You want to apply for a nursing job, but you’re not sure how to write your resume?

Don’t worry, there are many more like you out there. Writing a perfect resume is one of the hottest topics today.

There are workshops, panel discussions and counsellors covering this topic and answering its most asked questions:

  • How do I make my resume noticeable so that it immediately attracts attention?
  • What is relevant to put there and what isn’t?
  • Which layout is best to use?
  • How long is too long?

Nurses aren’t usually the type of people who worry about resume layouts, designs and the exact words they put in their resume. They rely mostly on their experience to do the talking for them.

But what if you don’t have any?

Or, imagine how you would stand out from other nurses if you actually took the time to perfect your resume.

If you are applying for a nursing position, the chances are that you’re not the only one doing so.

Today, we will help you stand out with your resume and make sure that you get that call for the interview! We will cover:

  • How to make sure you have everything that the HR is looking for in your resume
  • Samples that are better than 90% of resumes
  • Which skills to point out and which not
  • How to best explain your past experiences in a couple of sentences and bullet points

If you want to save time from finding a perfect layout or creating one, feel free to try our resume builder. It’s very easy to use, and you will find everything there!

First, let’s start off by showing you some examples of well-written resumes, and later, we will reverse-engineer them and discuss each section – how it should be written and what you should pay attention to.

Let’s begin!

Nurse Practitioner Resume Example

Right

Registered Nurse Resume Example

Right

Do you see how these resumes are “short and sweet”?

By going through them, you had no problem finding the most important information in a matter of seconds, right? Well, HRs love this kind of resumes because of that.

They are short, informative and concrete.

By reading these examples, you might’ve got to some of your own conclusions of what is good to write in your resume. You might’ve noticed they have something your resume doesn’t.

To help you perfect it even further, let’s now go into more detail on how to write each separate section of the resume.

Get ready for a lot of cool information! You’ll want to have something where you can grab notes, let’s go!

GUIDE ON WRITING THE PERSONAL INFO SECTION

You start off your resume with your information. Name everything you want the recruiter to have.

There are some necessary every resume needs to have here, no matter what:

  • Your full name – First and last name
  • Your profession – for example, “Registered Nurse”
  • A nice clear photo of you – preferably a headshot. Avoid using small sized or blurry pictures; you need to look professional (check if this isn’t common practice in your country – there are some countries where this isn’t allowed)
  • Your contact number – give them a phone number where they can reach you
  • Your address – currently where you live
  • Your professional e-mail address – avoid using less known e-mail domains, stick with trusted ones like Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail. Also, avoid using an “unrepresentative” one like “smileyface48@gmail.com”.
  • Your LinkedIn profile – it’s 2019, so if you don’t have it, you should definitely make it. Your LinkedIn profile is an extended version of your resume.

If you want to give more information than this, feel free to do so. Here are some things you can mention if they are important for the job (or you really want the recruiter to have them):

  • Your license type and number
  • Other social media profiles – If you’re posting relevant things on your Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, feel free to link these profiles as well

To save yourself the hassle of copying these required fields, use our resume builder and fill out your personal information in just a couple of minutes!

GUIDE ON WRITING THE SUMMARY SECTION

This section should be used to give a brief overview of your experience, what you are currently looking for, and how you can contribute to that institution. It’s great to mention how many years of working experience you have and in which areas.

Let’s look at two examples, a bad one and one well-written summary:

Summary

A multi-lingual nurse with 10+ years of experience working in more than 3 separate institutions. Currently, I’m looking for opportunities where I can apply my management and people skills. The ideal working environment for my taste is the one where people’s needs come first!

Right
Summary

A nurse with 10 years of work experience looking for a new satisfying job to apply my skills.

Wrong

See how the first one offers is more in-depth and helps the recruiter know you better? It summarizes who you are, what you did, and what you’re looking for far better, which is what HRs love to see.

If you lack any previous experience, then use the summary sections to explain what type of work you’re looking for and how you’re prepared to contribute to it. For example, write a summary similar to this one:

Summary without experience

A fresh graduate, looking for his first-time working experience where I can put my academic knowledge to good use! I have experience in different teams, handling multiple projects at the same time, and I strictly respect deadlines. My ideal working environment is the one where people’s health is the most important factor!

Right

Even though you might not have direct working experience in a hospital or a retirement home, almost anyone has experience in taking care of people. It could be that you were an assistant to a doctor, or maybe you volunteered at a clinic.

Maybe even you took care of your elderly family members or neighbors. All of those are relevant experiences.

Here’s another example of a good summary if you don’t have any experience:

Summary without experience

A multi-disciplinary nurse graduate who just completed her studies with 90 GPA. I’ve discovered my passion for people-care when I volunteered in a retirement home and ever since I’ve pursued this passion! Currently, I’m looking for my first professional nursing experience, and I can’t wait to put my theoretical knowledge into practice!

