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Five Things Nurses Should Include on Their Resumes

Nurse job interviewA polished, informative resume is the key to landing both permanent and travel nursing jobs, so it’s worth spending a little extra time making yours shine. Here are five things to include on your resume:

Work experience

You may be tempted to spell out each task you performed in each job, but try to limit your work experience to specific, measurable items that prove you have the skills for a new nursing position. List each job you’ve had in reverse-chronological order, including the facility name and location, and write no more than five bullet points of applicable job duties, starting each with an active verb.

For example, you might write: “Administered medication to 15 cardiovascular patients each day” or “Cared for pediatric patients ranging from 3 – 10 years old.”

One mistake nurses make when they put resumes together is assuming that all nursing jobs are relatively the same. In reality, nursing jobs vary widely in different facilities and especially within different specialties. Keep the job description of the position you’re applying for in mind and include only skills you feel best suit that job.

Finally, include your computer experience, especially the types of EHRs you’re familiar with, and other healthcare software you’ve used, as these skills can set you apart from other applicants.

Nursing degree

It may seem like a no-brainer, but be sure to include the type of nursing degree you earned, whether it’s an LPN, ADN, BSN or MSN. Some facilities will hire nurses only if they have a bachelor’s degree, while other positions may require a master’s degree. If you have an associate’s degree in nursing and several years of experience, however, you may be able to land a job you otherwise wouldn’t have the skills for — and some programs offer free or discounted continuing education courses to help you earn a higher degree.

In the education section of your resume, list your college or university, the city and state where it’s located, the degree you earned, the year you began and completed it, as well as GPA if you feel it is worth including. Special honors or awards you earned while at school should also be included here (and can help you stand out).

Additional nursing certifications

Certifications you’ve earned, especially if they’re applicable to the job you’re applying for, should also be included in the education section. Specialization is becoming more important in nursing; in 2010, 42 percent of registered nurses obtained a certification, while just 16 percent did in 2006. If you’ve certified in a nursing specialty, be sure to list this on your resume, including the year you earned the certification.

License number and state of licensure

Don’t forget to add your nursing license number, license type (LPN or RN), name on the license (if it’s different from the name on your resume), state of licensure and expiration date. If you have a license that’s part of the Nurse Licensure Compact, note that on your resume as well.

Note: Some nurses hesitate to include their license number on their resumes because of privacy concerns, but listing it saves the recruiter and nurse manager (who will look it up in a database) time. To protect yourself, submit your resume only through reputable job boards or directly to hospitals and facilities. Never post your license number on a public blog or portfolio site; simply remove it from your resume if you plan to post it in a public place.

Volunteer experience

Whether you spend time helping at a clinic on the weekends or volunteering in a local hospital’s NICU, volunteer experience looks great on a resume and can give you an edge over other nurses applying for the same job. Be sure to include the facilities or organizations with which you volunteer and the years you’ve been involved.

With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to crafting a resume that helps you land a great job in your specialty. For more information, check out “Resume Tips for Nurses.”

Did we miss anything? What would you include on a nursing resume?

About the author

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Lindsay Wilcox

Lindsay Wilcox is a healthcare writer and editor with more than 10 years of professional writing experience. When she's not circling typos, she's enjoying fish tacos and hanging out with her family.

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