Nursing Resumes: 3 Tips to Make Yours Stand Out

Nursing Resumes: 3 Tips to Make Yours Stand Out

You may have a new nursing degree, or you may have years of qualified experience and healthcare education. Either way, you worked hard to get to where you are in your nursing career right now. But today’s workforce reality means competition for jobs, even in the healthcare and medical industries. Thanks to the Internet and mobile computing, healthcare employers and recruiters are able to review hundreds of qualified candidates almost instantly. Your nursing resume is going to be one of many considered for the opening. It must stand out from all the others to get to the next level in your job search, an invitation to interview and a job offer. These three resume tips will help you create your nursing resume to get the attention of recruiters and employers and get interviews.

1. Use a Customized Cover Letter
Your nursing resume is a summary of your experience and qualifications, but you should always include a customized cover letter with it to introduce yourself personally and start building a relationship with the hiring manager. A well-written cover letter makes your resume stand out and shows your attention to detail and that you care. It will take more time, but it will always give you a better return on your investment in time and effort to research the prospective employer and position. Find out more about the hiring manager or department so you can develop some rapport at the very beginning of the recruiting relationship. Avoid sending out 1,000 generic resumes, and instead target your job search with a laser focus on the types of nursing or healthcare positions and employers you really prefer. Put your effort into getting to know who you are sending your resume to and crafting your cover letter with relevant connections. Did the hiring manager go to the same nursing college or university you graduated from? Is the employer in or near the city or town where you earned your nursing degree? Does the employer have a hospital or physician specialty in your nursing specialty? Uncover as many relevant connections as possible and use them in your cover letter to let them know that what is important to them is also important to you, and you care about your prospective employer and manager.

2. Use Bulleted Lists and Active Language
Hiring managers and recruiters in the healthcare industry are busy, especially if they have urgent openings to fill. Your resume should summarize and highlight. Tedious narrative in a nursing resume is a signal that you aren’t as efficient or expedient as the next candidate, and isn’t the best way to present your summary of experience and qualifications. Regardless of the resume format you use - functional, reverse chronological or hybrid - tell your professional story with relevant information highlighted in bulleted lists under dated positions. Always use active, not passive, language such as “successfully reduced emergency room laundry costs by 35 percent” and “interned at St. Andrew’s Hospital for four years while I attended nursing school”.

3. Tailor Your Resume to the Job Description
When you focus your job search on preferred nursing or healthcare employers and positions, do your homework on the employer and hiring manager, and take the extra time to craft a customized cover letter, you should tailor your resume to the essential functions and prerequisites of the job for which you are applying. Most employers will provide a job description if they haven’t already posted it in their job ad or listing, and every recruiter has a job description for positions they are filling. Use the job description to make relevant references to your experience, skills and qualifications in your resume. For example, if the job description lists requirements as a nursing degree and three years of clinical experience in a hospital setting, make sure you highlight your relevant education and experience. Use active words from the job description in your resume. For example, if the job description says “Ideal candidates will be high-energy, compassionate nursing professionals…”, make sure you describe yourself as high-energy and compassionate in your resume and cover letter.

Additionally, proofread your nursing resume draft, and ask friends and family to proofread it too. Don’t write a resume and send it off the same day. Draft it at the beginning of the week, leave it for a day or so, pick it up later with fresh eyes and proofread it again, compare it against the nursing or healthcare job description again, and review it for accuracy and complete information. Keep your resume in a clean and clear format, create a reader-friendly document, and customize it to the position. Use these tips to craft your resume, tell your professional nursing story, and build rapport with your prospective employer and it will stand out from the competition and get interviews.