10 Tips for Creating a Great Nursing Résumé

A résumé is often an applicant’s first chance to make an impression on a university or potential employer. A well-crafted résumé highlights skills and abilities in a professional, engaging way. Having an updated nursing résumé is always important for Registered Nurses (RNs) — no matter what stage of their career they are in. Even if an RN isn’t active in the job market, maintaining an updated résumé makes the process easier when an opportunity arrives. With this in mind, here are 10 tips nurses should utilize when crafting and maintaining their résumés.

Be Specific, Not Generic

Nurses should tailor their résumés to the job posting or educational program they are applying for. If the job or program requires specific skills or certifications, make sure those are highlighted in the résumé. It should be apparent to recruiters and admissions committees that the skills listed are directly applicable to the position or educational program requirements.

Keep an Eye on Length

The audience for a résumé is the main factor in determining how long it should be. The average job recruiter spends only six seconds looking at a résumé. In this setting, the information needs to be succinct. If a résumé is several pages long, the chances are that the reviewer will move on to the next one. However, when applying to an academic program, the reviewer will spend more time reading and considering an applicant’s résumé. Length is a secondary concern to making sure the résumé includes all of the information required by the application process.

Proofread, Proofread, and Proofread

This is arguably the most important part of the résumé process. There should not be any spelling or grammatical errors, and the formatting should be uniform. If possible, have someone else read over the résumé for any mistakes that may have been missed.

Highlight Success

Professional affiliations, certifications, honors, and awards demonstrate a willingness to learn and that others have noticed success and potential.

List Computer Skills

Health care is going digital. This means it’s important to showcase any experience to demonstrate a comfort level with technology. List experience with Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Electronic Medical Records (EMR). If the scope of practice handles billing codes (ICD10 and ICD 9), be sure to include those skills as well.

Indicate Facility and Unit Type

Facility and unit information are great indicators to potential employers and academic institutions about experience, especially for nurses applying for a position in a facility or program they already have experience in.

Be Keyword Friendly

When creating a résumé for a specific job opportunity, keep in mind that large hospitals and health care systems utilize software to sort through the hundreds or thousands of résumés they receive. The software looks for specific keywords related to open positions. To determine the keywords that employers might be searching for, review the job posting and make note of any words or terms that appear more than once. These terms should be included in the résumé.

Include Education

List schools attended, years of attendance, and graduation dates. Nurses, who have recently completed their education and lack professional experience, should include their clinical rotations.

Don’t Forget Volunteer Experience

RNs who volunteer their time with an organization show academic institutions and potential employers that they truly care about the betterment of their communities. This is an important trait for anyone working in a health care setting or looking to further their nursing education.

Pay Attention to Detail

There are different ways to format a résumé, but the main thing to remember is to be consistent. The name of the applicant should be the most prominent text on the page. Bold font and other typography should be used to draw the reader’s eye to the most important parts of the résumé.