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5 Tips for Crafting Your First Nursing Resume

Dr. Elizabeth Markham
February 5, 2016

CareerBuilder recently announced that registered nurse is the hottest job of 2016. The rankings were based on the difference between jobs posted each month and new hires. For nurses, the popular job-hunting site found that there are nearly 200,000 more postings per month than nurses hired.

That’s a very promising number for nursing students entering the workforce. But when graduation is looming and the NCLEX is just around the corner, it’s easy to understand why some nursing students might feel anxious about putting together their first resume. No matter how hard you’ve hit the books, deftly relaying your skills on paper can be a monumental task.

It’s important to keep in mind that resumes aren’t a one-size-fits-all undertaking. Your resume should be much more than a filled-in template. However, following best practices and knowing what hiring managers want to see can go a long way.

Here are 5 tips for crafting your first nursing resume:

1) Be specific

Nurses entering the workforce may have a limited amount of professional experience, but detailing your clinical hours and simulation experience will show hiring managers the areas in which you’ve already had some hands-on training. For clinical rotations, Nursetogether.com recommends including unit, organization and dates. Also include the details of relevant volunteer experiences and internships.

2) Show off your computer knowledge

With the standardization of EHRs, comprehensive computer skills can make a big difference when you’re job hunting. List any medical software that you are familiar with, along with any other programs that will help you stand out among the competition.

3) Clean and update your social media and email address

When submitting online applications, there’s often an option to connect your app to LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Make sure your LinkedIn is up-to-date and is consistent with the information on your resume. When your profiles are tidy and professional, they can serve as a great supplementary resource to your resume and cover letter, especially if you’re active in groups and organizations connected to your field.  Remember your email address should also reflect professionalism.  There is a very different perception between bjames23@gmail.com and  hotmomma@gmail.com.

4) Highlight all relevant licenses, certifications, awards, or special skills

When hiring managers are scanning your resume they need to get information as efficiently as possible.  A certification or being bilingual may immediately differentiate you from the crowd and land you that desired job.  Make sure the most important information is easy to locate on the page and that everything is up to date.

5) Showcase accomplishments rather than duties

While new grads will likely have limited field-relevant accomplishments in the working world, make sure the ones you do have stand out. Young professionals tend to list duties or job expectations, because they’re often easier to quantify. Use any academic, volunteer or professional duties as a starting point, and then expand those ideas to encapsulate larger successes.

 

Dr. Markham joined the Herzing University team in December 2011 after serving as nursing program director at Bryant & Stratton College, Milwaukee market and interim nursing program director at Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC. Her previous experiences includes faculty positions at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE); Fayetteville State University and North Carolina Central University, as well as Duke University Medical Center. She has a background in nursing program planning and curriculum and program accreditation.  She is active in the Wisconsin Nurses Association, Wisconsin Center for Nursing Board (WCN), and the Racine-Kenosha Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association. As a nurse-educator she believes that learning is the act of gaining knowledge and skills that allow the person to effect social change and understand the impact of the actions of societal members on culture as a whole.  Her role as a teacher is to facilitate and serve as a resource to promote the intrinsic search for knowledge inherent in all persons. She finds immense joy in seeing the accomplishments of her students and seeing the many “lumps of coal’ transformed into valuable “diamonds” who will contribute to the improvement of global healthcare and the enhancement of self and society.


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