10 Tips for Crafting an Excellent Nursing Resume
Whether you just earned your RN license or having been a nurse for some time and are looking for a new job, the importance of crafting an effective nursing resume cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, you may feel pressured to hire someone to write one for you. That may be worth it, but plenty of RNs write effective resumes and land the jobs that they want. The trick is knowing what works, and the following 10 tips are sure to help.
- Write a Concise Statement of Objective - Kick off your resume by clearly stating the goal that you are trying to achieve with this job search. You may be tempted to cast a wide net by putting something generic like "to work in a challenging, fast-paced environment," but that won't do you any good. Instead, be specific about what you're hoping to achieve. Just make sure that the position that you are applying for is relevant to your stated objective, or your resume will end up in the reject pile.
- Include a Qualification Summary - Next, highlight the value that you will bring to the table for your employer by detailing your most impressive and relevant qualifications. Again, craft this section with the position that you're applying for in mind. In other words, the qualifications that you include should be of clear benefit to whatever role you are hoping to assume. Include your experience level, if applicable, as well as your specialization area.
- Highlight Key Skills and Expertise - If you have been in the nursing field for some time, highlight your expertise. Do you have any nursing specializations? Have you been promoted? If you are new to nursing, highlight the skills that you possess that make you an ideal candidate. Chances are that you have developed skills in other jobs that apply to nursing. Otherwise, include skills that you developed and honed through your nursing training.
- Outline Your Nursing Experience - There is more to writing an effective nursing resume than just listing your work history. To make your resume stand out, highlight your nursing experience and how it is relevant to the position that you are applying for. Include the overall scope of your experience as well as the types of facilities where you have worked. Describe the caseload that you had and your area of specialization, if applicable. If you are looking for entry-level nursing jobs, outline volunteer work or clinical training that you've completed that makes you a great choice for the position.
- Describe Significant Accomplishments - Highlight situations where you went above and beyond as an employee to do your job. The goal here is to show prospective employers that you won't just do the bare minimum. Think of previous jobs and experiences in which you have risen to the occasion. For example, perhaps you were put in charge of transitioning your department to a new billing system, or maybe you have trained fellow employees in the past.
- Make Contact Information and Credentials Stand Out - The first thing that a prospective employer will look at when perusing a resume is your contact information and your credentials. Therefore, include this information as clearly as possible, and make it easy to find. Include a phone number where you can be reached and an email address. Make sure that your email address is professional. If not, create a new one. Also, make sure that the name on your resume matches the name on your nursing license.
- Highlight Awards and Honors - You can place this information in its own heading, or you can sprinkle it in through the body of your resume. Either way, highlight any awards, honors or other types of special recognition that you've enjoyed. You don't necessarily have to limit yourself to professional accomplishments. If you are just starting out, for example, highlight accomplishments from your training. This is also a great place to include information about mentoring or volunteering that you have done.
- Provide Detailed Educational Information - All too often, nursing resumes gloss over one of the most important aspects of finding a job of all: educational achievements. Sure, you're definitely going to include the fact that you possess an ADN, a BSN or another degree. However, don't stop there. Include the name of the school and the city and state where it is located. Include the start and end date of your program. If you did well, include your GPA. Finally, if you have earned any continuing education credits, include them here.
- Include Your Availability - Unlike most jobs, nursing shifts go on around the clock. Many times, nursing job candidates fail to touch upon their availability in their resumes, and this can cause problems. For one thing, employers may not want to go through the hassle of asking and may reject the resume outright if it lacks this information. For another, it more clearly shows that you are a good fit as long as your availability coincides with the requirements of the job.
- Highlight Computer Skills - Finally, emphasize your computer skills in your resume. Don't just state something generic like "proficient with computers." Go into greater detail to really drive your point home. If you have experience with electronic medical records, point it out. Additionally, highlight computer programs and technologies that you are proficient with, including basics like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. This is also a great place to include experience that you have with relevant medical technologies, so if you have any, include them here.
It's normal to feel overwhelmed when writing a nursing resume. Happily, you don't necessarily have to pay someone to write it for you. By keeping the above tips in mind, you will be able to craft a resume that stands out from the crowd and that lands you the perfect nursing job.