/ Resume Writing

Nursing Resume: 2018 Guide to Nursing Resumes (Samples & Examples)

Nurses are the heroes of real life.

Nurses are lifesavers available for 24X7 support to a patient.

Quiet and poised, these amazing professionals literally keep our sanity in place when we are dealing with so much.

Today, we feel rather obliged and happy to share all our knowledge on building a nursing resume.

After all the efforts nurses put in, they deserve to grow and achieve success.

We assure the same by sharing our powerful sample of nursing resumes and how to go about building the same.

Why do you need a Nursing Resume?

Nursing is one of the super prestigious and most sought-after professions in the United States.

Nursing indeed is the largest healthcare profession in the USA.

According to The ATlantic, USA is in major nursing shortage. In fact According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.2 million vacancies will emerge for registered nurses between 2014 and 2022.

3 major reasons for a nursing resume to be made:-

  1. There are around 3.1 million registered nurses in the USA. And the number is growing. The field is becoming highly competitive.
  2. With USA aging population increasing day by day, there is a huge demand for nurses in future and so a good nursing resume makes sense.
  3. Technology is advancing and nurses need to upgrade themselves with the upcoming technology to render better services. This is showcased first, through your nursing resume!
  4. Existing nursing professionals are aging as not many females are joining the profession due to the availability of unlimited career option. So they want new nurses to take the baton forward.

That is why the growing importance of a good reasonably made nursing resume cannot be denied.

This Guide would take you through:-

Who needs a Nursing Resume?

Refer to the Wikipedia page to know different levels of nursing professionals and paraprofessionals in this profession.

This is to say that the nursing profession has different requirements and needs which you must know in order to build a brilliant nursing resume.

You have to know your target audience before stating facts in the nursing resume.

You could simply select 5 potential employers you are looking forward to work with and then follow these 3 rules in researching about them

  1. Search for Linked in profiles of nurses who are already working with your potential employers. Read what they do and what certifications they have.

  2. Scan the social media pages like FB, Twitter, and Instagram of your potential employers thoroughly to gauge insights regarding what they are interested in.

  3. Look for targeted keywords and jargons used in job descriptions of the potential employers. This will help you greatly. Will show further in the article.

How to write a Nursing Resume?

  1. For the sake of example, we have taken up our nursing resume template as Orange Twist which aptly incorporates a lot of information in a single column.

The color lends brightness to the resume for nurses and your picture sharply increases the chances of resume shortlisting.

For other nursing resume templates, you can refer to our guide on Resume Template.

  1. Additionally, we have followed a reverse-chronological resume format because this is the most commonly used and globally accepted format.
    This format is definitely an eye candy for the recruiter as it makes it really easy to scan through your details and makes maximum impact.

  2. Font used is open sans and ample white space gives it a spacious feel.

Now the format is done, let us move further to the first section.

Nursing Resume: Personal Details

nurseresumepic1

Do not include full address as it is absolutely redundant on your resume.

Recruiters are good enough with the information on city and country and they are really not concerned about your house number and street number.

Keep it minimalistic and professional.

Use a professional and pleasing picture of yours and make a reasonable impression on the recruiter.

Nursing Resume: Professional Affiliation

After a thorough research, we have concluded that there is a bit too much importance given to this factor in nursing resumes: Professional Affiliation.

This is because there are zillions of them and you are affiliated with one.

Many hiring managers in the nursing industry are interested in knowing these details which you ought to mention in your resume for landing those interviews:-

  • Affiliation name
  • Your date of admission
  • Offices held
  • Brief description of your role or reason you chose this group over others

Nursing Resume: Licence Details

nurseresumepic2

There is a fair amount of argument around mentioning your license on the resume.

But as we found, this information is already available as public records and there is literally no breach of privacy happening while you mention it.

In fact, mentioning the license number might just make the recruiter's job very very easy and may act as a distinguishing element for you.

These 5 details are necessary while stating License details:-

  1. Name on the license if it is different than the name on the resume as mentioned in our case.
  2. License Expiration Date
  3. License Issuing Authority
  4. License Number
  5. License Type

A separate section can be used to describe them.

