Guest Blogger: Erica Moss
The nursing profession offers a solid, steady career path. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nursing jobs are expected to grow at a “faster than average” rate and the number of retiring nurses will create a shortage in coming years. Even with these circumstances, this is not the time to sit back and take it easy when applying for a nursing job. Your resume is your first impression on a future employer, and there’s no better way to initially showcase your achievements and professionalism.
So what does a shining resume look like? Here are a few proven pointers to set you on the path to nursing resume success:
Consider opening with a narrative.
A narrative is a clearly written statement that summarizes skills you will bring to the position you are applying for. Make sure to discuss your goals, specialty areas, experience level and any advanced credentials or training you hold. Your resume is not the place to be humble, but also make sure you don’t exaggerate.
Present your qualifications and expertise.
Paint a picture of your strengths, and try to use action verbs when describing them. For example, instead of saying “Knowledge of chemotherapy mixing and administration,” say, “Actively managed cancer patients, including mixing and administering chemotherapy drugs according to hospital policies and safety standards.” This statement still shows that you know how to mix and administer drugs, but it sounds more active and more professional. If you don’t have a long history in nursing, make sure to focus on any volunteer or clinical experiences.
Proofread for errors.
While it may seem basic, be sure to re-read your resume to make sure it is clear, concise and typo-free. Check for spelling, grammatical and formatting errors; even a basic error will skew your professional edge with an employer and show that your attention to detail may not be as keen as you claim. Consider enlisting the help of a friend, family member or career counselor for a second opinion when you are finished. If you are just graduating, your school’s career center will typically offer resume services for free, so make sure to check in with them.
Highlight your nursing experience if you are returning to the field.
If you have been out of the nursing profession for a while, divide your resume’s work experience section into two parts: Nursing Experience and Additional Work History, or something similar. Make sure to place your nursing experience first and highlight your specialty areas, credentials and years of experience, but be sure to also include any other tangentially relevant jobs in the second section. At the very least, do not let long periods of time go unaccounted for.
Showcase your top performances.
Employers care about the image you will present of their company. If you have been recognized for outstanding performance, been part of policy or patient care committees or have helped develop standards for better care, highlight those standout experiences. Discuss your role in the process, any collaboration with administrators and positive results of the changes if possible, and always attempt to use quantifiable measures wherever possible, such as how many patients you routinely cared for or the number of nurses you managed.
A perfect nursing resume is one that allows you to showcase who you are while spotlighting your passion for the nursing profession. Use your resume as an opportunity to present your most professional image, and remember that it is a reflection of who you are to an employer.
About the Author
Erica Moss is the community manager for Georgetown University’s online masters of nursing programs. She enjoys blogging, photography, TV and pop culture.