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Written by Anna MuckermanAnna Muckerman

Physical Therapy cover letter example

Use this Physical Therapy cover letter example to finish your application and get hired fast – no frustration, no guesswork. This cover letter example is specifically designed for Physical Therapy positions in 2024. Take advantage of our sample sentences + expert guides to download the perfect cover letter in just minutes.
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Physical Therapy cover letter example
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Whether you’re an experienced physical therapist looking for your dream job or you’ve just graduated with your DPT and you’re excited to land a new job, this is an excellent time to be a job seeker in the field.

In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that demand for licensed physical therapists will increase by 22 percent over the coming decade – that’s leaps and bounds ahead of the average for most professions (the average number hovers around 3-5 percent)!

So how do you land one of these coveted positions and start delivering quality patient care? A great cover letter is your chance to make an excellent first impression with a hiring manager and prove that you’ve got the relevant skill set to be their next physical therapist. 

This document enhances your application by helping you highlight your most pertinent experiences and allows you to quickly stand out from the crowd.

This guide, along with an effective cover-letter example will:

  • Explore the purpose and importance of the best cover letter for a physical therapy position
  • Break down the perfect cover letter format with free examples, samples and cover letter templates
  • Detail one of the most important skills to convey in a physical therapist cover letter
  • Help your application stand out by teaching you the common mistakes to avoid.

Now it’s time to write an exceptional cover letter that gets you noticed and hired – fast!

The primary purpose of a physical therapist cover letter

One of the most difficult parts of landing any new job is creating an application that stands out from the dozens of other candidates who may apply. This is especially true in a field like physical therapy where most everyone has obtained the same degree and many of the day-to-day tasks are routine. 

While all the facts on paper might be the same, for the patients, there’s certainly a difference between a physical therapist who is passionate and invested in their work and one who’s just looking to get the day over with. During the job search, your goal is to show hiring managers all the ways in which you’re the former. 

But how?

While writing your resume, you probably noticed that there’s not much room for personality or perspective. A physical therapist resume is great at conveying important dates and details, but it doesn’t help you set yourself apart. That’s where a great cover letter comes in. This document is free-form enough that you can express your unique goals and interests without having to worry about laying out your entire work history.

Generally speaking, a cover letter is one page long – or roughly 200 to 400 words. The goal is not to repeat your resume, but to expand upon only the most relevant and positive experiences as related to your potential position, as well as cover the gaps in understanding you as a great professional that your resume might have. 

Expert tip

Don’t forget to format!

While good writing is a major component of a professional cover letter, you’ll also need polished formatting to make a good impression. Fonts like Georgia, Verdana, Arial, Roboto, Open Sans and Helvetica with a size between 10 and 12 point make for the best combination of style and readability and they are often recommended even by experts from Google and other IT giants exactly for these qualities. You should also pay attention to the balance of white space to text on the page. Professional formatting tools like Resume.io’s cover letter templates and online cover letter builder tool can make the process easier.

You can find even more specific formatting tips in our overall guide on cover letters.

Secondary purpose

Sometimes a job description doesn’t exactly mention whether or not a cover letter is required. Maybe, it’s even listed as optional. Does that mean you don’t need to submit a cover letter?

While other job seekers may try to save themselves time by submitting only a resume, in fact they’re just prolonging the job search. 

That’s because a well thought out cover letter is one of the best ways to maximize your chances of landing your dream job. This document helps you to level the playing field even when competing against candidates with much more work experience. Your application letter is where you get to display the passion and motivation that you bring to your job each day and make the best case for yourself as the perfect candidate or the position.

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your cover letter leaves an impact is to tailor it to each and every physical therapist position you apply to. In fact, this is  what you should do with resumes as well. A generic, copy-paste cover letter might seem easier, but hiring managers can often spot a lack of effort from the very first sentence. 

In order to tailor your letter effectively, make sure to do a quick Google search of the company and use the job description to gain insight into the most important skills and experiences needed for the position. Then use your most relevant examples from your work history to demonstrate your potential contributions to the new position. The small time investment to create a great cover letter will pay dividends when a hiring manager or recruiter notices your interest right from the start!

