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Resumes for Nursing

Resumes are a summary of your professional and personal experiences, a snapshot of you, designed to introduce you to potential employers and hopefully interest them in interviewing you.  Your resume may be the first and only impression that a potential employer has before an interview; therefore it should be accurate, well organized, concise and professional.  Your resume should be no longer than two pages; many nurse recruiters feel that a one page resume is sufficient.  It may be best to create a template resume that can be adapted/targeted to the specific nursing positions you are applying to (ie. community, hospital, etc).  

Sample Resume & Cover Letter Packet (PDF)

Nursing Curriculum 2011-Present/Theory and Clinical Hours (PDF)

Nursing Resume Worksheet (PDF)

New Graduate Nursing Resume Checklist (PDF)

There are many styles of resumes but most new graduates use a Chronological format, listing most recent items first, with one inch margins on right and left of the document.   Content you should make sure to include in your nursing resume is:

  • Identifying Data
  • Qualifications Statement or Professional Summary
  • Education (list BSN at the top of all other education)
  • Clinical Experience (with # of hours) with a focus on senior clinical placement
  • Experience
  • Achievements, Honors, Interests, or Activities
Identifying Data
At the top of your resume you need to list your name and current address, telephone number, email where nurse recruiters can reach you.  Do not include age, weight, marital status, number of children, salary requirements or a personal photograph on your resume.  If your resume is two pages, make sure to include your name at the top of the second page.

Qualifications Statement or Professional Summary
This section of your resume allows you to summarize the outstanding features of your background and describe broad skills that are pertinent to the position you are applying for.  Think of it as a teaser that encourages the nurse recruiter to learn more about you by reading the rest of your resume.  To prepare your qualifications statement, you must think intentionally on what you can offer an employer.  

Examples of a Qualifications Statement or Professional Summary:

"A competent and efficient team member, dedicated to providing quality care based on a foundation of trust built through establishment of rapport. A quick study, adaptable, and receptive to new treatment concepts backed by recent evidence.  Efficient with Electronic Medical Documentation and trained in Epic." 

"Ambitious and compassionate graduate nurse aspiring to practice, acquire, and improve skills to promote health across the nursing care continuum. Desire to improve the health and well being of the community I serve using a collaborative approach for quality care. Honest and ethical nurse who will prioritize effectively and follow through on commitments. Motivated to positively impact and educate my patients utilizing thorough time management and skills."

"Recognized as a competent team member able to effectively communicate and collaborate within the interdisciplinary team in order to deliver safe, patient center care. Consistently empathetic, actively listens and establishes rapport quickly with patients to deliver unbiased patient care."

Education
You only need to list institutions from which you obtained degrees.  List your most recent degree first (your BSN!) and work backwards in chronological order.  You can also list any special training or certifications earned that relate to the position you are applying for.  If listing a license, you do not need to include your license number.  If your GPA is 3.5 or higher you may include it.  Listing a minor isn't necessary unless it is relevant to the position you are applying for.  As a college graduate, the general rule is to leave all high school information off your resume.


Clinical Experience
Many Nurse Recruiters like to see where and for how long you have done your clinical rotations as a nursing student.  Make sure to include either the course name or the subject of your course, the name of the clinical site, and the number of hours and dates (Spring 2012 or Feb-May, 2012) you served.  If you have space on your resume, you may want to consider including the nursing skills you developed or utilized at each clinical site.  

Experience
For this section, think in terms of jobs and skills that relate to the position for which you are applying.  Employers are interested in knowing how you have been involved as a citizen so make sure to list volunteer or civic engagement activities you've been a part of.  Practicums and internships can also be considered experience.  If you have the skills but are short on job experience you may want to title this section Skills, Abilities, or Qualifications.

Achievements, