How to Write a Professional Nursing Resume

FT Contributor  | 

According to the U.S Department of Labor, the need for registered nurses will grow by 12% between 2018 and 2028. While this far-above-average growth rate is impressive, it doesn’t mean a nurse will be able to land a position by simply walking up to a hospital or doctor’s office and asking for a job.

If you’re a registered nurse, having a high-quality professional nursing resume is the first step in ensuring that you can get a good job in your field. A well-written resume will demonstrate your specific qualifications and will help you stand out from the crowd.

How to Organize a Nursing Resume

Resumes come in all shapes and sizes. However, while the specific design and look may vary, there are several essential elements that are traditionally included.

Header

The first thing to create is your header. This includes your name and basic information, should be located on the top of the page, and should be either left-aligned or centered. Your header will include:

  • First and last name.
  • Address.
  • Phone number and email address.
  • Applicable links, such as your LinkedIn or other relevant social profiles.

If you feel your address hurts your chances of being considered for a position in another city or state, simply list your address and then write “Open to relocation” thereafter.

Introduction

Start the document with a brief, concise, and powerful introduction. You can title this section something like “About me,” “Resume Objective,” or “Career Objective” — just don’t title it “Introduction.”

This section should provide a brief account of the most vital, relevant information for the recruiter.

For a nurse this could be how many years of experience you have, particularly poignant skills and certifications, or a hallmark achievement. You can also include a line about your ambitions, career goals, or what you’re hoping to accomplish by applying for the position.

Education

As a nurse, your education, certifications, licenses, additional training, and other relevant coursework are all critical elements of your resume. You’ll want to list each item in your education section as follows:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The degree or certification you received as well as your GPA (if it’s a decent number, usually a 3.5 or higher).
  • The school location.
  • The dates that you attended.

Include a subsection or even an entirely separate section to list your certifications and licenses. When making this list, in particular, include:

  • The states that you can practice in.
  • Your license numbers.
  • Your license and certification expiration dates.

Experience

Along with your education, your nursing experience is a critical factor that can demonstrate your ability to thrive within your field.

Your experience section should focus on any nursing or clinical experience that you have. This will vary depending on where you are within your career. If possible, though, try to include more than just clinical experience from school.

List each item in the following way:

  • Start with the company name and your job title.
  • Add the dates that you worked the position.
  • Include a handful of achievements (use bullet points to organize them) to reinforce your responsibilities with specific accomplishments that relate to the position you’re applying for.

In addition to your field-specific experience, include any other applicable employment or volunteer experiences outside of the healthcare industry. If you successfully worked as an administrative assistant for a large corporation, for instance, it can show that you have soft skills like organization and communication.

Skills 

It’s important to provide both hard skills and soft skills on your resume. You can create two subsections within your skills section to address each category.

Hard skills for a nurse will often vary depending on your level of education and experience. An entry-level nurse, for instance, would be expected to have basic hard skills such as being able to maintain electronic health records and monitor a patient’s health.

A nurse with an advanced degree, on the other hand, should be able to fully assess a patient’s condition, oversee their records, and even develop treatment plans.

Soft skills are also important. Nurses must have a good bedside manner and should be able to communicate well with both patients and doctors. Some common soft skills that can be included on a professional nursing resume include:

  • Teamwork.
  • Communication.
  • Advocacy.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Interpersonal skills.

When listing your skills, use simple vertical list or bullet points to provide a cleaner look.

References

The healthcare world is highly connected. If you want to show that you’re plugged in and approved by your peers and superiors, you may want to include some references. However, do so on a separate document rather than directly on your resume. List each reference’s information in the following order:

  • Their name.
  • Their job title.
  • Their company.
  • Their phone number.
  • Their email address.
  • Their physical address.
  • A brief description of your connection with them (e.g. you worked together in the past).

Professional references, such as an employer, coworker, or professor are always preferable. Avoid using friends and family whenever possible.

Tips for Writing a Nursing Resume

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you’re writing your professional nursing resume:

  • Incorporate keywords: When listing skills, education, and experience, look for opportunities to integrate keywords from the job description into your resume. This can resonate with a hiring manager and can also help you get past automated applicant tracking (ATS) software.
  • Be specific and provide statistics: While you should always be concise, you should also be specific. Provide quantifiable facts and figures whenever possible. “Worked as a registered nurse supervisor for 5 years” is much better than “worked as a registered nurse.”
  • Highlight accomplishments: There’s a difference between duties and achievements. Don’t simply list what you’ve done in the past. Point out where you achieved success.
  • Use action verbs: Strong verbs like “led,” “helped,” “managed,” “scheduled,” “supervised,” “collaborated,” and “administered,” will provide some gusto to your nursing resume.
  • Use a template, but be careful: If you’re feeling stuck, you can begin with a professional nursing resume template. However, make sure to personalize it as much as possible.

Sample Nursing Resume

If you’re still hesitating, use the template below as a launch point. Copy and paste it into a blank document and then fill out the information.

[First and last name.]
[Physical address.]
[Phone number.]
[Email address.]
[Applicable social links.]

[Your introduction — titled “About Me, “Resume Objective,” or “Career Objective.” Write one to two sentences an opening statement. Highlight relevant information and consider including a hook focused on your career ambitions and goals to draw in the recruiter.]

EDUCATION & OTHER CREDENTIALS

[List your education using the formatting below:

  • The name of the institution you attended.
  • The degree or certification you received as well as your GPA (if it’s a decent number, usually a 3.5 or higher).
  • The school location.
  • The years that you attended.]

CERTIFICATIONS AND LICENSES

[List each certification and license with the following information:

  • The states that you can practice in.
  • Your license numbers.
  • Your license and certification expiration dates.]

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

[List your professional experience using the formatting below:

  • The company name and your job title.
  • The dates that you worked the position.
  • Include a handful of achievements (use bullet points to organize them).]

SKILLS

[List your hard and soft skills in two separate sections. Use bullet points and select them based on the job description when possible.]


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