Best format for a physical therapist cover letter

Some candidates dread the cover letter writing process – or even avoid it entirely – because they think it lacks structure or is too confusing. Luckily, you don’t have to be among them. In this section, we’ll break down the steps to write a great cover letter and show you techniques that can work no matter your experience level. Beyond that, our online tools offer pre-generated content and features like our spell-checker to make writing your cover letter a breeze.

Here are the key cover letter elements:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting
  • The introduction
  • The letter body
  • The conclusion / call to action
  • The signature / cover letter sign-off.

You can find even more tips for each of these sections as well as free example sentences in our overall guide on cover letters.

Below is a physical therapist cover letter example you can use as a foundation for your own application.


Dear Mr. Dean,

After my college football career was cut short by a cruciate injury, my journey in sports physical therapy has been a healing process for me (mentally) as well as for my patients.

The therapist position with Hawkings would be an ideal move after three years managing the sports injury team at Nord Dam. I received my DPT from the University of Washington and have 3,000 hours of patient care in the local sporting community. When you have a connection with the patient, it makes the job so much easier and more fulfilling.

As an ex-player who has now fully recovered from a debilitating injury, I understand how to coax incremental mobility improvement and improve musculoskeletal outcomes when the obstacles for a player are both physical and mental. Players have to believe that they will get back to full fitness before they can fully engage.

I have been a member of APTA since 2012 and regularly take part in seminars and conferences around the latest thinking in sports therapy and psychology. While physical therapy is not a career that lends itself to quantitative measurement, I can share a couple of career statistics which might shine a light on my level of experience:

  • Carried out 600+ diagnostic and prognostic exams to evaluate functional abilities.
  • Training and personal development of therapy team. 32% increase in staff retention.
  • 98% client satisfaction score. Can share 150+ personal references and case studies.

When I create a physical therapy care plan with a player, I make sure that it is comprehensively tailored towards their needs. You cannot do this without an intensely personal and compassionate approach and as such I still feel a part of the wider team. It is like being back on the field again.

I would relish the chance to discuss becoming a member of the Hawkings team.

Best regards,

Herman Walton


Cover letter header

Your cover letter header serves two important roles. The first is to help identify your document in case it floats around from desk to desk as a team of hiring managers review it (a common situation in large hospitals and health systems). Your header ensures that no matter where your letter ends up, the reader knows your name and can easily get in touch with you should they want to set up an interview. It also ensures your cover letter is remembered and associated with you in the hiring manager’s head.

The second purpose of your header is to create attractive visual formatting that makes your most important details stand out and sets your letter apart from other plain documents.

The goal of this section: Keep your name, phone number and personal data front and center so any hiring manager can easily get in touch, create attractive formatting.

Expert tip

Align document styles!

One of the simplest ways to make your application even more polished and professional is by aligning the header styles between your cover letter and resume. If you’ve got some graphic design experience, you may try this out yourself. If not, online tools like Resume.io’s resume samples and cover letter templates can make the process much faster. 

Since your header is one of the only places you may be able to add color or design elements to an otherwise plain document, it pays to do some quick research before selecting your template or layout. Try to get a feel for the company’s branding and external image so you can choose a color palette and style that’s in line with their goals and values.

In terms of design, hospitals and medical facilities often favor a disciplined, organized style in their documents and branding with light green or blue colors to emphasize the idea of health and relief. As examples of this, you can check out the Stockholm, Paris or Milan templates in our professional category with light-blue highlights. Then, match them with the corresponding resume templates in our professional resume collection.

Cover letter greeting

The right cover letter greeting allows you to establish a personal connection and a respectful tone right from start. This section may be short, but it’s important to pay attention to the details. If at all possible, try to address the reader by their correct salutation and last name. “Dear” is generally the most appropriate greeting word unless you know the hiring manager personally, in which case you may opt for “Hi” or “Hello.” Notice that our cover letter sample sticks with "Dear." 

The goal of this section: Address the letter recipient by name to create a personal connection.

Expert tip

The importance of names and addressed greetings.