Also, you can state the license number just below your email id or phone number in the personal details section like this:-

nurseresume4

Nursing Resume: Professional Career Summary

A professional career summary is that junction in the resume which makes crossing the next road very easy for the recruiter.

So to say, this is a 5-lines synopsis summarising your entire career journey and makes the everlasting impact on the recruiter.

A 6-seconds recruiter neither has the time nor has the patience to read each and every line in the resume.

But he uses what we call it as scanning rather than skimming.

The recruiter just registers the relevant information in these 6-seconds and moves on to the next resume.

This was a human recruiter.

Now let us face the ATS that is driven by keywords and job/industry specific jargons.

So your career summary should have these qualities to land all the dream interviews:

  1. Tailor-made according to your potential employer and not a formulaic document as we discussed earlier
  2. Put keywords used by the recruiter to clear ATS
  3. Start with adjectives and number of years of work experience to give power to your summary and make an impact on the recruiter
  4. Use cause and effect relationship in each line to better make sense of the tasks performed.
  5. Use any particular high rated certification in your industry to get through the shortlisting round.

Let us look at the rn nurse resume sample:-

nurseresume5

In the above example, the candidate starts the summary mentioning first the number of years of experience and adjectives like Versatile.

We can still make it better by using some powerful words in each line:-

nurseresume6

Here we have employed impactful words like Adept, Highly-skilled, etc..

These words show positive assertiveness and make for a huge probability of impressing the recruiter.

Please take note that we have used a simple job title as Nurse.

You have to take care while writing the job title.

It necessarily does not have to match your current job title but definitely should be in line with the job title you are dreaming of.

So, if you are applying for a Head Nurse profile and right now you are at Supervisor-Nurse level. you can safely use this job title as 'Head Nurse' to convey your aspirations.

Nursing Resume: Key Skills

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Key Skills is takes your resume to the next level. Not many people are aware of it. You are lucky to be reading this.

Many sample resumes you find on the web will not display this section.

This is because ATS has come into play recently and the employment industry is still trying to come in terms with it.

There are 3 simple rules to state your key skills:

  1. Use bullets to separate them and for easy scanning
  2. Place the key skills section just after professional summary(in case, the license details are mentioned in the personal details section)
  3. Use small phrases and not statements for the sake of space and professionalism. Also for the sake of ATS
  4. Align it with your current work experience but never forget to match exactly with the keywords used by the recruiter in the job description
  5. Avoid abbreviation in key skills if possible

Looking at the above example, you will see many key skills which are relevant to the nurse resume and you can use the same.

Let us look at the wrong key skills for comparative analysis:-

nurseresume8

Nursing Resume: Work Experience

The guidelines behind a nursing resume exemplifies the unspoken regulations that make your standard rn nurse resume:

Bulleting & one-liners

Recruiters do not have more than 6-seconds to spare for you and your resume.

It is pretty less, but it is the closest ot fair. Considerably, the ideal length of your resume should be 2 -pages.

Given these 2 constraints, you may want to state all your tasks performed in one-liner using bullet points.

The best part is that it takes up less space in a resume and is easy to read and scan.

Incorrect:
resume11

Correct:
nurseresume10

Bolding

Highlighting has a very important role to play in the writing industry and in any document for that matter which you ever prepare.

Be it drafting of letters, applications, cover letters, even answering a question paper.

We highlight things to help the reader scan the important points.

The same rule applies here.

For the6-seconds recruiter, bolding of important words and figures will go a long way in making an impact.

Incorrect Way

nurseresume12

Correctway

nurseresume10

Bucketing

For all the points in your work experience, it is beneficial to club similar points under 1 bucket to make a recruiter's job easy.

Without any bucketing, it will become a pile of information difficult to scan and make sense of.

Let us see an rn nurse resume example:

Incorrect Way

NURSERESUME50

The image above makes it very difficult for the recruiter to gauge any insight or scan any important information.

