How to Write a Cover Letter for a Forensic Pathologist

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A career in forensic pathology can be appealing to the physician who wants to practice the investigative side of medicine in a legal setting. Writing a cover letter for a forensic pathologist job is very important to the medical school graduate who has just spent more than 12 years learning how to be a doctor, and at least one year specializing in autopsies. It gives the new physician the chance to favorably position a resume and set the stage for an interview.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Internet connection
  • Research of local, state or national medical examiner or coroner offices
  • Forensic pathologist job descriptions and available positions
  • Hiring manager’s name
  • Resume
  • Word processing software program
  • Email service
  • High quality paper
  • Printer
  • Research background information about the state medical examiner’s or coroner’s office where you want to work. Find out the size of the office, the number of forensic pathologists they currently employ and review their current job postings and hiring needs. Get a copy of the forensic pathologist job description and related salary and benefits information.

  • Find out who is actually doing the interviewing and hiring, and get that person’s name. If you are unable to get the name, then address your cover letter to the chief medical examiner, coroner or human resources manager.

  • Put the exact title of the forensic pathology position in your cover letter. If there is no stated position, list your specialty or area of interest. This is especially helpful if you were asked to apply by a referral.

  • Write your cover letter from the perspective of the benefits the medical examiner’s office will receive from hiring you. Highlight board certification, the number of autopsies you have performed, whether you have had experience working crime scenes or testifying in court, any special commendations and the effectiveness of partnership efforts with local police and authorities.

  • Use bullet points to emphasize key accomplishments and demonstrate the value you would add as a member of the forensic pathology staff.

  • Be assertive in closing your cover letter by writing that you will call the medical examiner’s office or the hiring manager to arrange a mutually convenient time for an interview. Include your email address and telephone number.

  • Make your cover letter brief and succinct. To get it read, use no more than three to four paragraphs—just long enough to fit on one page. Stress quality instead of quantity. Your resume should provide all of the details. The cover letter should simply provide an overview. If written well, it should whet the medical examiner’s appetite to want to interview you in order to learn more.

  • Perform a spell-check and proofread your cover letter at least two times--once out loud for content to make sure it represents what you wish to convey, and once for grammar. Have two additional people read it and then revise as needed.

  • Have your cover letter printed on the same quality paper that you used for your resume. Place both in a 9 by 12 inch envelope instead of the regular #10 business envelope. This will set your information apart from the hundreds of letters the medical examiner or coroner may receive on a daily basis.

Tips & Warnings

  • When applying online, draft the cover letter in a word processing program first and then paste it into an email.
  • Use a closing in your letter such as “Regards” or “Sincerely Yours,” and make sure to include a signature.
  • While you should follow-through on arranging an interview as indicated in the cover letter, do not become annoying.
  • Avoid sending the same identical cover letter to every medical examiner’s office with open forensic pathologist positions. You should customize your letter to fit the job description and company requirements.

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