How to Write a Nursing Resume

by Laura Adams

Recent labor studies have predicted that nursing positions will continue to grow faster than the national average for at least the next five years. Though this trend is good news for nurses on the job market, it does not diminish the fact that competition will remain tough for the most desirable nursing positions. Nurses need to pay close attention to the presentation of their credentials, as detailed in their resume, in order to ensure that they can compete in the tough medical profession.

To write a solid resume tailored specifically to the nursing profession, consider the following guidelines:

Highlight your Educational and Licensure Qualifications

In addition to including the details of your nursing degree(school name, when you graduated, your degree), you should mention any academic honors, grants, scholarships, or fellowships awarded during the course of your studies.

If you are an experienced nurse, you may wish to make reference to any completed clinical rotations in this section. This tactic is especially beneficial if one or more of these rotations is in line with your current career objective.

If you are a newer nursing graduate or have limited nursing experience, a list of related courses and clinical rotations will provide detail of your medical knowledge to prospective employers. Graduates who completed their degree with an impressive grade point average should highlight this fact by including their GPA in the Educational section of their resume.

All nurses who have completed the process to get licensed will need to provide details of their license(s) in this section. Include the state(s) in which you are licensed and the date that your license went in effect. Since your employer will ask for a copy of your license once you are made an offer, you do not include your licensing number on your resume.

Emphasize your Nursing Expertise and Key Skills

A quick 10-second scan of your resume should reveal important keywords that summarize your nursing experience and give managers an overview of your qualifications. The most effective way to do this is to incorporate a section of your resume dedicated to nursing expertise and key skills. Include a bulleted list of your nursing specializations (such as pediatrics, cardiology, oncology) and any pertinent nursing skills, such as JCAHO standards/compliance or medication administration, that will enhance your resume presentation.

If you have several years of nursing experience, it may beneficial to list your years of experience in each area.

Entry-level nurses and nurses with limited experience should also include this section in their resume, highlighting those areas and schools acquired from schooling, clinical rotations, and nursing mentorships.

Detail Your Nursing Experience

Since most manager hire nurses based on their previous experience in (or knowledge of if you are a new nurse) a particular area of nursing, employers need to know the details of your nursing experience.

If you are an experienced nurse, you should detail your specialization, the type of facility you work in (acute care, outpatient, rehabilitation), and your average caseload for each of your previous employers.

If you are an entry-level nurse just out of school or a nurse with limited work experience, you should detail any clinical rotations, mentorships, or other unpaid work you were involved in during your schooling.

Demonstrate You’re a Top Performer

Employers love to hire top performers. Your resume will be more memorable and better received if you can detail specific contributions you made to each of your previous employers. What have you done that was above and beyond your basic responsibilities? How have you helped make a positive impact on your patients and their families, your co-workers, your employer, or even your community?

Consider your possible involvement in:

  • Committees or review boards
  • Patient or family health education
  • Mentorship programs
  • Training of coworkers on advanced topics of interest to nursing
  • The launch of a new facility or program
  • Community health screens
  • Outside education

The more details you can provide about your involvement in the medical community and your accomplishments, the better job you will do at impressing your value as a team member to potential employers.

About the Author: Laura Adams is a qualified careers advisor with 11 years experience and writes about Nursing Job Information – Resources, News, Tips and Views to help Nurses find their dream jobs.

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