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5 important resume tips for nurses

Crafting a resume can feel burdensome to many professionals, and nurses are no strangers to the stress of resume writing. In healthcare and nursing, a resume is still an important career-building tool, so doing it well is paramount.

1. Let your credentials shine

I often see nursing resumes lacking the individual’s credentials at the very top. If you shed blood, sweat and tears to earn your RN, BSN or MSN designation, why wouldn’t you want to put those letters front and center so the reader will automatically notice them? You don’t want the reader to have to search, so highlight your credentials in the header.

2. Avoid outdated practices

It is no longer appropriate to write “References available upon request” at the bottom of your resume. The fact that references are available is a given. You’ll be asked for them during the application process. It is likewise no longer appropriate to list your references on your resume.

Nurse job applicants will sometimes list the manager or supervisor for each position. This isn’t a savvy tactic since the person you’ve included on your resume may no longer be employed at that facility, and you want to avoid giving erroneous information.

3. Add a professional summary

It’s prudent for the first section of your resume to be a professional summary that highlights your accomplishments and skills. Some individuals will choose to list these as bullet points, while others prefer one or two paragraphs of prose. Still others may choose to make this section even more robust, including several sections to highlight specific skill areas that he or she would like to elucidate.

If your name and credentials at the top of your resume are like the masthead and headline of a newspaper, the summary is like the lead article on the front page.

4. Have professional contact information

There’s nothing like an embarrassing email address to make a resume look less than professional. If your personal email address is [email protected], you should create a more appropriate email address for professional use, like “[email protected]

Every resume should include a phone number at which the applicant can be contacted. The outgoing message on your voicemail should be professional, stating your name and the number that has been reached.

5. Other things to avoid

Listing your hobbies, marital status, height, weight and other personal data is definitely frowned upon. This is wholly superfluous information.

Your resume should be 100% free of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes or poor sentence structure. Such errors on a resume are inexcusable.

There’s so much more

There are many finer points to resume writing, but these five areas cover several common errors, along with key recommended practices.

Remember that the quality of your resume reflects very strongly on your personal brand as a nursing professional.

By | 2015-11-13T19:46:15-05:00 November 15th, 2015|Categories: Nursing careers and jobs|0 Comments
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC
Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind and the award-winning blog, Digital Doorway. Keith is co-host of, a popular nursing podcast, and also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. A widely published writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He brings a plethora of experience as a nursing thought leader, holistic career coach, writer and nurse entrepreneur.

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