to this geographic area? 
  • Do you have the experience or skills they’re requiring for the position? If not, explain why you think you are still a viable candidate.
  • Why are you seeking a new job?

When crafting your cover letter, it’s imperative to be succinct, concise, and targeted. While writing your letter for a career in Functional Medicine, keep the job opportunity in the forefront of your mind. You’re basically explaining why they should interview you, so it’s important to share what skills and experience you have that make you the perfect candidate for this role. 

Here are a few more quick tips to help you:

  1. Include your name, email, and phone number at the top of the cover letter. Never make a hiring manager dig to find your contact information. 
  2. The cover letter should not exceed a few paragraphs and should be easy to read. 
  3. If possible, address the cover letter to a person.
  4. Your cover letter should consist of three paragraphs: Intro, Body, Closing. 
  5. Use proper grammar and edit. All communication with an employer is being judged. How you write is indicative of how you will communicate with patients in a portal. This cover letter will be forming a first impression with the employer. Don’t make it your last.
  6. Don’t go overboard. The important information can get overlooked if you’ve written too much, and the hiring manager may just skip over your cover letter if it looks overwhelming. 
  7. Write a customized cover letter for each job. Never use a generic template. It’s fine to use a few of the same sentences for each letter, but a generic letter is not acceptable. A hiring manager will view your application as haphazard and potentially assume that you’re not specifically or truly interested in their position. 
  8. Do your research before you apply. This will help ensure that this job is the right fit for you and for them, so as to not waste anybody’s time. 

Keeping these tips in mind, you should be ready to write your cover letter. Coming at this task with confidence, preparation, and some of the ideas that you would like to convey will ensure that your cover letter is an accurate and complementary extension of you. Take this moment to adequately explain to the employer why they should hire you, and hopefully this will be followed up by the opportunity to relay this information in-person during an interview. 

Below is an example of a thorough and well-written cover letter.

Dear Dr. Smith,

I am writing to express interest in your Functional Medicine Physician opportunity. I am a Family Medicine Physician with 7 years of practice experience, and I am board-certified in Integrative Medicine. I am pursuing certification with The Institute for Functional Medicine and eager to find an opportunity where I can apply my Integrative and Functional Medicine education. I intend to certify in Functional Medicine in 2020 and am scheduled to complete my last two Advanced Practice Modules with IFM in October.

My spouse accepted a position near Los Angeles, and we will relocate in January. I have been seeking a position in Southern California and was excited to learn of your opportunity. I appreciate that you provide Functional Medicine within a primary care setting and have health coaches on staff to support patient education. Your model is exactly how I want to practice. A primary care setting allows us to introduce Functional Medicine to patients sooner rather than later. It is also a setting in which I could utilize all of my education, experience, and skills. In my CV, you will see that I also have expertise in women’s health. 

My background and dedication to patient-centered care would make me a valuable addition to your team. I am trying to incorporate what I have learned about Functional Medicine into my patient visits currently, but I am ready to work with a like-minded team in a supportive environment that allows more time with patients, so we can truly support them on their journey to optimal health. And I would appreciate the opportunity to work with an experienced Functional Medicine provider as I put my education into practice. 

I will be in the Los Angeles area November 14-17 and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person and discuss my qualifications and your position in more detail. 

Warm regards,

Jane Doe, MD

Your ideal job within the Integrative and Functional Medicine realm is out there. Let us help you identify it and secure it. We offer bi-monthly email notifications about the latest job opportunities and career tips in the field of Integrative and Functional Medicine. Sign up here for our monthly jobs announcement eBlast and newsletter.