If it’s time to look for a new job (here are some signs if you aren’t sure), the first thing you must do is dust off that old resume and bring it back to life.
Do you dread that part?
Don’t think of resume writing as boring homework, think of it as a celebratory pat on the back for all of the uniquely wonderful things you bring to nursing.
Rather than trying to fix an old one, try starting from scratch. Write quickly without editing. You can go back later to fix format and fine tune grammar.
Follow this resume checklist to make sure yours stands out above the rest.
Make your objective or summary specific to the job
The objective is a brief summary of the position you’d like to be hired for, while highlighting your most pertinent qualities. If you’re applying for a position in a cardiac step-down unit, you might say: To obtain a position in a cardiac step-down unit where I can contribute my cardiology expertise in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment.
Keep things concise
When writing your experience, skills and activities, express each point as briefly as possible. Complete sentences aren’t necessary, nor are the use of periods to punctuate the end of each item.
Use powerful action words
Because most employers want to hear: What did you do? Use power words like:
See Georgia College & State University Career Center’s Resume Preparation Guide for an extensive list of words that have that extra punch.
Include the obvious
Do you advocate for patients? Do you take care to administer medications safely and appropriately? Do you communicate directly and professionally? Don’t assume that your prospective employer knows this. Highlighting it shows that you understand the importance of these foundational aspects of nursing.
Keep it to one page … or should you?
Some say the old one-page resume rule is outdated. Others say it depends on your level of experience. A nurse who’s had a few different positions in 15 years may require a longer resume to fully represent the breadth of his or her skills than a new graduate nurse, who may have less to draw from. If you follow the concise rule, and keep your resume specific with power words, you can be less concerned with length. But bear in mind that resumes are still just a snapshot of your nursing history, not a novel.
Do I need a CV?
A CV (curriculum vitae) is typically reserved for research, publishing, or academia. CVs are typically longer than a resume and stay consistent regardless of the what kind of position you may be pursuing.
Helpful Resume Guides
- Georgia College & State University Career Center’s Resume Preparation Guide
- Thomas Jefferson University Resume Writing Guide
- The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Writing Your Resume: BSN Students