Whether you are a recent graduate in nursing or are advancing into the next step in your nursing career, an excellently written nursing resume is one of the most important tools you can have.
Consider this: employers often receive hundreds of resumes for a single position that is vacant. With online job boards now also advertising for these employers, sometimes the number of applicants is even higher.
When it comes to landing the job of your dreams, first impression truly is everything. Human resource professionals base this first impression on a single piece of paper: your resume.
What is a resume? A resume is a marketing tool that sells a product — you!¹ As a nursing graduate or a nursing professional, how will you use your resume to set yourself apart from the sea of other applicants?
Tips for Writing A Nursing Resume That Stands Out
- Keywords — Human resource agents know what they are looking for in a resume. In fact, many have now turned to automated databases that scan each resume received for keywords that fit the particular job description. Make sure that your nursing resume contains specific key words related to the job or position you are applying for. What qualifications or skills do you possess that are required by this position? Be sure to include those.
- Reverse Chronological Order — Make it easier for HR professionals or nursing supervisors to read through your resume by adding experience in reverse chronological order, meaning most recent experience or position held first. This will show the extent of your work history in an easy-to-follow format.
- Objective Statement — Answer the question, “what do you want?” Steer away from generic objective statements like “A position that will allow me to broaden my horizon and serve my community.” Get to the root of your career goals and state it. Perhaps you are interested in “An RN position in a pediatric critical care unit.” This is a solid objective statement because it clearly states what you want and what you can do.
- Qualifications Summary — This section is optional, but still useful because it condenses all of your relevant experience and skills into a smaller, easier-to-read section. The purpose of this summary is to invite the reader to proceed to the rest of your resume. Use this section to provide an overview abilities and skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for. For a school-based nursing position, something like “extensive experience with children and adolescents as a school nurse in a public school district” is appropriate.
- Format — Keep your resume to one page. Only include recent and relevant experience if you find that including miscellaneous information forces you to go over a page. If you really need more than a page to include your relevant work experience and qualifications, go ahead and use a second page, but remember to include your name and contact information there as well.
It’s nice to use a resume template because it will make your information clear and concise. However, you should always try to tailor your nursing resume to the particular nursing position you are applying for. Again, use keywords and terminology that are specific to your experience and that will relate to the position at hand.
Remember that only when you have a clear understanding of your career goals can you write a resume that truly represents your skills and qualifications as positively as possible. So before even beginning to write your resume, consider taking a few minutes and figuring out a career plan and your desired outcomes.
For more information on writing an A+ nursing resume, check out the full resume-writing guide at Johns Hopkins University. Also in the guide is a sample template to help you craft a resume that is entirely your own.