Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Nursing Resume (With Tips and Example)

June 11, 2021

Nursing resumes are important documents that let potential employers know about your experience and education. A good resume that lists your credentials persuasively can encourage hiring managers to invite you to an interview. Being familiar with a variety of tips and techniques can help you make your nursing resume more effective. In this article, we discuss common types of nursing resumes, how to write one with helpful tips, and provide a nursing resume example to help you write your own.

Common types of nursing resumes

All nursing resumes include the candidate's education, work history, and skills. A great resume can show a hiring manager you're the best candidate for a position. Choose between a chronological resume or a functional resume for this role. A chronological resume focuses on your work experience, and it usually starts with your most recent position.

Alternatively, people who have recently graduated from university or changed careers and don't have as much work experience should use a functional resume. It focuses on your skills instead of your experience, and highlights your most relevant attributes that make you well-suited to the role.

Use numbers to demonstrate your accomplishments and abilities when possible. Search the job description to find the specific skills employers are looking for in a successful nurse. Many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to search resumes for keywords, and hiring managers may not see your resume without the right combination of keywords. To make your resume more persuasive, include a cover letter that explains why you want to work for the healthcare facility in more detail.

Read More: Resume Format Guide (With Tips and Examples)

How to make a nursing resume

Here are some steps to help you create an effective resume for a nursing position:

1. Research the healthcare facility

Researching the positions you're applying for can help you find out exactly what qualifications and experience levels employers are looking for. Then, you can tailor your resume more effectively and stand out against your competition. For example, if a job description says the organization is looking for a fun, friendly nurse, mention your hobbies or skills outside nursing to exhibit those qualities. Along with the job description, look at the facility's website and talk to nurses who work there or have worked there before.

Read More: How to Learn More About a Company's Culture

2. Add your contact information

Interested employers need to contact you to schedule an interview, so put your contact information in a prominent place at the top of your resume. Using a larger or bold font for your header section is another way to make your resume stand out. Below your name, include your email address, phone number, and your current city and province or territory. Make sure your email address sounds professional, like a simple variation of your first and last names.

Read More: The Best Fonts for Your Resume

3. State your objective

An objective, also called a career objective, summarizes your best attributes and your professional goals. It states why you want the job you're applying for and why you're the best candidate for the role. This gives the person reading your resume more information about you and encourages them to keep reading. As you apply for different nursing jobs, adjust your objective to match the job description.

For example, you could write "Emergency Room RN with over five years of experience seeks a full-time position treating patients in need."

Read More: Resume Objectives (With Examples and Tips)

4. Describe your education

Highlight where you got your bachelor's degree, and include any significant academic achievements you earned along the way. In Quebec, a three-year diploma program is sufficient to become a nurse. If you have a master's degree, that's an asset and worth featuring clearly on your resume at the top of your education section. Add any additional, relevant professional certifications or licenses that you possess. They show that you're eager to continue learning and make you more appealing to potential employers.

5. List your skills and qualifications

You should use most of the space in your resume to describe your experience, education, skills, accomplishments, and awards that highlight your abilities as a nurse. Be descriptive, but use short phrases that are easy to read. Using bullet points can help you be more concise and makes your nursing resume easier to scan. Hiring managers read several resumes for every job vacancy, so making it clear and concise is vital.

Under each job, list your duties and responsibilities. Focus on matching the duties you have experience with to the ones listed on the job description and feature those first. Soft skills describe your personality traits that make you a good fit for a role as a nurse. You should also list job-related technical skills, like experience with patient record keeping, operating machinery to monitor patient vital signs. Mention the most relevant skills first to encourage a potential employer to keep reading.

Read More: A Guide to Soft Skills

6. Prepare a reference list

Many potential employers ask for a list of references that they can contact to confirm your fitness for the position. Getting good reviews from former nurse managers, doctors, academic advisors, and coworkers can help you stand out from other candidates. Speak to people in your professional network and ask them if they can provide a reference for you. It's good practice to let them know when you expect a potential employer will contact them, most likely after the interview.

Read More: How to Write a Resume Reference List (With Examples)

7. Review your resume carefully

Reviewing your resume carefully before you submit it will prevent errors and make your application more competitive. You should look for any spelling, typing, or grammatical errors and correct them. If possible, have a friend check your work to catch any mistakes that you might have missed.

Nursing resume tips

Here are some tips that can help you create a powerful nursing resume:

Choose a standard, easily readable font

Choose a standard, simple, and easy-to-read font that's compatible with resume scanning software, such as Arial, Courier, or Times New Roman. Make sure the font size is big enough for people to read, usually between 10 and 12pts, and avoid bright colours.

Keep it short

Hiring managers scan nursing resumes quickly to find the ones that stand out, so keep your resume short. One or two pages is best, keeping it to one page for entry-level positions and two for senior roles with more experience to share. You can simplify your resume with headings for different sections and bulleted lists to describe your skills, duties, and responsibilities.

Use active language

You can emphasize your achievements by using lots of action words like "achieved," "tested," "earned," and "accomplished." Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments as well, as it draws attention and reads professionally.

Include your volunteer experience

Including volunteer experience shows potential employers that you want to help others. Even though volunteering at a food bank or an animal shelter isn't directly related to nursing or healthcare, it shows that you have a strong work ethic, and that you're invested in your community. Volunteer experience working at a hospital is preferable but not a requirement for an impressive resume.

Read More: 14 Resume Writing Tips to Help You Land a Job

Nursing resume example

Here's an example of a good nursing school resume:

Grace Smith
Toronto, Ontario
416-555-8274
gmith@email.com

Objective

A skilled Head Pediatrics Nurse with over four years of experience seeks a full-time position helping the community, leading and training others, and treating patients in need.

Skills

  • Strong written and verbal communication
  • The ability to use a variety of medical instruments
  • The ability to conduct lab tests and sterilize medical instruments with an autoclave
  • Familiarity with personal protective equipment such as nitrile gloves, masks, and face shields
  • Efficient time management capabilities
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • Organization
  • Flexibility
  • Problem-solving
  • Leadership
  • A strong work ethic
  • Conflict resolution
  • Dependability
  • Teamwork
  • Active listening
  • Attention to detail

Experience

Regional Hospital
Head Pediatrics Nurse
June 2019 to present

  • Recorded test results and descriptions of patient symptoms
  • Cleaned and sterilized exam rooms between patients
  • Restocked medical supplies
  • Answered questions from patients and their parents

Toronto Hospital
Pediatrics Nurse
April 2017 to June 2019

  • Helped children stay calm during medical exams
  • Administered oral, topical, and injected medications to patients
  • Scheduled appointments with patients
  • Calculated medical bills and sent invoices to patients when applicable
  • Processed OHIP claims on behalf of physicians

Education

University of Ontario
Degree in Nursing with a minor in Chemistry
2013 to 2017

Read More: 13 Nursing Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)

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