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I’m planning to leave school nursing to pursue other opportunities. How can I improve my resume?


Dear Donna,

I plan to leave school nursing in June to pursue a full-time change this summer at my local VA medical center or university hospital. My experience includes 16 years as a school nurse and one year as a full-time telemetry nurse. The last two years I have worked med/surg per diem at the VA and remained a school nurse in Baltimore County Public Schools for the last seven years. I am looking for recommendations to improve my resume.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Hazel,

You certainly have a great background! I have noticed many nurses use resume formats that do not serve them well. They often are outdated in terms of layout and format, list routine nursing duties (as opposed to accomplishments or more marketable experiences), and either provide no real substance or have too much unimportant detail. Here are some tips:

Under each job, focus on accomplishments and the more interesting and marketable experiences you had rather than routine nursing duties. Your resume should not read like a job description. For example, be sure to mention any speaking, teaching or training you did or other things beyond the clinical if applicable, including committee work, special projects, etc.

Use a bulleted format rather than an outdated paragraph format. After each bullet, put one accomplishment or piece of information using short truncated sentences. (If bullets are prohibited for online posting, use a dash.)

Avoid jargon and acronyms that may be specific to your specialty or facility. Besides, among the many people who might read your resume, not all are nurses.

For hard copy documents, use good quality paper and have your resume printed with a laser printer. Do not use computer paper or photocopied documents. Use 12-point type size for easy readability.

Here are some articles you may find helpful: “Resume Writing Tips for Nurses” ( and “Seven Myths About Resume Writing” (

You can view sample resumes and cover letters plus much more in “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses” available at

My best wishes,

By | 2010-02-16T00:00:00-05:00 February 16th, 2010|Categories: Blogs, Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

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