8 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Nurse Resume
The nursing profession can encompass hundreds of different skills and career details. After nursing school, and following a bit of experience, you’ll have gained much of the skills and certifications needed to get your dream job–but the competition is fierce. Because of this, it is important to be able to communicate your value through your resume and hopefully catch the eye of the right employer.
A resume is designed to market your skills, experience, and qualifications to a potential employer. You want it to be simple yet persuasive, and you want to be able to stand out for all the good reasons. This article will help you understand the basics of resume writing, and provide specific tips on how to make your resume stand out to health care recruiters. Take a look!
1. Stick to the Basics
Less is definitely more when it comes to writing a resume. Yes, you are trying to impress the employer, but not with anything more than your nursing skills and experience. Do not use fancy or playful fonts; a 12-point Times New Roman or Ariel font with bold titles will do fine. Always use black as your font’s color, and keep your margins at one inch.
Employers have hundreds of resumes to review and for some applicants; a simple glance at goofy looking letters is all it takes for some resumes to end up in the garbage. A crisp and clean document contributes to the overall readability of your resume and can speak volumes about the professionalism a prospective employer can expect from you.
2. Use Chronological Format
Chronological formatting is the most common resume format due to its organization and easy readability. With this format, you’ll put your most recent experience first and list every subsequent detail in order. The chronological format can encompass your education, experience, and certification sections of the resume.
3. Use a Summary, Not an Objective
What is the difference between a summary and an objective? The summary will consolidate your qualifications and give a basic explanation of your relevant experience. It is used to show that you are qualified for the position based on your background.
On the other hand, an objective describes what your goals are. These are better for students who don’t have the experience, or for people looking for a career change. Writing an objective is fine, but for nurses who gain hands-on experience in school, the best route to go is a summary.
Recruiters spend less than six seconds on average reviewing a resume. Show them that you know what it takes to get the job done that they need, rather than what you hope to get done and aspire to do.
4. Include Licences and Certifications
Nursing, unlike many professions, requires all kinds of licenses and certifications. For many nursing positions, you’ll be taken out of consideration automatically if you do not have the necessary certifications. It’s important that you familiarize yourself with the qualifications needed for the job you’re applying to, and ensure that you meet those qualifications. For instance, if you’re applying to be an ER nurse, make sure you are a Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) and that you showcase relevant experience or training. Similarly, if you’re applying to a specialty position, like a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), make sure you have a master’s degree and can prove you have the clinical hours needed for the position.
5. Use Accomplishment Statements
When writing your resume, your experience section is the meatiest and most convincing part of the whole thing. It is best to include four or five specific bullet points for each previous experience, and it is vital that those bullet points are written as accomplishment statements.
Accomplishment statements do just what they say – state accomplishments rather than responsibilities. You want to be able to show your employer that you can provide value; accomplishment statements can quantify your experience. Consider how often you did certain tasks, who you worked with, any promotions, and any other relevant notes.
6. Use Action Words
Action words go at the beginning of your accomplishment statements and should be in the past tense unless it is your current job; this proves to the employer that you got something done.
Here are some examples of accomplishment statements using action words:
- Assessed the vitals and took lab specimens for testing of over 10 patients daily.
- Helped pregnant patients with exercises to manage weight gain and ensure fetal health.
7. Tailor your Resume
When looking through a job posting, lookout for noticeable keywords that the employer features that can be incorporated into your resume. For instance, if they are looking for someone with OB/GYN experience, include that in your experience section if it is relevant to you. Find details about the employer that merges with your own experience, and seek out information from their social media platforms, their website, and any other relevant information you can find.
8. List Technical/Hard Skills
Nursing is a skill-based profession. Though teamwork and communication are essential skills for any job, they are soft skills that are expected anyway, so no need to include soft skills on your resume. You should instead showcase the skills that were earned through hands-on experience; this includes any software, languages, and even technical equipment.
Wrapping It Up
A resume is the first impression you make to a potential employer. And as a nurse, you want to stand out as much as possible in this competitive field. Understanding what makes a great resume is the first step to getting noticed by your dream employer. You can be qualified for the job, but having a mediocre resume can be the difference between landing the job or not.
Do you have some tried-and-true resume tips? Drop a comment below!