Every nurse needs a properly formatted professional resume. It does not matter if it is to be used for an entry level position or for going after an advancement in career. The professional resume of a nurse should convince any prospective employer that the qualifications, accomplishments and unique skills she or he possesses matches the job description for that position. A resume that is properly written should be one that inspires the interest of prospective employers and promotes the candidate to securing a job interview. A well-written resume gives the candidate an edge over every other individual that applied for a similar job role. It makes the candidate stand out and also gives the prospective employers a good impression of the candidate.
One thing for sure is that a resume bombarded with skills, accomplishments and all sorts might not be acceptable. The problem with this kind of resume is not the amount of skills or accomplishments written, but the way it is formatted, organized, and presented. This is to say that the number of accolades does not have much effect if it is not presented in a professional and exceptional manner.
These steps should be followed in writing a professional nursing resume.
Components of the resume
One thing that distinguishes a good resume is how its several components are divided, usually by headings. A resume is in no way like a curriculum vitae. What a resume does is to present the skills the candidate possesses in a manner that would secure an interview. The resume should clearly signify how the goals of the candidate match that of the position. It shows the accomplishments of the candidate that makes him qualified for the job role, and how he can be contacted.
There are five styles in formatting a resume. Although, each one has peculiar advantages and disadvantages. These styles are not part of the discussion, but a few can be examined. For example, the multimedia format is best known to portray creativity, the digital format is best as an online resume because it contains standard templates and formats, the hybrid format is used to signify that a candidate possesses some unique set of skills that fit the position best, etc.
All those formats have their different specialties, but share a few components that cannot be overlooked. These components must be presented in a manner that steals the attention of the hiring manager. Every candidate should know that some organizations use automated tracking systems to advertise vacant positions and also accept the applications of candidates. A properly structured resume that contains the exact key words specified by the automated system is more likely to be accepted and viewed by a human. Otherwise, it would be automatically deleted.
- Contact information and credentials: the contact information should be placed at the front and center, serving as a header. It should contain the name, primary mailing address, credentials, phone number and email address. The credentials are very crucial. They state the educational level, professional certifications and current nursing practice. The credentials must be strategically sequenced, placing the highest degree immediately after the candidate’s name, followed by professional licenses and certifications.
- Objectives of employment: this is to describe the value of the candidate as an asset and everything to offer the organization. This section does not involve why the candidate seeks the job. The sentence in this statement is not usually more than two, and it focuses solely on the job role. One other method that can be employed is by writing a brief description of the candidate’s qualifications and unique contributions. The content of the resume must correlate or have a link with job description. This is to show the hiring manager that every information concerning the organization have been properly reviewed.
- Education: this is the part that hiring managers check before checking the employment history of the candidate. Although, this depends on the hiring manager. The experience of the candidate also plays a vital role too. If the job description requires a candidate with a strong educational background, the candidate should indicate this by highlighting this as an asset. Each level of education should be arranged, starting from the highest to lowest. The date of each level must be indicated, and the degree achieved. This is not limited to nursing degrees only, because diverse skills and knowledge are accepted as strengths.
- Experience and employment history: the work experience that is relevant to the desired job role must be included, if available. It is arranged from the most recent, going down through older employment history. Start and stop dates are to be included to indicate the duration of the employment. As said earlier, other non-nursing employment history and experience is not irrelevant. Some might be a very useful asset. The skills and experience gained in a past employment are to be listed with bullet points and action verbs. Other means of promoting one’s self is by attaching reputable social networking platforms such as LinkedIn, and even adding a link to your profile. But bear in mind that the profile must match the resume.
- Licenses (Licensure) and certificates: this is to indicate certifications related and not related to the job description. The candidate uses this platform to show the hiring manager that he has passed a licensing board, and is recognized as an RN by the accrediting body. The candidate should state when he is scheduled to take a test for accreditation, such as NCLEX, just in case he is not yet accredited. The candidate should also keep in mind that, experienced nurses with certifications are more likely to be considered than fresh graduates with no certification.
- Professional organizations (optional): this section is for highlighting the professional organizations in which one is a member of. Such as Sigma Theta Tau International or the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. They are to be arranged in a reverse chronological order, and including start dates for current memberships and stop dates for memberships elapsed. It is recommended that a one should join a nursing association to portray professional engagement.
- Honors, awards and activities (optional): the candidate has to be mindful about the needs of the organization. Listing out honors, awards and activities must only be done if relevant or required by the organization.
- References (optional): this is debated as both necessary and unnecessary. It can be added to the resume directly, but it is advisable not to include them. Instead, make them available upon request. It is more customary that way. If the candidate is contacted to tender reference information, it shows that the employers have interest in the candidate. It is advisable to have prepared a list of references that would be suitable for the job position beforehand.
Another thing is that the candidate should ensure that the individuals chosen as references must be people who would attest to his skills and experience relevant to the job role. Their permission to be used as references must be strictly adhered to, to avoid any complications that may arise from choosing them when they are unavailable. They should be given a notice in advance, in order for them to prepare a befitting response to the employer in defense of the candidate. They must be provided with a copy of the resume to ensure adequate preparation.