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Nursing Resume Sample

While nursing has always been a popular choice of profession, there has recently been an increase in the number of qualified people that are competing for these jobs. In such a scenario, it makes a lot of sense to have a resume that makes you stand out from the crowd. Using a Nursing Resume Sample as starting point, you can customize the document to fit your needs. Based on what the recruiter or hiring manager is looking for, you can isolate specific skills and certifications to create the maximum impact. We will discuss ideas for presentation and formatting, offer tips and tricks to revitalize your resume. We will also point out common mistakes that people make in their resumes.

Before we jump into the resume, you should consider doing some research to make sure all your information is up-to-date and accurate. It’s important to use the right terminology when it comes to specialties, qualifications, and professional designations within the nursing industry. If you have access to healthcare specific job descriptions or Nursing Resume Sample like we have linked below, they can prove to be an invaluable resource as well. Think about what information you want to share with your prospective employer and you can use that as a reference list to make sure your resume covers everything important.

How to write a Nursing Specific Resume

Nursing is one of those fields where soft skills are as important as experience and qualification. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook this aspect when designing a resume. This is a common mistake and many candidates focus too much on their professional achievements, and not enough their people-skills, empathy, and ability to work in a team. Some types of nursing roles, such as emergency room or trauma care, are based in a high-pressure environment and potential employers look for candidates that can handle the stress. If there is an indication of this on the resume, it goes to the top of the pile. This is another thing that sets this industry apart from others – there are different types and levels of nursing positions. Consequently, each resume will need to be tailored to the specific requirements of the job description. While this may also hold true for other professions, it is especially pertinent in nursing opportunities.

First of all, we need to have a clear understanding of what a nursing resume actually is, what it is designed for, and what it cannot do. Typically, a resume is a document created in response to a specific position. The purpose of a resume is to provide enough information to the recruiter or prospective employer to make a hiring decision. This means that the resume needs to be accurate and concise. It needs to present your experience, skills, qualifications and any other relevant details in a manner that is easily and quickly understood.

Your resume serves as your first impression, even before you show up for an interview. This applies to almost all nursing roles, so it’s important that your resume is clean, professional, error-free and easy to read. Your potential employer would like to see that you have the requisite training, and have applied these technical skills in a healthcare environment. Your resume is not a guarantee of a job or even an interview, but a well-designed resume can greatly improve your chances of success.

Creating or updating a resume can be a challenge for many medical professionals since they constantly need to make decisions about what information to include, and what to leave out. Then, there’s the question of editing, presentation, formatting also.

In order to make things a little easier for the reader of your resume, you should think about creating clear sections within your resume. It improves readability and also splits up information into smaller chunks and makes it easier for the reader to assimilate. A secondary advantage to this approach is that when the time comes to update your resume with new information, it’s a simple matter of adding or making changes to the details in the relevant section.

Also look at our How to Write a Resume – this will walk you through a step by step process in constructing the perfect resume.

Contact Details:

This is a straight forward section and should typically contain the following. You can format this information to fit in a couple of lines instead of a block of text. Just make sure it’s the top of the resume because that is where the recruiter is used to finding this information

Name: First and last name

Phone: A home and or cellphone number that you can be reliably reached via call or messaging

Address: A physical mailing address including zip code. Your employer may send your letter of appointment or other documents here.

Email: if you’re still using your email handle from high school that reads psychobabble or turbo_pizza you might want to create a job specific email like janesmith745 for your employer to communicate with you. It’s the little things that can matter. Be sure to check it often, or set up notifications on your phone, so you don’t miss an important message

Objective:

Interestingly, the recruiter’s brain is actually wired to ignore the contact details at the top of the resume, since that section does not give them any insight about you as a professional. So, the Objective is the part of your resume that the eye will naturally fall. Some resume samples or writing guides may describe this section as optional. However, if you’re not a highly experienced applicant, this is a great way to make the reader sit up and take notice of you by putting in something really impressive. Choose your words carefully, and aim for the maximum impact with minimum text. For example, if you received recognition for punctuality or team work, you can use something like this:

“Award-winning, energetic and hardworking RN with 6 months of experience and a positive attitude, looking for greater responsibility in a larger hospital”

They are going to see “Award Winning” and will want to know more. And that’s exactly what you want. In case you’re an experienced hire, you may want to consider the next option instead of the Objective section.

Professional Summary/ Major Achievements:

This is a short description of three to five major achievements, or a brief summary of your professional experience, highlighting the responsibilities or actions that show you in the best light. Use strong action verbs here to demonstrate your importance to the role and the impact of your actions. If you were able to solve a significant problem or contributed greatly to a specific effort, this is the best place to put it. Like the Objective section for new applicants, the professional summary is the first thing that the recruiter or hiring manager will see on your resume. Once again, word choice is critical, so make sure you are promoting yourself here in the best possible manner. Try and quantify your roles and achievements, rather than using elements from a standard job description. Here is one example you can model the summary on:

 “Headed a diverse team of 15 nurses in a 300-bed hospital, focussed on emergency and trauma care”

This sounds better and provides more information than a bland “ER nurse team leader.” Remember the secret sauce for this section is brevity, action verbs, and quantification. This section is very important for applicants with significant experience.

Education:

The job descriptions for most nursing positions usually include specific educational requirements, so it’s always a good idea to make sure these are displayed accurately. While listing your educational background, use a reverse chronological format. This is the way that hiring managers are accustomed to seeing such information. You will need to include the subjects you studied and the grades you got along with the dates of graduation or certification. You should also mention the educational institute and location.

Any relevant coursework and training should be mentioned here. For nurses, there are additional licenses and professional certification that may be needed for specific types of roles. You should include those here as well since the recruiter will look for them in the education section.

