How to Write a New Grad Nursing Resume

March 5, 2024
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Entering the nursing world as a recent graduate is challenging but so exciting! As you go down this career path, you need to have a resume that showcases your skills, education, and passion to land your dream job. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the essential steps to create a standout resume that captures the attention of hiring managers.

Understanding the Basics

Start with a Strong Header

Start your resume with a clear header. This includes your name, contact info, and a professional email address. You don’t want to miss out on an amazing opportunity, so ensure you are regularly monitoring your email. 

Craft a Compelling Objective Statement

Your objective statement should be brief and powerful. Include your career goals and what you bring to the table. Really tailor this section to the specific role you’re applying for. For example, Care Options for Kids works in the pediatric space. You would want to ensure all of your content is geared toward working with kids. 

Showcasing Your Education

Highlight Your Nursing Degree

Being new to nursing, you’ll want to place your education section at the top of your resume. Take the time to emphasize your nursing degree, the institution, graduation date, and any honors or awards you’ve received. Additionally, if you have a high GPA, include it on your resume as well. 

Include Relevant Coursework and Certificates 

As a new grad, your coursework can provide insight into your skills and knowledge. Highlight your relevant courses that show your readiness for the role you’re applying for. If you have any notable certificates, you will want to include that as well in this section. 

Emphasizing Clinical Experience

Detail Your Clinical Rotations

Education is highly important to nursing. However, hiring managers are just as impressed with hands-on training. If you have any prior experience, devote a section to outline it. 

Quantify Achievements

You’ll want to use measurable achievements to stand out. Instead of stating you "assisted with patient care," specify how many patients you cared for daily, the types of procedures you participated in, or any positive outcomes you contributed to. Quantifying your experiences adds substance to your resume. An example of this would be “assisted with five pediatric cases  per day.” 

Showcasing Skills

Create a dedicated section for your nursing skills. You should include technical skills and soft skills. You’ll want to tailor this section to match the job description. Ensure your resume aligns with the employer’s requirements. This is because they have laid out what they are looking for in a candidate in order of importance. 

Crafting a Professional Experience Section

Prioritize Relevant Experience

While your work history may be limited as a new grad, you will want to focus on healthcare-related experience, internships, or part-time roles you've held. Showcase transferable soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and attention to detail, even if they weren't in a nursing-specific context.

Utilize Action Verbs

You need to begin each bullet point in your experience section with strong action verbs. This adds dynamism to your resume and emphasizes your proactive role in various situations. Words like administered and coordinated carry more weight than passive phrases such as administer and coordinating. 

Implementing Keywords and Tailoring for Each Application

Customize for Each Job Application

Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach. Tailor your resume for each job application by aligning your skills and experiences with the specific requirements outlined in the job description. This demonstrates your genuine interest in the position.

Incorporate Keywords

Many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen resumes. To ensure your resume passes through these systems, you’ll need to incorporate relevant keywords from the job description. Mirror their language from the posting to increase your chances of being noticed.

Design and Format Tips

Keep It Simple and Clean

Opt for a clean and easy-to-read format. You need to use a professional font, appropriate spacing, and clear headings. Avoid excessive use of colors or fancy graphics, as simplicity is key.

Use Bullets for Readability

Bullet points make your resume easy to scan, which is ideal for busy hiring managers. Organize information with concise, well-structured bullet points highlighting key achievements and qualifications.

Including Additional Sections

Add a Professional Summary

You should consider including a professional summary at the beginning of your resume. This brief section provides an overview of your qualifications and sets the tone for the rest of the resume. 

Incorporate Your Volunteer Experience

If you've volunteered in healthcare settings or community organizations, definitely include this experience! Volunteer work demonstrates your commitment to patient care and community well-being, so showcase this experience.

Seeking Feedback and Proofreading

Seek Feedback

Before submitting your resume, seek feedback from friends, mentors, professors, or career advisors. Constructive criticism can help you refine your resume and address the blind spots you may have.

Proofread Thoroughly

Errors in your resume create a negative impression. Thoroughly proofread your document to catch any grammatical or typographical mistakes. Consider using professional proofreading tools to enhance the quality of your resume. 

Crafting a new grad nursing resume requires thoughtful consideration and attention to detail. By highlighting your education, clinical experience, skills, and certifications, you can create a compelling document that sets you apart from your competition. 

Customize your resume for each application, utilize strong action verbs, and maintain a clean and professional format. With these tips, you'll be well-equipped to navigate the competitive landscape and land your first nursing position. Good luck on your journey to becoming a successful and compassionate nurse!

Join the Care Options For Kids Team!

Are you ready for meaningful work that comes with benefits and not burnout? Join the compassionate care team that helps children and families live their best lives. Our clinicians provide best-in-class pediatric nursing, therapy, and school-based services. We bring individualized care to children where they live, work, and play. We have opportunities in homes, schools, and clinics across the country.

Apply at Care Options for Kids now. We make it easy to start so you can make a difference as soon as possible.