Right

Consider highlighting your student achievements (grades and awards) in the Education part of the resume. Also, feel free to ask someone credible you know to write you a recommendation letter. It could be a doctor or a professor.

Action words like “caring”, “leader”, “proactive”, “responsible”, “people-oriented” are something everyone likes to see in a person and are welcome to be mentioned at your summary.

Don’t be shy to explain how you’d like to move up in this profession and some long-term goals you might have. If you want, you can also explain in one sentence why you chose this career path and how much you value caring for people and patients.

To help you save time and effort, use our resume builder and avoid having the need to constantly check for grammar mistakes or if you missed to fill out any important field.

GUIDE ON WRITING THE EXPERIENCE SECTION

Definitely, the best way to format this part is to use reverse-chronological order when mentioning your work experiences. Start with the latest or current one, and end with the last relevant one. For example:

Reverse-chronological order

June 2009 – June 2012
Nurse Practitioner
Northside Hospital

May 2007 – May 2007
Nurse Assistant
NYU Langone Health

Right

It’s best that you stick with this order of information you’re giving:

  1. Time spent there
  2. Position you held
  3. Where you worked

After this, you will explain your experience there, but just in a couple of bullet points. If you had to explain to a recruiter what you did there, what would you say? Of course, you would explain the job description, but you’d also want to mention the great stuff you accomplished there right? Well, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Instead of just sticking to explaining your job description, name concrete results, you achieved that are in line with the job description. To help the person looking at your resume, understand better objectively what exactly you did, use numbers and percentages.

Compare these two statements:

Wrote over 2000 patient records
Right
Writing patient records
Wrong

You easily see which one gives you more information on someone’s experience.

The recruiter now knows roughly how much records you wrote, instead of just knowing that you wrote records. In every nurse’s job description is to write records, but not every nurse will state how much records they wrote.

Let’s mention another example:

Tutored 10% more student nurses each year
Right
Tutoring student nurses
Wrong

If these figures don’t fit the context, describe the result. Let them know how you achieved something, that way, they will get a glimpse of your work style.

Let’s compare two statements again:

  • Providing post-operation care
  • Provided post-operation care for my elderly patients with emotional support

Explaining how you did something will also help the recruiter determine whether your way of work will fit the organization you’re applying to be a part of.

Usually, good results are achieved through good practices that almost everyone will want in their team, so describe which of your positive behaviors led to your positive results.

  • Supervising junior staff
  • Supervising junior staff by regular tracking and monthly evaluations that meet our units’ standards

Be specific about your job description – different nurses in different institutions have different job descriptions.

To help the HR figure out whether you have the right skills, name specific things you’ve done in the past. Instead of writing that you took care of patients, write that you took care of elderly patients who are over 65 years old.

Think of all the activities you had to do during your working experience and list the main ones (you can also highlight the really important ones for the position you’re applying for).

Here are some things you’ll want to mention in the experience section:

  • the size of hospitals you have experience working in (for example, you can write the number of beds)
  • patient types you worked with – trauma patients, overflow patients from other units etc.
  • type of the unit you’ve worked in – intensive care, emergency rooms, labor and delivery, operating rooms etc.
  • facility type – maybe the facility you’re specialized in is for the elderly, or for the assisted living?

GUIDE ON WRITING THE EDUCATION SECTION

As a nurse, you may have a lot of credentials and certifications you can mention in this part of the resume.

But, first, start off with the formal education you have for your profession. Use reverse-chronological order here as well, but avoid mentioning experiences which aren’t relevant for nursing positions like high school or elementary school.

Only your college education is relevant here.

Like with experience, you first mention when you studied, then where, and with bullets explain your achievements there.

You can point out your GPA if it’s good, and be sure to mention extracurricular activities you did: volunteering, student activism, sports, competitions, etc.

Here’s an example:

Education section

2014-2018
Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

  • Bachelor’s degree in Science in Nursing
  • 95 GPA
  • Raised more than 5,000$ for the University’s Research and Development department

Right

If you have more education in this field, you should definitely mention it. Don’t just rely on that your formal education will get you your dream job, there are other credentials worth mentioning, like:

  • Licenses you might have
  • Certificates for extra training or skills – Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN), Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA), and so on…

Even things like you being an NLP practitioner or a certified lifeguard are worth mentioning since communication, and first-aid skills are important in this profession.

  • State designations – these demonstrate that you are allowed to practice at more advanced levels
  • Awards and Honors – for example, the best student of the generation, prizes from companies or institutions

To make sure you don’t miss any important fields, it’s best to use a good resume builder.

