Cover letters are career marketing letters to market the job seeker, highlight notable qualifications and career successes and generate invitation for a person interview. You should always enclose a cover letter with your resume whether it is mailed out generally or in response to a specifice opening. If you are submitting a nursing application and resume online, the application instructions will tell you if you should submit a cover letter or not.
Preparing your Cover Letter
Address your letter to a specific name and title, if possible. Many nursing applications go through a Nurse Recruiter so feel free to address your letter to "Dear Nurse Recruiter" or "To Whom It May Concern" if an actual name is not listed in the application packet. When writing to a woman, Ms. is the best choice if no professional title is known.
Keep your cover letter to one page. Three to four short paragraphs will give you all the room you need. You don't want to repeat the resume, only highlight it so the person reading the letter will want to turn the page and take a look at it. Don't be cute or humorous. Be straightforward and serious. Avoid clichés and flowery language such as "I have taken the liberty to enclose my resume...," and "I am most eager to face a challenging position in which to use my work and educational background experience."
Use a standard business letter format. Type it. Proofread! Use white paper or paper that matches your resume.
Just as there is no right way to write a resume, so may cover letters differ. While you can send reproductions of your resume, always type individual cover letters and tailor them to the specific job, organization, and/or locale. There is almost nothing worse for a resume than to have it accompanied by a canned cover letter or addressed to a different company.
If you are writing the letter in response to an announcement of a specific position, focus your letter on the qualifications that the position requires. For example, if the description is asking for an 'energetic' person, make your letter sound energetic, don't just say that you are. If the position requires some evening or weekend hours, tell them how eager you are to begin your career and that you will gladly put in whatever time it takes to get it started.
Carefully address the envelope. Type it and be sure the name and address are correct and spelled properly. If you choose to use a regular business size envelope, the envelope should match the paper of your letter and resume. A 9 x12 envelope is also proper.
Use the same font for the cover letter as you used in your resume.