How to Write a Nursing Resume
Nurses are required to possess a wide range of technical skills, work within an emotionally testing environment, perform complex clinical procedures, while the whole time maintaining a professional demeanor. So how can your ability to do all this be successfully crammed into a one-page resume?
The first thing to note is this: you aren’t trying to list your ENTIRE CAREER on your nursing resume. Your job may pull you in all directions and demand a lot, but by trying to include this on your resume you’ll just end up with a messy resume that no hiring manager will want to read.
key to writing a good nursing resume is highlighting the range in your clinical skills, identifying what makes you good at your job, and demonstrating what you’ve accomplished.
How To Decide What To Put On Your Nursing Resume
The key to writing a good nursing resume is to highlight the range in your clinical skills, identify what makes you good at your job, and demonstrate what you’ve accomplished. To help you decide what to put on your nursing resume, you should be objective and assess where your strengths lie as a nurse. Try to get into the mind of your boss – what would he/she say your best qualities are? Think about what goals you are set each week/month. Are there any tangible measures of your success as a nurse? Did you receive any particularly positive performance reviews? Any success your ward, unit, department, facility or hospital/medical facility was commended for can be considered your own accomplishment and included in your nursing resume.
TIP: Don’t clutter your resume with too many day-to-day duties. Instead, highlight a number of more complex duties that illustrate the range in your clinical skills, while remaining achievement focused.
Soft Skills & Technical Skills
Skills can be divided into two categories: soft skills and technical skills. Soft skills are an essential aspect of the healthcare industry, and include things like:
- Communication skills
- Leadership qualities
- Being compassionate
Soft skills are intangible and hard to substantiate, compared to technical skills. You can’t measure someone’s level of compassion, however you can check whether someone knows how to intubate. Therefore, you should avoid including too many soft skills on your resume, since anyone can claim to be “hard working, patient focused, compassionate, etc.”. Don’t leave them out all together, just make sure they are subtly weaved into the fabric of your resume.
Technical skills refer to your more tangible, less generic professional capabilities. Technical nursing skills include the following:
- Clinical skills
- Clerical skills
- Managerial skills
Technical skills impress hiring managers, and should be the primary focus of your nursing resume. Nursing is all about experience and ability – your technical skills, along with your previous nursing experience forms the backbone of your resume. This is why you should avoid including too many day-to-day duties. You will fail to demonstrate the range in your technical skill set by writing that you know how to dress wounds and measure blood pressure.
Professionally Written Nursing Resume
We had our certified professional resume writers create a sample nursing resume to help demonstrate what an effective nursing resume looks like. You’ll see the level of expertise that goes into our resume writing services – we hope you find this page useful, it’s designed to:
- Provide an example of what a good nursing resume looks like so you know what to aim for
- Give you a detailed nursing resume writing guide
- Demonstrate our expert resume writing skills in case you want to use our specialist nursing resume writing service
Sample Nursing Resume – Chief Nursing Officer BSN, RN
Below is a nursing resume example for a Chief Nursing Officer, who’s also a Registered Nurse and has a Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). We’ve included an explanation of some key elements that make this a great resume, and explain how you can use this nursing resume sample to help you write your own resume.
Nursing Resume Writing Guide and Tips
Keep It Brief
One of the key qualities of this nursing resume is the fact that it’s only one page long. Although the resume documents 13 years of professional experience within nursing field, from 4 different career levels (from RN up to Chief Nurse Officer), the writer has managed to keep the document brief, concise, and easy to read.
Give Yourself a Title
Using a professional title at the top of your resume, i.e. Chief Nursing Officer, helps you identify yourself as a professional and a specialist in your field of nursing. Consider your specialty and do the same if you’re writing your own resume; check the title of the job you’re applying for and consider using this as your professional title. Include your particular field (e.g. cardiology, orthopedics, obstetrics, ambulatory, Registered Nurse, Licensed Partitioning Nurse, Emergency Trauma Nurse, Home Healthcare Nurse, etc.).
Show Your Key Skills
Any decent nursing resume needs a clear presentation of key skills. If you look at this nursing resume example you’ll see the professional resume writer has successfully chosen nine specific key skills and stuck them right at the top of the resume, in the all-important first one-third of the document. These cannot be ignored by the reader, and more importantly, they will actively engage that person. If you’re writing your own nursing resume, be strategic about which skills you list here; review the specifics of the job you’re applying for and ensure they correspond to job requirements.
With many different types of software becoming more and more involved in the modern job search and recruitment process, it’s paramount you keyword optimize your resume. Using a key skills section to pack these keywords into your resume is a simple but effect technique that will help your resume pass applicant tracking software, and make you more searchable as a candidate.
Always Provide Context
When writing a nursing resume, it’s important to provide a context to your work and achievements. Did you manage 15 nurses within a small ward, or did you lead 150 nurses across the entire medical facility? It’s important to make such distinctions. Look at the professional experience section on the nursing resume example above – you’ll see our professional resume writer has incorporated one sentence under the most recent job at St Nicholas Memorial Hospital that provides context to the reader:
- 3,000 bed acute care hospital with a $50/year budget and 500+employees
Focus On Achievements
As explained earlier in this article, the best nursing resumes don’t include endless lists of job duties and responsibilities – there’s no need to. What’s important is that you convince the reader you’re worth granting an interview by demonstrating your past success. Within the above sample resume, the writer has only included 3 short bullet points, all focused on specific achievements that are presented using easy-to-read numerical data.
Don’t Forget The Important Stuff!
You’d be surprised what some people leave off their resume. I’ve reviewed resumes where contact sections were missing phone numbers, email addresses, one even lacked a name! Be sure to include the important stuff, like if you’re an RN you should include this along with your license number.
Final Take-Away Tips
Here’s an awesome infographic that summarizes some great advice, ready for you to enjoy. This data incorporated into this visual delight is taken from a number of authoritative sources, all put together by Carrington College who specialize in medical education. Don’t forget, if you have anything you want to say about the content of this page, or you have questions for our experts, comment below and we’ll be sure to respond!
Specialist Nursing Resume Writing Services
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