How to Write an Exceptional Nursing Resume

Creating an amazing resume is daunting in the best of times for any profession, but there’s just something about creating a great nursing resume that seems particularly challenging. However, it is just one of those things that needs to be done if you want to find the best employment opportunities. Whether you’re looking for your first nursing position fresh out of nursing school or you’re looking for new options as an experienced nurse, creating a resume that will blow away potential employers is a crucial first step to getting that dream job. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Name and Contact Details

As the opening of your resume, you’ll want this part to be clear and concise. Your name should be at the top of the page in bold font. It should be slightly larger than the rest of the resume, so keep it around 12-14 points in size. Include any earned titles you have: ACNPC, AFN-R, CCM, LPN, RN, or any others. Keep your name consistent with how it is listed with licensing organizations, so your certifications are easy to verify.

Your contact information should be located just below your name and include up-to-date and relevant information. Your phone number and appropriate email address should be clearly visible. Because many interviews are performed via Skype or other online chat apps and software, especially if you are looking in another state or country, include any other ways potential employers can reach you.

  1. Education

In this section, list any nursing degrees you have earned and indicate the schools you attended and when you received your degree. Avoid including your dates of attendance; this doesn’t add much information and can be confusing. Instead, simply state your date of graduation.

When listing your education, include relevant courses you took as well as your clinical rotations. For these rotations, consider including general patient information of the population you served (age, gender, condition, etc.). This will show future employees what your prevalent experience is in.

  1. Certifications

Your resume should indicate what your qualifications are for working. Take this space to list any certifications and accompanying designations that you have pursued outside of your main educational experience. License numbers and expiration dates should be included here.

  1. Relevant Experience

If you are already a working nurse, you should include the nursing positions you have had during your career up to this point. List them starting with the most current and working your way down. Make sure to indicate the locations, organization name, and dates worked. Underneath this information, include a bulleted list of your primary roles and responsibilities, but avoid listing everything. There’s simply too much to usefully include, so stick to three to five statements describing your impact at the facility. A good formula to use is Action + Detail + Impact. In other words, you will tell what you did, give a detail about the role, and describe what the purpose was or how it positively affected the organization.

Some ideas of things to include are time frames, discharge, accuracy rates, etc. This is the portion of your resume where you should really emphasize your abilities, so don’t feel like you are over-selling yourself.

  1. Other Experience

While this mostly applies to new nursing graduates, it might be applicable for experienced nurses as well. You will follow the same pattern as you did in the previous step, outlining the locations and dates of previous employment while including bulleted statements of duties. However, you don’t need to include as much information about your duties. In fact, instead of focusing on the actual physical responsibilities you held, it’s an even better idea to list out skills you learned while in the position that translate over to nursing. For example, if you worked as a server at a restaurant, you may want to indicate that you learned excellent people skills and how to help several people at once. If you spent a summer as a camp counselor, you could emphasize the fact that you learned great problem-solving skills and how to work well in a team.

  1. Volunteer Experience

You could add this section to the previous one and simply combine them, but by listing it as a separate section you are calling attention to the fact that you have done work for free with the goal of helping people. This is especially helpful if the experience relates to nursing, but even if it does not, you will still want to include it here and specify how the experience has prepared you for a career in nursing.

  1. References

References are not necessary to include in a resume; however, if they are asked for, you should be prepared to provide them to your potential employer. If you are asked to provide them along with your resume, list them on a separate page and try to include 4-6 of them. Make sure to choose people with whom you have worked or volunteered. Include former supervisors or managers, coworkers, or professors (if you are a new grad). Make sure to discuss this with your references first, so they know if they are to expect a call or email regarding your work and relationship.