Let’s face it, while applying for a new job is exciting, it can also be a real pain, and putting together a resume can be particularly tough. How much information should you include? What format should you use? Do employers really care about what school you went to?
As a nurse, your resume should include a few things that you won’t find in so-called traditional resume formats. Here’s a quick outline of what you want to have on there:
This should be obvious, but make sure your name and contact information is placed clearly and prominently on your resume—right at the top. This doesn’t mean you need to go overboard highlighting it (crazy fonts and colors are not recommended), but make sure the person reading your resume doesn’t have to break out a microscope to find your phone number or email.
Include Your Education
To answer the question we posed in the introduction to this post: Yes, employers care about your schooling. Whether you’re straight out of nursing school or a 20-year veteran looking for a new position, make room for your education information on your resume.
Now, if you are straight out of nursing school, education will likely be a larger section of your resume. While you can include any clinical experience in the next section, this is a good place to put any honor societies you may have been a part of, or awards you achieved while at school—just as long as they’re relevant to the position you’re applying for.
List Your Experience in Chronological Order
In general, employers want to know about your most recent position first, so list your experience backwards, chronologically, and be sure to include month and year when you list start and end of employment. Employers want to know exactly how much experience you have in each department or specialty.
Be specific when listing your previous positions and responsibilities. Healthcare facilities operate differently, and while “Floor Nurse” may entail certain responsibilities for you, those may be different for your potential employers.
Also be sure to note any extra duties you may have taken up in previous jobs that might not be easily inferred from your job title. If, in addition to the obvious patient care responsibilities you had in your previous nursing job, you also mentored new hires or floated to different departments when necessary, it will help those looking at your resume understand the full breadth of your capabilities.
Current Specialties and Certifications
This may seem obvious, but make sure your nursing licensure information is easy to find on your resume. Remember to include any other certifications or specialties you may have and list any professional affiliations. All of these things will help you stand out to potential employers and make it easier for recruiters to match you with the perfect job.
Remember, keep it short and to the point. Research has shown that employers look at a resume for an average of less than 10 seconds, so use subheadings and bullet points where appropriate. The order we’ve listed above is generally a good order to go in, but if you’re a veteran in the field, feel free to list experience and specialty above education.