Please be sure to highlight good grades or any academic awards. There is an increasing focus on hiring nursing candidates with a good educational background.

Work Experience:

Similar to the education and training part of your resume, the Professional Experience section should also be listed in reverse chronological order. This has two functions. Firstly, and most importantly, this is the format that most recruiters and talent managers are used to seeing. When information is presented to them in this manner, it makes it easier for them to understand and correlate it to the rest of your resume. It’s a smart move to make your audience absorb information from your document quickly and clearly. Secondly, from an aesthetics point of view, it’s a good idea to maintain visual consistency in your resume format.

Remember the Professional Summary Section you put together near the top of your resume? Well, this is the place where it gets its information from. List out important achievements in each role that you have handled. This is not a simple description of duties, but a professional highlight reel of your best moments at the job. As far as possible, make sure you include a great action verb, and quantify each achievement. This is designed to focus on aspects of your profile that demonstrate you can bring more to the table than the other applicants. One of these is soft skills – an oft overlooked part of nursing profiles. Use at least a third of your list to showcase your expertise in people skills, patient management, and team work. If you have demonstrated good presentation, negotiation or other communication skills, please highlight them in your professional summary. This will help your resume stand out from the pack

If you have a lot of experience, you may be applying for a very specialized position, in which case highly specific detail relating to the role will need to be provided. Some senior roles also call for leadership abilities – your experience in management or supervisory positions should be demonstrated with action verbs and quantifiable results. This is a clear way of showing where the team handling experience was obtained, this building trust with the reader, rather than mentioning vague leadership duties.

Here is a sample list of action verbs that you can use. These have been specially chosen for their effectiveness in healthcare resumes

Adhered
Administered
Applied
Assessed
Assisted
Built
Collaborated
Communicated
Contributed
Decided
Delegated
Delivered

Demonstrated
Developed
Directed
Displayed
Educated
Ensured
Evaluated
Executed
Explained
Followed
Helped
Led

Listened
Managed
Measured
Negotiated
Observed
Performed
Planned
Preserved
Provided
Reacted
Reported
Responded

Scheduled
Shared
Supervised
Taught
Tracked
Trained
Treated
Updated
Wrote

But that’s not all. Remember we mentioned soft-skills and their importance in the nursing industry? Take a look at some of these and decide if they apply to you. Select the ones that do, and try to incorporate them into your resume in this professional experience section.

Critical thinking
Communication
Interpersonal skills
Customer service

Teamwork
Reliability
Dependability
Problem-solving

Attention to Detail
Language skills
Able to multitask
Organized

Activities:

This may not seem like a relevant section, but there’s no denying it’s importance. If you have relevant activities like internships and voluntary work at clinics, or you’re a member of a professional organization or are involved in healthcare related activities, it may be a good idea to briefly mention them here. Your resume has already caught the hiring managers eye, so you may as well show them you also have a life outside traditional work hours. At the same time, this will demonstrate that you are interested and passionate about your chosen profession. As with the section above, try and use action verbs in your descriptions

SOME THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

Keywords:

While traditional nursing resumes used to be printed out and sent a hard copy to hospitals and healthcare centers, the applications today are processed digitally. Your resume could be sent to the employer via email, or they could have found it on a job board or a recruiter. Most employers will search job websites for specific words or phrases (called Keywords) that are closely related to the job they are hiring for.  Resumes that contain these keywords will show up in their searches, and thus make it through the gate for the first phase of the recruitment process. And conversely, if the keywords can’t be found by the search engine, it won’t show up in the results – and that’s usually the end of the story right there. So, the next time you look at the job ad, try and find words that you think are unique to that job – they’ll be there, and they will be highly specific. Then you need to work those words or phrases into your nursing resume, preferably repeating them a couple of times in the document. The key here is to insert the keywords smoothly and cleanly into the word flow so that they look organic and an integral part of the document. This non-obvious inclusion of keywords is a great way to bring your resume to the top of a relevant search. You don’t want to copy paste a bunch of keywords randomly into your document. This is called keyword-stuffing and is a sure-fire way of getting the search engine to assign a lower rank to your resume in the search results.

Consistency and Connections:

Another point to keep in mind while crafting a Nursing Resume, is that the qualifications, relevant experience and skills should be linked with the appropriate training and certification details (for example, Advanced CPR training for Emergency Room Nurses). A potential employer would like to see that the candidate has the requisite training and has applied these technical skills in a healthcare environment such as general medicine, ICU, pediatrics etc. Similarly, if you have professional affiliations that are related to healthcare, or you have done volunteer work in similar environments, be sure to include those in the section below your core experience.This presents a well-rounded picture of your professional achievements and works in your favour when it’s time for the shortlist.

Formatting:

You’ve got all your information in, and you’ve highlighted everything important. Now you need to wrap this up in a great package as well – and that means good formatting. Try and edit the content of your resume to fit one or two pages at the most. You can adjust the margins to fit the content, but try not to reduce them too much. The font choice should be professional, easy-to-read and applied consistently to the whole document. Your font size should be chosen appropriately – it should be large enough to read comfortably. You can creatively use lines to break up the text into section blocks to improve readability. We have a detailed description about formatting in our How to Write a Resume page

And finally, since these are so important, we’re going to repeat a couple of things. Firstly, for the Nursing Resume to showcase you in the best possible way, be sure to highlight soft skills such as teamwork and patient management. Secondly, use action verbs and quantified statements.

Remember, your nursing resume is a merely a tool that you will need to get to the interview stage, so it very important to tailor it specifically for each healthcare job that you apply to, making sure it accurately showcases your best skills and experience. This will greatly increase the probability of being called in for an interview, and an opportunity to show them what an awesome nursing professional you are.