At best, what recruiter would do is move on to the next resume!

Correct Way

nurseresume51

Key Achievements

The tasks you have performed as a nurse are clearly stated but what attracts a recruiter is the special achievements which you had.

These achievements give you an edge over the other candidates who are in the competition.

If you mix the achievements and accomplishments in the work experience then they won't be visible enough to be acknowledged

To explicitly showcase these achievements, it definitely makes sense to keep a separate bucket for the same under each work-experience.

This way, it will catch the recruiter's eye.

Let us understand from a rn resume example. Scan the key achievements of this nurse in the work experience shown:-

Incorrect way

nurseresume13

Could you find out? Yes. Did it take you a lot of time? Yes. How much? Now let us compare it with the one below:-

Correct Way

resumenurse14

Now how much time it took you to scan the key achievements?

So go with the correct approach and mention all the verbs in the achievements section in past tense as you have already achieved the goal.

Alignment of Dates and other details

Industry standards and our experience say that the best way to align these details is keeping the company name and designation on the left.

And keeping the dates and location of the workplace on the right.

Let us see an nurse resume sample:-

Incorrect Way

nurseresume16

Correct Way

resumenurse15

Hiration pro Tip: Facing difficulty in aligning dates and company details on the same line. Do not worry and use our Resume Builder to make it quick and easy with all the alignment in place.

Company Description

The 6-seconds recruiter has to be given some benefit of doubt.

With zillions of nurse resumes and applications on his table, it is utmost difficult to spare more time.

And since our entire job is to make the recruiter's job easy, doesn't it make sense to write company description?

How does he know under the sun what company is this all about?

Agreed. It is a brand. But still, you cannot expect him to know about every brand on earth.

What if 5 other resumes have company description but yours don't have.

Why would you like to miss it?

Also, mentioning about your company does give a very positive impression of you valuing your company.

And your respect towards the hospital will be highlighted in the way you mention about one.

Numerals, quantities, and numbers have a way to a recruiter's memory.

Words do not make a difference. Numbers does.

The best way to mention about your hospital is to give important facts like number of employees, number of beds, turnover, and number of hospitals in form of numbers.

Let us understand from nurse resume sample:-

Incorrect Way

nurseresume17

Correct Way

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Start Date and End Date

The way it is important to correctly align the date, it is also important to mention the start and end date of a work experience.

This gives insight to the recruiter around the number of years you served in an organization.

Remember, at each step we are trying to make recruiter's work easy.

The recruiter should not be confused and wonder about the information in the resume.

Also, mention the day of joining is not necessary. The correct and appropriate format is the month and the year.

Incorrect Way

nurseresume19

Correct Way

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As we saw in the example above, it is professional to mention the last 2 digits of the year and so mention the date in MM/YY format.

Reverse Chronology

Reverse chronology is the most accepted format in the history of the employment industry.

The oldest of resume you get on the web describe the work-experiences stating the recent job first followed by previous jobs.

3 reasons why your nurse resume should follow reverse chronology:

  1. Globally Accepted.
  2. ATS compliant
  3. Easy for the recruiter

Let us see an example:

Incorrect Way

resumenurse23

Correct Way

nurseresume24

Numbers are Important

As a nurse, you must have assisted in many operations and must have set up operation theatre for many surgeries.

You must have treated many patients.

Agreed. But recruiter would only get to know the impact of this if you display the information via numbers(digits, percentages, ratios) and not words in your resume.

Let us understand this through an example:-

Incorrect Way

nurseresume28

Correct Way

nurseresume27

Mind your Tenses

Start all the one-liners with a power verb and verb should be in present tense for the current company.

Example, in a current company you would write:-

Order Implementation

  • Implementing the doctor's order in conformity with hospital policy & legal limitation
  • Executing pre & post-operative orders for surgical patient

For the previous company, you would write:

Order Implementation

  • Implemented the doctor's order in conformity with hospital policy & legal limitation
  • Executed pre & post-operative orders for surgical patient

For key achievements section in the current company, you can safely use past tense for the verb as the thing is already achieved.

resumenurse14

Nurse Resume Education details

Just like work experience section, education should be mentioned in reverse chronological order with your recent education displayed first followed by the education before that as given in the example below:-

nurseresume72

Given the fact that your resume shall not take up more than 2- pages, it is necessary no to cramp education section with projects or other details.

