Nursing jobs may be somewhat plentiful, but finding the right job for you means being smart about the items you put on your resume. Read on for seven tips on how to build a great resume for nurses.
Include Any Relevant Academics or Licensing
Writing your resume is not the time to be humble. If you have completed any relevant academic courses, certification or licensing programs, include these even if you think they aren’t what the next employer is looking for.
It’s also fine for nurses to include anything ongoing or in process, for example online nursing masters programs. Even if your expected completion date will be after you start your new job, include it on your resume. And, because we look at our achievements with a prejudiced eye, ask a friend or mentor to look over your resume carefully to see if you’ve left anything out.
Take Advantage of Mentoring
If your place of employment or training offers mentorship opportunities, by all means make the time to do it. Not only will you be able to learn valuable skills and glean advice from your mentor, but you’ll be able to ask for a reference from your mentor when you look for your next job.
If you are a more experienced nurse, then extend your services as a mentor. This will help you think about your career and skills in a way you may not have before. Listing a mentorship on your resume will also signal to employers you are capable of leading, even if you have not previously held any leadership positions.
Not Much Nursing Experience? Focus on Related Skills
Crafting your resume is doubly hard when you’re starting out in your career. It’s acceptable to list non-nursing jobs or other experience on your resume if you can relate the skills required to nursing in some way. For example, working in hospitality may have helped you learn how to solve problems.
A job as a camp counselor may have taught you leadership and responsibility, and given you an edge when dealing with young children. A nursing resume should highlight your nursing credentials, but savvy employers know that a diversity of experience makes for a well-rounded nurse who can draw on a wealth of skills to do her job better.
Explain Any Gaps in Your Work History
If you have a gap of more than six months in your work history, it can be tempting to leave the reason for this a mystery, hoping employers will be dazzled by your credentials and overlook it. Don’t give into this temptation. Any gaps in your work history need to be explained. Nurse hiring teams understand that nurses, perhaps more than other health care professionals, have flexible work histories. If you took the time off to pursue another career, tend for a family member or travel, state it on the resume or in your cover letter. What you don’t want to do is leave it off, so the recruiter wonders if you’re hiding a job that ended badly.
Specializations look great on resumes, but unfortunately they take a long time to build. If you are making a long-term plan for your career, it’s a great idea to work toward a specialization so that you can target your dream job more effectively. Think carefully before you start taking extra courses or ask to be reassigned in a hospital — if you decide you’d rather do a different specialty later, it will take even longer to advance.
Be a Joiner
If you’re looking to boost your resume for your next nursing job, one of the quickest ways to add attractive details is to join professional organizations. In addition to any unions or national organizations that you might belong to as a normal part of your current job, seek out local, regional or specialist groups to help you make contacts and show you enjoy a sense of community among your fellow nurses.
If you’re already part of as many organizations as you think possible, another relatively quick way to build a blue-ribbon resume is to give your time as a volunteer. You don’t have to volunteer your nursing skills — though those are highly sought — to make a difference in your community. When hiring teams look through resumes and see volunteer work listed, it gives them a sense of what you are like as a person and will distinguish you from other applicants.
About the Author: Kelsey Pinoro is a nurse in a pediatrician’s office. She enjoys mentoring young nurses and helping them find their way in the profession.