Top 10 Tips for Your Nursing Resume

The world needs more nurses like you, and you know it. You care for your patients with compassion and dedication. You give your all–your blood, sweat, and tears (it’s that kind of job.)

But no one will hire you.

Don’t fret. One day, the right hospital will need you and your set of skills, and when your brilliantly-crafted nursing resume lands in their lap, they’ll know they want you.

That is, if you actually wrote said brilliantly-crafted resume.

Recruiters spend an average of six seconds per resume. That’s right–SIX! You have about six seconds or less to make them want to hire you. That sounds undoable, but there are many ways you can make it happen.

If you are a nurse at any stage of your career, read on. We’re here to make the art of resume-writing easy so that you can continue doing the hard stuff!

You’re Halfway There

You’ve done the medical school, the volunteering, and the clinical rotations. You’ve spent countless hours studying, implementing techniques, and treating. You already deserve this position, and now it’s time to prove it.

Knowing how to write a resume is the next hurdle. And if your hard work has proven anything, it’s that you can excel when faced with the tough stuff.

All you need to do is translate your actions into words. It’s not as daunting as it sounds! You don’t need to know any special coding or HTML, we promise.

Let’s get to the grit. Here are ten tips for starting or improving your nursing resume.

1. Highlight Your Strengths

There’s nothing worse than a bland sentence. Imagine a recruiter coming across your resume and reading: “I excelled at taking care of patients.”

Well, of course you did. But that’s not all you did, and we know it! Your new ASAP is “be as specific as possible.”

If you worked on the oncology floor and helped move patients from bed to bed, changed bedpans, or provided a friendly ear to family members of patients, then make sure you highlight that. The more detailed your experience, the more fitting your future position can be.

If your resume is generic, a hospital might reach out to you for something you’re not qualified, or not willing, to do. If you’re still freaked out by the sight of blood (we doubt it!), you might not want to be the one sticking veins all day.

2. The More Concise Your Nursing Resume, the Better

This comes back to the six seconds thing.

If recruiters are on a time crunch, or simply have too many applications to sort through, they will spend less time on each one. The longer your resume, the less likely they will draw from it all of the wonderful points you are trying to make.

This step is less about excluding information and more about honing in on what matters for the position for which you are applying.

  • What are you particularly good at? You can avoid saying what you’re not-so-great-at by just concentrating on your talents here.
  • How many people did you oversee at any given time? If you can recall numbers, then use them. (Example: I supervised up to 10 staff in the 200-bed adolescent unit.)
  • Have you done relevant volunteer work, and if so, where?
  • What floors have you worked on? List the ones that make sense.

Although you may be tempted to include too much information, it’s best to keep your resume between one and two pages. You can delve deeper into your history during the interview process (that you’re sure to get after writing your shining resume).

3. Achievements and Certifications

There are such a large variety of certifications any nurse can get. If you have any special qualifications, they deserve to be on your resume. This not only shows that you’ve put extra time into furthering your career, it displays your unique interests.

Your credentials can include any of the following:

  • Licensure credentials
  • National certifications
  • State designations
  • Outstanding achievements

This category can also apply to your schooling. If you spent hours studying your heart out, let employers know. GPAs of 3.5 or above are encouraged to be noted in your nursing resume.

Any additional time you put into your education that you didn’t have to deserve to be rewarded. Don’t be afraid to gloat. You worked for it!

4. Choosing the Format

If you haven’t updated your resume since before med school, it’s time for a creative update.

Eye-catching framework can be all it takes to keep a recruiter’s eye on your resume over the one that’s simply typed on a Word doc. There are many easy software programs out there that can help with this. You plug in the information and it regurgitates a prime nursing resume.

Maybe regurgitate is the wrong word–you get enough of that at your job! But you know what we mean.

Formatting also comes down to the order your resume is in. There are a number of ways, from functional (skills and such listed first) to reverse chronological (starting with recent experience and going back).

5. Word Choice

You don’t have to be a book nerd to use imaginative language. It’s as easy as perusing your resume for the generic words and exchanging them for some awesome synonyms.

You can do this is any number of easy ways, from Googling to right-clicking words in your Word docs and choosing “synonym.” Watch the remarkable, wonderful, astounding, incredible results fly in.

6. Keywords Are Key Words

Because of the influx of nursing resumes, many hospitals are now using sorting software to sift through the applicants. This means that your application might be read by a robot instead of a living and breathing human being.

Get yours to the top of the list by using words that will stand out to the computer. You can do this by using the exact same language as the job posting itself. If the hospital is looking for a “registered LPN,” make sure you say those words in your resume!

This is a necessity, as 94% of hiring professionals say that their ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) make the hiring process much easier.

7. Education

Your nursing resume is not just about your past and/or current job experience. It’s also about where you went to school and what you studied. Your achievements began long ago when you first started pursuing this career choice.

Here is your opportunity to shed some light on your academic accomplishments and degrees. Each degree offers a completely different level of expertise.

Letting your future employer know exactly what you’ve achieved thus far will help them place you in the most fitting position.

8. Make It Personal

Your job is a very special one. Don’t be afraid to make your nursing resume as personal. You can do this in any number of places, from an Objective Statement to a cover letter.

This can also be highlighted in the design. Bolds, underlines, and special headers will stand out.

Breath life into it! No pun intended. (Okay. Pun intended.)

9. It’s All Digital

If you have any computer experience at all, tell them about it.

Stay ahead of the game by being on technology’s heel. Practice with software and the internet. Be willing and able to learn new programs.

Hospitals are doing things electronically–it’s just easier that way. Electronic Health Records and Electronic Medical Records make keeping track of patients and recalling patient information simpler than scouring through stacks of unorganized papers!

10. Supplement Your Application

As you already know, getting the job doesn’t rely solely on any one thing. An outstanding nursing resume, combined with your glowing recommendations and experience, can still leave you jobless.

Make sure to enhance your chances by being diligent in pursuing your chosen job. Send emails and make phone calls and appearances. Show how badly you want this job, and you may be more likely to get it.

Hospitals aren’t scared of aggression; they’re looking for it. In fact, the more you prove you want the job, the better. You’ll need to be just as strong in order to maintain such a taxing position as nursing.

Get Writing!

You’ve worked hard to get where you are today. Don’t shortchange yourself by slacking on something as important as your nursing resume. This alone could be the difference between a dream job and a not-so-stellar one.

Write your resume, and then proofread it to death. Make sure it displays who you are and what you can bring to the operating table. It’s worth just as much time, research, and dedication as your future job entails.

Take advantage of the many different ways to bring it up a notch. Stand out from the crowd with unique formatting, strong word choices, and relevant experience.

You’ve got this! Let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you help us.

After all, we may be needing your services someday.