Nursing Resumes – 11 Tips For Success

copy of resume in chronological orderNeed help writing your nursing resumes? Here are 11 resume writing tips.

1. Use the right format. Resumes are done in 3 different ways – chronological, functional or the combination of both. Chronological is the most widely used but functional could be used for a nurse who has been out of the work force for a while and wants to emphasize her experience rather than work history.

2. Make it scannable. Most employers will scan your resume first to see what pops out at them so make it visually appealing by having it organized and laid out so it’s easy to read or “scan”

3. Use a bullet format. This means each piece of information in your experience section of your resume should have a large dot or bullet in front of it. This helps the reader easily scan and focus on what you want to highlight about your experience. Don’t make you bullet list longer than two lines, one is preferably.

4. Use Action Verbs. Start your bullet list with action verbs such as supervised, oriented, trained, published etc.

5. Stop being wordy. Avoid redundant and wordy phrases, get to the point and have your sentences be short and focused. This helps the reader home in on what’s important.

6. Use clear headings such as Experience, Education etc. These should be bolded and in all capital letters. Also make sure all headings are in the same place, either in the center or to the far left of the page.

7. Make your language understandable and keep it simple. Avoid being vague, generalized, complexed or worst yet, confusing to the reader. Here’s an example from the book “Ultimate Career Guide for Nurses” by Donna Cardillo of what not to say on your resume –

“Utilized dynamic, interpersonal and negotiation talents to develop and maintain cohesive relationships with hospital discharge planners, thereby substantially expanding and diversifying the source of temporary employment vacancies from supplemental positions within hospitals to home care opportunities.” WOW, that was a mouth full! Do you know what she is trying to say?

8. Don’t use acronyms. If they are undefined throughout your resume HR (Human Resources) may be reading your resume first and won’t have any idea what they mean. Don’t expect them to know what NC-BC means so rule of thumb is to spell it out first then you can use it throughout the rest of your resume.

9. Don’t use acronyms at the top of your resume. You can put RN, BSN or MSN but don’t list all of your certifications here. List them under your education and certification sections.

10. Show progression. Show how you’ve advanced in your nursing career such as being hired as a staff nurse, was promoted in x amount of time to supervisor then to a management position. If this was all at the same facility then show this progression in one sentence rather than breaking it up into different positions.

11. Show your results in numbers or percentages. If you were in management or an administrative role then show the dollar amount of the budget you managed or the percentage of sales volume you had or the number of staff and type of staff you were responsible for or the amount of money that was saved. Show the numbers, it makes a huge difference especially if you have saved a company money.

Tina 🙂