Science has shown that human beings love hearing the sound of our own names – our brains even release a positive chemical reaction to it. Even without the research to back it up, most of us know that personalization makes us feel good – and more importantly receptive to a message. Nobody responds positively to a cold and heartless “To Whom It May Concern” at the top of a document.

In this case, you’re trying to convey the message that you’re the perfect candidate for the job. By using the hiring manager’s name you clearly demonstrate that you’ve put some effort into your application which helps to get things off to a good start.

However, there are many situations in which hiring will be done by a sizable team of people and it may not be feasible to find out who exactly will read your letter (or the hiring manager may prefer to stay anonymous due to company policy). In that case, you may opt for something more general like “Dear XYZ Hiring Team,” or “Dear Hiring Manager.” If the company uses a lot of warm and familial branding, a collective noun like “Care Family” may even be appropriate.

Cover letter introduction

One of the key components in how much attention a hiring manager will give your letter is how interesting your opening sentence is. You don’t want to come across as brash or presumptive, but a bland intro won’t do your application any favors either. Luckily, it’s not hard to grab attention with a relevant anecdote or interesting statistic. Just make sure to keep your example concise and weave it into the body of your letter for a seamless transition.

The introduction in our cover letter example explains immediately the candidate's interest in physical therapy.

The goal of this section: Hook the reader’s attention in the first sentence with an interesting tidbit of information that leads them into the rest of your letter.

Adaptable cover letter sample text for an introduction.

After my college football career was cut short by a cruciate injury, my journey in sports physical therapy has been a healing process for me (mentally) as well as for my patients.


Cover letter body (middle part)

Now it’s time to finally jump into all your most relevant skills and qualifications. The body section is where you can expand on the key points that make you a great candidate. To simplify the writing process, you can break this section down into two subsections.

In the first paragraph, you can discuss your achievements and milestones using the STAR method. Start by describing a Situation, then the required Task, your Action and the subsequent positive Result. Use the job posting to help you choose the most relevant examples for this new position. Notice this method in use in the physical therapy cover letter sample text below.

In the second paragraph, you can dive into your relevant skills and the ways in which you could potentially contribute to this new work environment.

The goal of this section: Describe achievements and experiences that demonstrate your skills and potential contributions to the new position.

Adaptable cover letter example text for a body paragraph

As an ex-player who has now fully recovered from a debilitating injury, I understand how to coax incremental mobility improvement and improve musculoskeletal outcomes when the obstacles for a player are both physical and mental. Players have to believe that they will get back to full fitness before they can fully engage.


How to close a physical therapist cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

Now that you’ve made the best case for your employment, it’s time to succinctly wrap up your letter and leave the hiring manager wanting to learn more. The best way to do this is with a Call to Action. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the position and invites the recruiter to get in touch. You might even leave your contact information again here, space permitting.

Then it’s time to close out your letter with the appropriate sign-off. “Sincerely,” “Best regards” or “Thank you for your consideration” can all work well. 

The goal of this section: Create an effective Call to Action that encourages a hiring manager to get in touch, close your letter with the appropriate signature.

Adaptable cover letter example for a Call to Action

I would relish the chance to discuss becoming a member of the Hawkings team.


Writing psychology – cover letter tools and strategies

To express your passion for physical therapy, there are a few key traits you’ll want your cover letter to convey.

  • Supportive: As patients go through the recovery process, they may face challenges and setbacks to their progress. By conveying a general sense of support and passion for your patients, you show an employer how you’ll keep up customer satisfaction – both for you and the practice.
  • Patient: Treatments don’t always work as quickly as hoped, customers don’t show up or a coworker is having a bad day. Being able to keep your cool and adjust to the situation shows an employer you will contribute positively to the work environment.
  • Adaptable: You’re responsible for a patient’s progress, which means you’ll need to identify the problem and develop a plan to treat it effectively. Highlighting your ability to adapt to each patient’s needs shows how you invest yourself in your work.
  • Confident: A confident and measured approach puts patients at ease and makes them more likely to recommend you to friends and family. A cover letter with a confident tone also shows a potential employer that you’re a highly qualified care provider.