Any specific achievements during your education years can be clubbed separately in the section 'Awards & Achievements'.

Nurse Resume Certifications

Certifications matter a lot in today's competitive world.

The nursing profession has many certifications to gather. More skills you acquire more chances are there for you to get shortlisted.

Best way to mention your certifications is to make a separate section for the same.

And remember that training is different from certifications.

Not every training get you a certificate.

So if you have taken training and certifications both, it is safer to name the section as 'Training & Certifications'.

Let us see the example below:-

Incorrect Way

nurseresume79

In the above image, you will see that there is no proper order being followed in stating the certifications.

This will confuse the recruiter.

Want to know more about the formatting of certification section? Read our detailed Guide on Certifications List on a Resume.

Correct Way

nurseresume56

Hiration Pro Tip

Place the section just after education section for maximum impact.

Follow reverse chronology, highlight important words and go BOLD.

To see the list of certifications in the nursing industry, follow this link.

Nurse Resume: Equipments

This section plays a very important role in a nursing career.

Nurses use all sort of equipment from basics to diagnostics and special equipment.

Your competence in using an equipment should come across to the recruiter in a separate section and not hidden between the lines.

So to gain the competitive advantage and render maximum impact, look at the example below on how you can draft this section:-

nurseresume89

Formatting of the section would be like key skills section using bullets and phrases.

You can gain more insight around the type of equipment and their groupings on this link.

Nursing Resume: Bypassing the ATS

ATS is an applicant tracking system. This is a software designed to conduct the first round of eliminations before your resume reaches the human recruiter.

Research says that 75% of the employers these days are using ATS to scan the resumes.

So given the fact that you have to deal with this machine, let us learn what all you can do to crack an ATS:-

ATS works on keywords

So the ATS system is made to scan your resume with specific keywords which the human recruiter puts in.

These keywords are mostly around the exact words used in job descriptions and industry-specific words and jargons.

So your first and foremost role is to stuff your resume with these keywords to get through ATS.

And that is why we mentioned the research required in the first place.

Tailor your nursing resume to your target job

You definitely would make 1 nurse resume and that's it.

But you can not use it for every company and every job out there.

A formulaic nursing resume at best would get you a few interviews.

If you really want to stand out of the crowd, your nurse resume shall be tailor-made according to the company you are targeting.

And again as we said, you do not have to write many resumes for this.

But just use the research done previously and twist the skills displayed and a summary section according to a particular job description.

And that is why we started this article with research. because it plays a major role in your nursing resume.

Formatting a nurse resume

  • Bullets should be used in the resume and not any awkward symbols. ATS is best designed to scan bullets.
  • Keep font plain, simple and not below 10pts. Keep it readable. You can use fonts like Opensands, Calibiri, Times Roman and Arial.
  • Follow chronological order mentioning the dates in proper order

No Abbreviations

This industry employs a lot of technological jargons pertaining to machinery, drugs, etc.

It is safe to use the full form of these abbreviations even if they have long names and put the abbreviation in the bracket.

You never know the ATS is programmed not to read abbreviations to eliminate maximum resumes possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Display license details on your nursing resume
  • Draft a separate section for equipment knowledge
  • Key skills should be drafted carefully keeping in mind the ATS compliance and other factors
  • Professional summary should be assertive with the usage of powerful adjectives and should not exceed more than 5 lines
  • Follow a reverse chronology for all the sections like work experience, internships, certifications and education
  • Avoid using abbreviations

Once you are done making your resume, you can now apply on the best online job sites. Visit our Guide on Best Job Sites. And land your dream interview.

All the Best!

Feel free to leave your comments below, we would be more than happy to help.