Nursing, Students

Tips for Building a Professional Nursing Resume 

Treyvon Kurr
Reading Time: 4 minutes

If you’re a nurse who is actively seeking a nursing job, then your resume can be an invaluable tool in that quest. A good nursing resume gives you the opportunity to showcase your experience, education, and credentials to potential employers in a professional format that can’t be matched. 

This article will provide practical tips for building a professional resume that showcases all the right information. 

Customize your header for every application 

Your header should include things like your name, phone number, and email address. Some people also include their mailing address, but it’s less essential since most hiring managers already have your contact information by the time, they look at your resume.  

You might want to include some professional title under your name, such as “Emergency Room Nurse,” since it will act as a keyword when you apply online and ensure that your application is routed to the right person on staff. If you want to provide a link to your LinkedIn profile, this would be the correct place to put it. 

When optimizing your nursing resume for ATS scans, remember that these are software programs parsing through hundreds or thousands of applications; make sure you keep things simple and straightforward.  

There’s no need for fancy fonts or styling in the header, stick with Times New Roman or another classic serif font in 11-point type size instead of something like Papyrus 12-point bold italics. It may seem boring, but it allows for faster reading for both machines and humans alike! 

Write a strong summary statement 

A summary statement is a short paragraph that comprises the first section of your professional resume. This unique feature allows you to sell your skills and experience by showcasing your most impressive accomplishments in a few sentences, and it can be an effective way to make any hiring manager stop and pay attention. 

Before writing your summary statement, take time to review the job description for the position you’re applying for and highlight any skills, responsibilities, or requirements that appear repeatedly.  

Since these words will be important to employers, use them as keywords in your summary statement so that you can convey quickly how well-suited you are for the role. Be concise when crafting this section: limit it to three sentences or bullet points with short phrases so that hiring managers can easily read and process what you’ve written. 

Include details about your professional experience, years of experience, qualifications, and other relevant information. Begin each sentence with action words like “created” or “managed” to showcase what you have accomplished in prior roles.  

When describing yourself, choose powerful adjectives such as loyal, innovative, or analytical to demonstrate how you would fit into the workplace culture of a given organization. You may also want to include details about what type of nursing role you are looking for and provide a short summary of your nursing education (e.g., bachelor’s degree). 

Only include relevant information under Work Experience 

It’s important to only include work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for. If a job doesn’t relate to your goal, skip it and focus on other experiences. For example, you wouldn’t include your high school education or jobs that have nothing to do with nursing if you’re looking for a nursing position.  

Don’t try to stretch things by including irrelevant experiences; you’ll end up sounding disjointed and confused. Only include experience from the last ten years in detail, but list older experiences briefly at the bottom of your resume under “Prior Experience.” 

When listing clinical experience, use metrics, and action verbs 

Good action verbs to use when listing your clinical experience include facilitated, collaborated, managed, prepared, and administered. For non-clinical experience, consider using verbs like recruited or maintained.  

You can also quantify your clinical experience by including metrics like the number of patients you provided care for, the number of procedures you performed or assisted with, and the number of patients with specific conditions that you treated.  

An example sentence could be: “Monitored a team of 24 nurses who cared for over 150 inpatients daily during job rotation in the cardiac unit at [X] hospital.” 

To quantify past experiences in which numbers may not be readily available to include in your resume (i.e., patient satisfaction surveys), try using percentages or timelines instead.  

A good example sentence is: “After starting as a traveling nurse at [X] hospital, our cardiac unit increased its patient satisfaction scores by 20 percent over six months to rise above the national average.” 

Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible 

A resume is essentially a marketing document. Its purpose is to sell your skills, accomplishments, and experience to the hiring manager to get invited for an interview. This means that you need to highlight your most impressive professional feats in a convincing way. 

The best way to do this is by quantifying your achievements as much as possible. Numbers and percentages are inherently persuasive and can effectively inspire confidence in your abilities. 

Add action verbs that demonstrate how you used certain skills or capabilities at work: “trained,” “excelled in,” “achieved,” etc. For example: “Trained six nurses on the new tracking software.” 

Wherever possible, include numbers and percentages when describing your accomplishments. For example: “Increased patient satisfaction by 25% by installing new waiting room chairs” or “Decreased turnaround times on patient test results by 35% through the use of a new system.” 

Include any certifications that are relevant to nursing 

While you might not be able to earn any certifications in the immediate future, if you’re serious about going into nursing, it’s worth considering what certifications would help you and which ones are attainable. Some of these certifications can be earned through your employer or by completing a class at a local college. If possible, try to receive certification in nursing you plan on pursuing. 

Some common nurse certifications include Cardiac Life Support (CLS), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Certified Medical-Surgical Registered Nurse (CMSRN), and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). 

Be honest in every part of your resume 

There is no shortcut to building a strong resume. In fact, it can take several days, weeks, or months to make sure every detail is accurate and up to date. Putting in the time will be worth it when you find your dream job.  

Remember that your prospective employer may do some research on you and be able to discover any mistakes or lies on your resume. You could even face criminal charges if you lie about work experience or credentials on a resume. Do everything you can to ensure that your resume reflects exactly who you are as a professional nurse. 

Final Thoughts 

When you’re ready to apply for nursing jobs, it’s vital that you play your cards right by having a professional resume. The tips above will make sure every aspect of your power resume is dialed up to 11 as you embark on this next chapter in life. Good luck! 

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