Wrapping up your coursework and preparing to enter the workforce as a new graduate nurse is an exciting time! From searching for ideal positions or practicing for job interviews, there is a lot that goes into landing your first nursing job. One of the most important things in this stage is making your nursing resume stand out from the crowd and make an impression.
It can be confusing to know how to create the best resume that showcases your skills and positions you as the best candidate for the job. We know what that’s like, so we’ve put together some tips on how to curate a stellar entry-level nursing resume to get those recruiters and the HR department for your dream organizations calling!
#1 Know What Nursing Role You Want
A staff nurse at a hospital, an RN in a surgical environment, a nurse at specialty outpatient clinics, a public health nurse, a patient educator, a travel nurse, or even a nursing research role – the different career options available to nurse graduates are almost endless. That’s why the first step in creating a concise and engaging nursing resume is to narrow down the kind of nursing role you would like to specialize in, and the type of environment you want to work in.
During your clinicals as a nursing student, you likely had various opportunities to explore different nursing roles. This is the time to reflect on your experiences and ask yourself which posting resonated with you and your skills and talents. Speaking with your instructors, nursing professors, mentors, and even any other nurses you know can also offer insight about potential career paths, as can taking some time for introspection.
Once you get clear on the types of roles you’re interested in, be sure to include that in your resume. Indicating a clear interest and highlighting previous experience in your nursing speciality of choice will help your entry level nurse resume stand out from the crowd.
Pro Tip: Start with a powerful nursing resume summary or career objective to make a stellar first impression!
#2 Highlight Your Nursing Student Experiences
Your next step in ensuring your entry-level nursing resume stands out is to highlight relevant experience. Clinical experience, volunteer work, membership at relevant organizations, related certifications – focus on the ones that most relate to the job you want. Keep in mind not to stuff your resume full of every single experience. Instead, focus only on what is most applicable to the job you’re applying for.
Worried about writing a nursing student resume with no experience on the job? Play up the internships you have done and clinical training that you have completed as part of nursing school that is relevant to the nursing job you desire. Soft skills such as communication, professionalism, and teamwork are equally important too, so be sure to mention these in your resume.
Pro Tip: Be prepared to share anecdotes or concrete evidence from your experience when you get called for an interview!
#3 Use a Nursing Resume Template
Staring at a blank document and hoping for inspiration to strike when writing your nursing resume can feel stressful. Why not draw inspiration and get a head start by using a nursing resume template?
Find a template nurse resume you like, and use it to craft your base resume. Then, tailor it to the specific nursing position you want to apply to by highlighting the qualifications that are most applicable for each role or organization. Read job descriptions for the roles you are keen on and take note of keywords mentioned (e.g. competencies, education, and nursing experience). Use these specific keywords within your nursing resume wherever possible to ensure you stand out from other applicants!
Wondering where to find nurse resume templates for nursing resumes? Here is a nurse resume sample and cover letter that gets straight to the point and focuses on essential nursing skills.
Pro Tip: Get your own resume templates (and cover letter templates!) to use as a starting point here: Nurse Resume Template Bundle
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#4 Build an Online Presence
In this digital age, it’s not surprising that even nurses have to cultivate an online presence to get hired. Having a well-written profile on LinkedIn is a great place to start, and is a useful way to get yourself noticed by recruiters. Your LinkedIn profile functions as a 24/7 resume for potential employers to find you online, so be sure to keep it updated and relevant! If you are feeling overwhelmed or unsure of how to craft a compelling LinkedIn profile, you may even consider hiring a professional to do it for you.
You should also ensure all your social media accounts are “cleaned up” or set on private. If you are applying for a job, chances are the hiring manager of a potential employer will also look at your online presence. In fact, 67% of US employers use social media to screen potential hires, and 55% have rejected applicants based on their social media profiles! Employers want to know they are hiring nurses who will offer their patients the utmost respect and care in their practice so this is an opportunity to present yourself as a dignified and respectable person both in and outside of the work environment.
Pro Tip: Type your name into Google and other search engines to see what a potential employer could find out about you and ensure you present only the best version of yourself online!
#5 Leverage the Automated Screening Process
Did you know that many organizations streamline their hiring process by using an automated screening tool? To save time in the hiring process, many organizations simply upload resumes into a system that automatically scans them for specific keywords that match the role you are applying for and then filters out applications. This process may even filter out resumes based on whether they have completed specific state-mandated training or certifications.
What this means is your entry-level nursing resume may not even reach a human recruiter before it is filtered out if you do not have the right keywords in your resume. Keep this in mind while crafting your nursing resume to ensure you make it through this first checkpoint.
Research what types of courses would give you the edge to get your first nursing role. This could be specific training like BLS, ACLS, NRP, or state-specific training such as infection control and child abuse prevention and identification in New York. The more boxes you can check, the better chance you have of landing your dream nursing job!
Pro Tip: Take a look at the Linkedin profiles of nurses in your dream job or organization and note which external accolades they have prioritized. Use this to guide you in writing a powerful resume that stands out.
As you work on your nursing resume and get closer to landing your first job, make sure that your required continuing education hours are covered. Having the requisite training completed will not only prepare you for your future career but also make your resume shine. Get access to 100+ healthcare continuing education hours with #1 Premiere Continuing Education’s Unlimited Nursing CEU Subscription and gain the skills you need to land your desired nursing role!