The power of empathy

In today’s workplaces, more and more leaders are recognizing the power of empathy to boost employee morale and even to drive business. The Harvard Business Review reports that a recent survey of 150 CEOs yielded more than 80 percent who found empathy to be crucial in a business’ success.

As a physical therapist, however, empathy takes on a new meaning. You’ll need to demonstrate empathy with your patients to make them feel comfortable and understood during the treatment process.

While empathy is important for your day-to-day work, it also plays a role in the hiring process. Companies are noting the fact that empathetic workplaces lead to better teamwork and more productivity. In healthcare, empathetic employees increase patient satisfaction and the overall reputation of the hospital or practice.

As you write your cover letter, you can convey empathy both in your general tone and through specific examples. Brainstorm specific, relevant moments where you connected with a patient or supported them through a tough recovery process. 

The ability to display your humanity and compassion in these moments will help you stand out from other applicants with the same training but less attention to the interpersonal skills needed for physical therapy.

Statistical insight

Empathy as a job skill

Studies have shown that healthcare practitioners who lack empathy tend to underestimate their patients’ level of pain. This is especially relevant for physical therapy where pain management is one of the cornerstones of the job. By demonstrating passion, empathy and compassion in your cover letter, you’ll be able to show an employer how you’ll keep patients coming back and contribute to the success of the workplace.

Physical therapist cover letter format and common mistakes

You can set yourself apart from much of the competition by avoiding these common cover letter pitfalls:

Typos and grammar mistakes: A cover letter riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes makes it hard for an employer to believe you have the communication skills you say you do. Worse yet, it may make the hiring manager give up on reading your letter after only a couple of sentences. You can easily avoid this trap by asking a friend to proofread your letter before submitting your job application.

Generic letters: It’s not enough just to write a cover letter. To land the position, you’ll need to tailor your letter to each individual job posting you apply to. Hiring managers will take notice of your interest in their position and appreciate your attention to detail.

Poor formatting: Good formatting shouldn’t be an afterthought. The right font styles and sizes, appropriate use of color and balance between white space and text all contribute to the professionalism and readability of your letter. When in doubt, templates like these from Resume.io can make perfect formatting a breeze.

The wrong tone: This is especially a problem for recent grads or new physical therapy assistants looking to land their first position. Some applicants come across as unsure and unconfident of their abilities since they’re just starting in the field, while others are proud of their degrees and accidentally come across as arrogant and presumptive. Work to find a tone that expresses confidence in your knowledge while still showing appreciation for the hiring manager’s consideration. 

Additionally, it’s important to gauge the level of formality the employer may expect in business correspondence. Coming off as too relaxed and informal when writing to a serious facility or too rigid and cold when the employer is looking for a warm empathetic employee - both of these may hurt your chances. Stay in the middle (respectful yet not overly formal) if you’re unsure.

Physical therapist cover letter with no experience

You may not have experience as an independent physical therapist, but to get where you are today, you have had to go through a lot of training. Rely on that training in your cover letter. Then, explain, as is the case in the cover letter example within this guide, why you chose physical therapy. Talk about your philosophy and the techniques you have learned and practiced.

Be sure to use any job that you have held as an example of your general work skills such as communication, organization, problem-solving, time management and relationships with others..

Key takeaways

  1. A cover letter is a crucial part of any effective application. Unless the job posting specifically asks you NOT to include one, you should always write and submit a cover letter to maximize your chances of landing the position.
  2. Tailoring your cover letter to the specific job description and company is one of the most important things you can do to stand out to a hiring manager. Make sure to do a bit of research about the potential employer before starting to write.
  3. Use the time-tested cover letter structure to simplify the writing process and ensure your letter is well-organized and highly readable.
  4. An empathetic approach shows an employer that you have a passion for the position and separates you from other candidates with the same training.
  5. Avoid typos and formatting mistakes to keep your letter polished and professional. Online tools like Resume.io’s cover letter templates and builder tool can help.

With resume.io, you can create a perfect cover letter in just a few minutes. No uncertainty, no hassle. 

Using our cover letter tools, you can make the journey to your dream job fast and easy!

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