How To Write a Good Nursing Resume

March 29, 2024
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Crafting your nursing resume is a crucial step in securing your dream job in the healthcare industry! Whether you're a seasoned nurse looking to advance your career or a recent graduate eager to step into the workforce, a well-written resume is your ticket to standing out in a competitive field. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the essential steps of writing a nursing resume that showcases your skills, experience, and passion for patient care.

Understanding the Basics

Start with a Strong Header

Begin your resume with a clear header. Include your full name, professional credentials (e.g., RN, BSN), contact information, and a professional email address. Ensure your email is accurate and you check it regularly. 

Craft a Compelling Objective Statement

Your objective statement should be a brief, impactful introduction to your career goals and what you bring to the nursing profession. Tailor it to the specific job you're applying for, emphasizing your commitment to patient care and your desire to contribute to the healthcare team.

Highlighting Your Education

Emphasize Your Nursing Degree

Place your education section near the top of your resume. You should showcase your nursing degree, the name of the institution, graduation date, and any relevant honors or awards. If you have additional certifications, such as ACLS or PALS, include them in this section.

Include Relevant Coursework

Highlight relevant coursework demonstrating your expertise and field knowledge. This is particularly important for new graduates needing more extensive work experience. Focus on courses that are directly applicable to the job you're seeking. For example, if you’re applying for pediatric nursing, write out any courses you took that highlight that. 

Showcasing Your Clinical Experience

Detail Your Clinical Rotations

Your clinical experience is a critical component of your resume. You should outline the hospitals or healthcare facilities where you completed your clinical rotations, specifying the departments and the dates of your experience. Use bullet points in this section to highlight specific skills and procedures you’ve got the hang of. 

Quantify Your Achievements

Quantify your achievements whenever possible rather than providing generic descriptions of your clinical experience. For instance, mention the number of patients you cared for daily, specific procedures you assisted with, or any positive outcomes you contributed to. Doing this adds credibility to your resume.

Emphasizing Nursing Skills and Certifications

List Key Nursing Skills

Create a dedicated section for your nursing skills. Include both technical skills and soft skills here. Align these skills with the requirements outlined in the job description to demonstrate your ability to thrive in the position. 

Highlight Certifications

Incorporate a section for relevant certifications. Include certifications such as Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), and any other certifications that showcase your commitment to ongoing education and proficiency in specialized areas.

Crafting a Professional Experience Section

Prioritize Relevant Work Experience

If you have work experience in nursing, prioritize it in your resume. Provide the details about your previous roles. This may include the name of the healthcare facility, your job title, and the dates of employment. Use bullet points to highlight specific responsibilities and achievements.

Utilize Action Verbs

Begin each bullet point in your experience section with strong action verbs. This emphasizes your active role in various situations. Words like "assessed," "implemented," and "collaborated" carry more weight than their passive phrases.

Tailoring Your Resume for Each Application

Customize for Each Job

Avoid using a generic resume for every application. You’ll want to tailor your resume to match the specific requirements outlined in the job description. Try using keywords from the posting to align with the employer's expectations.

Highlight Relevant Accomplishments

Tailoring your resume allows you to emphasize accomplishments and experiences most relevant to the job. Whether it's a specific patient population you've worked with or a specialized procedure you've mastered, highlight what sets you apart from other candidates. 

Design and Format Tips

Keep It Clean and Professional

Opt for a clean, professional format. Use a legible font, appropriate spacing, and clear headings to make your resume visually appealing. Avoid overly elaborate designs or fonts that may distract from the content. You can also do a web search of existing nursing resumes for inspiration. 

Use Bullets for Readability

Organize information with concise, well-structured bullet points to enhance readability. Hiring managers often scan resumes quickly. Using bullet points makes it easier for them to identify key information.

Including Additional Sections

Professional Summary

Consider adding 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 document.

Volunteer Experience

If you have relevant volunteer experience, include it in a separate section. Volunteer work demonstrates your commitment to patient care and community service, adding depth to your resume.

Seeking Feedback and Proofreading

Seek Feedback

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

Proofread Thoroughly

Errors in your resume can create a negative impression. Thoroughly proofread your document to catch any grammatical or additional mistakes. Consider using professional proofreading tools to enhance accuracy.

A well-crafted nursing resume is your passport to a fulfilling and successful career in healthcare. By following these comprehensive steps, you can create a resume that not only showcases your qualifications but also resonates with hiring managers. Whether you're a new graduate or an experienced nurse, mastering the art of resume writing will propel you toward your professional goals. Good luck on your journey to securing the nursing position you aspire to!

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