Nursing Resume Tips

Nurse in an interviewHow to Impress Prospective Employers  

Some resume rules are valid across a broad range of industries. For example, all job seekers should proofread their resumes multiple times so as to avoid spelling or punctuation errors. Other considerations, however, differ significantly based on the desired position and the applicant’s experience.

If you’re aiming to launch a successful nursing career, resume feedback for aspiring educators or accountants may not apply. Detailed below are several resume tips specifically tailored for aspiring nurses:

Highlight Nursing Credentials and Certifications

Prospective employers should immediately be able to tell whether you’re an RN, an LPN, or a nurse practitioner. Ideally, all relevant credentials and certifications will be highlighted near your name.

Develop a Clear and Actionable Objective Statement

Include an objective statement that details the type of position you desire. This helps potential employers determine whether your goals align with the open position. Objective statements are particularly important for nurses with limited career experience, as the passion and drive demonstrated in these statements can often make up for a limited professional background. Many aspiring nurses prefer to place objective statements near the top of the resume so as to draw the most attention to them, but ultimately, placement comes down to personal preference.

When writing your objective statement, avoid vague language indicating that you would be happy with any job in the healthcare industry. Employers want to know that you’re passionate about a specific position and not just in it for the paycheck. Use action verbs and specific nouns that show exactly what you want from your next nursing job.

Emphasize Specialties and Areas of Expertise

What makes you different from every other applicant? Employers in the healthcare field value general nursing skills, but they are even more enthusiastic about niche experience, particularly in understaffed areas of the profession. If you’ve served a geriatric population or possess a niche background in correctional nursing, you may hold a major advantage over other applicants.

Include Relevant Technological Skills

Advanced technology is increasingly an integral element of nursing, especially at higher levels. If relevant, include examples of equipment you are comfortable operating, or unique skills you feel would prove beneficial in the workplace. A notable Wanted Analytics study found that electronic medical records were mentioned most frequently in job listings for nurses, so let employers know if you have any experience with EMR.

Detail Only Relevant Aspects of Employment History

Employers in the healthcare industry care little about your previous part-time jobs unless they in some way relate to your intended profession. Relevant internships and volunteer experiences are far more valuable, as they demonstrate your competency in the medical field.

If your career history only includes service industry experience or other typical college student jobs, make the most of what experience you do have and highlight how it will benefit you in the healthcare field. For example, a background in customer service can help you relate better to patients. Ultimately, some career experience is better than nothing at all, but non-nursing positions should only be highlighted if you’re new to the profession.

Brevity is equally advisable for entry-level nurses and longtime medical professionals; the American Nurses Association recommends that you leave decades-old positions off your resume unless they are clearly related to the job for which you are applying.

Professional Affiliations

Employers appreciate nurses who are active within the professional community. Create a short list of associations with which you are involved, along with a brief explanation of each organization’s function, why you’re a member, and how you contribute to the association’s success.

Provide Specific Examples of Your Accomplishments

Employers don’t just want to see a list of your credentials and past positions. They want to know what you’ve learned and how you’ve used your expertise to make a difference. Clue them in with specific examples of your accomplishments in the healthcare field. These could include rewards or special assignments completed at a previous nursing job. For example, if you were asked to train another employee in or act as a mentor, this is worth mentioning in your resume, as it shows that your previous employer regarded you as a trustworthy professional.

If you’re a recent college graduate, use educational accomplishments to bolster your limited professional experience. Grade point average typically plays a limited role in hiring decisions, but it can convince employers to overlook your lack of previous nursing positions. Employers are also easily impressed by fellowships, scholarships, and other academic honors.

A well-written nursing resume is the ultimate balancing act — you must show employers the breadth of your healthcare experience and expertise, but also remain as succinct as possible. Strike this fine balance, and you’ll be amazed by the positive responses you receive from prospective employers.

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