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5 tips for creating a winning resume

Build your resume with these expert tips

A resume is your first and sometimes only chance to make a positive impression on a potential employer. As manager of nurse recruitment at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, Sheri Monsein, MN, RN, receives an abundance of resumes. But in order to make your resume stand out, Monsein said follow these guidelines.

Target a specific employer

Great resumes demonstrate the candidates have conducted due diligence and researched information about the hospital where they are applying. “I want to have a candidate show how their experience, skills and personality are a good fit for UCLA Health,” Monsein said. “I’m aware they want a job, but why do they want to work here specifically? Are they interested in working at a research hospital? Do they share our vision and mission? I encourage applicants to tell me what appeals to them about the particular job and working here as opposed to another healthcare setting.”

List the proper contact information

When she’s calling to schedule an interview or make an offer, Monsein wants to reach candidates in a timely manner. “List a cell phone number and make sure you have a professional outgoing message,” she said. “Also list an email address that you check frequently.” While some people advise not listing a full street address to prevent identity theft, Monsein wants candidates to at least list a city and state, so she can determine whether she needs to factor in relocation costs when making an offer.

Make sure it’s well-written – and spell-checked

Monsein looks for resumes that are well-crafted and that highlight the candidate’s skills and experience. This doesn’t necessarily mean paying someone to write your resume, but Monsein said it does involve searching for templates online and asking for a colleague or mentor to critique your resume. “Grammar and spelling errors can automatically disqualify candidates,” she said. Cover letters addressed to the wrong person or hospital are often not considered.

Don’t omit job experience

Monsein said she often sees new graduates who neglect to list their job experiences outside of nursing thinking they will not be relevant to the employer. She disagreed. “Seeing that a candidate has worked at McDonald’s or Abercrombie shows they have learned customer service and time-management skills,” Monsein said. “And if they worked while attending school, it typically eases their transition from student to full-time employee.”

List prior volunteer experience

If candidates have volunteered through their church or within their community, nurse recruiters want to hear about it. “I don’t look for a one-time volunteer stint, but if someone has shown the initiative to go on a medical mission or to work at a nonprofit, it supplements their work experience and can demonstrate both leadership and compassion,” Monsein said.

An extra nugget of advice

For nurses who have been out of the job force for longer than five years, Monsein recommended enrolling in a re-entry program before sending out resumes. “Treatments, medications and technology can change quickly in healthcare,” she said. “If you’ve been unemployed while you raise a family, a re-entry course can bring you up to speed.”

For nurses who are considering taking a leave from nursing, Monsein encouraged them to continue working on a per diem basis, rather than completely leaving the profession. “It’s easier to stay current with your skills by working one weekend a month,” she said.

Courses Related to ‘Career Building’

CE166-60: Networking for Career Advancement (1 contact hr)
The goal of this networking continuing education program is to enhance nurses’ skills in professional networking to keep their career development strategies robust.

CE621: Jumpstart Your Career in Nursing Informatics (1 contact hr)
This continuing education program will update your knowledge about nursing informatics as a specialty. After studying the information presented, you will be able to discuss the relevance of this nursing specialty to healthcare reform initiatives and today’s high-tech health information environment, explain educational pathways and identify healthcare organizations and businesses that employ nurse informaticists (informaticians).

CE140-60: Interviewing for Career Advancement (1 contact hr)
The goal of this continuing education program is to enhance nurses’ ability to prepare for and participate in job interviews.

By | 2021-05-07T15:52:49-04:00 January 9th, 2017|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|Tags: , , |7 Comments

About the Author:

Linda Childers is a freelance writer.


  1. Avatar
    Gaynell Linzy, RN, MSN January 22, 2017 at 5:21 pm - Reply

    A lot of great tips.
    What can a person do about age discrimination when searching for a job. Employers seem hesitant to hire nurses over 50 years old. It seems that employers are more inclined to hire new grad’s with little or no experience so that they can pay them less. I feel that more seasoned/ experienced nurses can act as a preceptor, mentor, and A valuable resource to new nurses.

  2. Avatar
    Therese Ember January 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm - Reply

    If I were in Nurse Recruitment, I would seriously look into the contracts regarding the Phillipines. I know several Filipino RN’s who regularly call off sick when in fact they are working VIP private-duty cases. They’ll also be working 24-hour shifts (hospital plus private-duty cases) which seriously endangers the lives of patients, as well as drivers on the road from their sleep-deprivation.

  3. Avatar
    John Grey January 23, 2017 at 1:47 am - Reply

    This a very insightful article.
    I found it to be very concise and to the point.
    I have read the comments and do not think you can change people’s biases.
    You can change yourself and come at that from a point of abundance rather than scarcity.
    Thanks for your advice.
    John Grey RN

  4. Avatar
    Tita Edralin Ravi, MN,RN,CCM January 23, 2017 at 10:37 pm - Reply

    Kindly do a research before publishing a reply like that of
    Therese Ember’s opinion. With so many Filipino RN who are hard working and intelligent educators in this country, why did Therese picked a Filipino RN ? This is a slander comment from Therese Ember
    that calls for withdrawing this reply read by a lot of recruiters.
    “Freedom of press doesn’t mean Free Slandering”.
    Kindly do a research who puts patients & drivers in danger.
    Review the resume, interview the candidate & then make a decision or now -a-days a police records can be requested as reference for any dangerous drivers.
    To Therese Ember: you seems like you don’t like the hard working Filipino RN.
    Tita E. Ravi. MN, RN, CCM
    Immediate Past President of
    Philippine Nurses Association, Gulf Coast, FL

  5. Avatar
    Tita Edralin, MN,RN,CCM January 23, 2017 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    This article “5 Tips for Creating a Winning Resume”
    is very helpful. Great tips in proof reading our created resume, direct to the point, precise and sensible.

    Tita E. Ravi, MN,RN,CCM

  6. Avatar
    Christy Edralin January 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Dear Ms. Editor,
    Giving tips in creating a resume is nice to publish, but Theresa Ember ‘s negative comments should not be publish just like the way you deleted my first reply.
    Christy Edralin, RN,MN

  7. Avatar
    Elizabeth Lawrence January 23, 2017 at 11:18 pm - Reply

    Can I send you my Resume privately for a Critique.

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