Nursing resumes give potential employers a first impression of you as a person and as a nurse. In this highly competitive job market where nurses are returning to the work force in order to help family budgets meet in the middle and new nurses are graduating daily it might seem impossible to stand out.

But, you can make your resume stand out among the hundreds or thousands of resumes being submitted for the same limited number of nursing positions.

Here is what you need to do.

Education

This is the one part of resume that is basic, to the point, and needs no real fillers. You must have a qualifying education in order to be considered for a nursing position.

You earned a degree (whether it’s an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree) in order to qualify to be a nurse. List the school you earned your degree in nursing from and the specific type of degree you earned.

The only other things you might want to include in this section of your resume are awards received as a nursing student, scholarships you earned, and academic recognition or honors you received as a result of your studies.

Clinical Experience

Chances are good that during part of your nursing education you went through clinical rotations in a medical facility. This is important experience that needs to be noted on your resume.

List specific specialties you worked with during your clinical rotations. This is especially helpful if you’re applying for specialized nursing positions like labor and delivery RN or surgical RN and have clinical experience in those fields.

Extracurricular Experience

One thing that more and more medical facilities are looking for on resumes is experience that may have little if anything to do with education or work experience. Volunteer opportunities are a great thing to list in this section provided that they are relevant to the position for which you are applying.

Specific experience working with the elderly can be a huge benefit if you are seeking a nursing position in geriatric nursing. Volunteer experience with children who have little hope of recovery is helpful when seeking a position working as a critical care pediatric nurse, in a burn unit, or a cancer hospital for children.

Formatting and Brevity

Your resume is something that most hiring managers or nursing recruiters will scan while looking for specific experience, information, or data that is relevant to their staffing needs. Make your resume as easy to read as possible.

Use bullet points to highlight skills, experience, and specialties. Be specific. Be brief. They want to get the facts fast. The easier you make that for them the better your odds of getting their attention will be.

Licensing Information

Before you even think about applying for a nursing position you need to have gone through the licensing process and be ready to go to work. List the specific license you’ve earned in your state and be prepared to provide a copy of the license should you be called in for an interview. Many facilities will not even give a second glance to resumes that lack this critical information.

You do not have to make an earth shattering statement with your resume. You need to deliver the facts and avoid “wasting” the time of nursing recruiters and/or hiring managers by filling your resume with unnecessary and irrelevant pieces of information. Do these things and you’ll make a definite positive impression.


Nurses Forum offers information about nursing jobs, travel nursing and education. Visit  author Julie Blanche’s nursing blog for more nursing articles and news.

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