We offer one right here – it’s easy to use and makes sure the HRs want to talk to you after reading your resume.

In just a couple of minutes, you’ll have your resume ready for job applications!

GUIDE ON WRITING THE SKILLS SECTION

Of course, like most people, you have a lot of skills you can mention. You might be a good designer, video editor or programmer, but unfortunately, none of these are relevant skills for nursing jobs.

Start by reading the job listing carefully – it’s usually written there which skills are necessary for the job. Focus on mentioning skills which are present there, to let the recruiter know you are the wrong candidate for the job.

Let’s look at an example of a job offer (the keywords to look for are bolded):

We are looking for a candidate who will determine patient care requirements and offer emotional, psychological and spiritual support to patients. The candidate should be able to provide appropriate health care services to the patients, settle patient issues and needs and maintain personal hygiene of patients. Knowledge of preserving a clean working environment with complying procedures is a must. We are looking for an individual with excellent communication skills and attention to detail. If you think you match this description, feel free to reach out to us!

As you can see, the employers usually spell out the skills they are working for because they want candidates who think posses them to apply and get the job. All you have to do is mention these keywords in your resume.

If the skills aren’t specifically mentioned in the job application, you can search for most-desired skills by:

  • Googling them
  • Looking at profiles of professionals on LinkedIn
  • Ask nurses that you know

When thinking of which skills you can mention in your resume, consider the following types:

  • Job-related skills, like: Wound dressing and caring, monitoring blood pressure, assistance with hygiene and daily activities, patient transport, specimen collection (blood or stool), monitoring vital signs, urgent care, rehab therapy, use of X-ray or MRI scans.
  • Administrative skills, like: Budgeting, communicating with patients, their relatives and loved ones, communicating with visitors, planning for care or discharge.
  • Computer skills, like: MS Office package (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), ICD9 or ICD10 Billing Codes, Meditech.

Don’t think that the more skills you put, the better. Imagine someone says he/she is good at 10 different things.

It’s not believable that someone is great at so many things. Stick with naming 5-7 skills you really can prove you have further down the selection process. Would you be able to prove that skill when under pressure?

If not, then it’s not one of the best skills you have, so choose another one.

FINAL TIPS & TRICKS

  • Pick one font and stick with it. As someone who is applying for a nursing position, you shouldn’t complicate the design more than needed.
  • Keep all of your bullet points under 2 lines. Remember that the resume should be a one-pager.
  • Save your resume in PDF format – this format is best because it’s not editable and can be read or printed easily. We suggest you name the file “Firstname LastName_Desiredposition.pdf”.
  • Pick a design that matches your personality. When applying for a nurse job, it’s recommended to use simple and well-organized layouts.
  • After you’ve applied to a job, remember to check your e-mail regularly. You will most probably be contacted through that channel of communication. Although getting a call is also possible, we’re pointing out the importance of regular e-mail checking because while you can’t miss a call, you can miss an e-mail.
  • After you’ve finished your resume go through it like someone who is looking to hire a nurse would go through it. Look at your resume through the eyes of a recruiter, and you will see if there’s something missing but is important to mention. By doing this, you’ll also anticipate questions you might get when you go to the interview.
  • Your resume is not a one size fits all. Remember to adapt your resume to the position you’re applying for. Different jobs require different skills, and different institutions value different behavior. Show how much you want that job by writing the things you know they would love to see.
  • Your resume will probably be skimmed before reading in full detail. Feel free to use one of the layouts we have at our resume builder. They are well-organized, and all of the important information is at the center of attention.
  • Beware of mentioning activities that might have a political connotation. Maybe it’s impressive that you raised money for a cause, but that cause might have been backed up by a political candidate, which could itch someone the wrong way.
  • Be prepared to answer questions about your job switching. The recruiter will definitely ask you why you’re not working where you used to and you need a good reason for that.
  • Make sure your resume doesn’t have any typos.
  • Refresh your resume and LinkedIn profile regularly. By writing down all the experiences, you have, you prevent yourself from forgetting them.

FINAL THOUGHTS

So, that’s it. That is all the guidance you need in order to create an amazing resume which guarantees you’ll get a call for an interview.

Whether you have experience or not yet, this guide shows you that you don’t have to have applied for more than 100 positions to learn how to create a perfect resume. All it takes is some common sense, a good layout and concrete information.

Since you’re looking for a nursing job, it means that you care about people.

To show patients how much you care about them, first you need to get a job where you can do so, and to get such a job you need to show that you care about your resume.

We hope that you found this guide insightful and we can’t wait to see you land the position of your dreams! Good luck with your job application, you got this!

Nursing Resume: Sample & Complete Guide

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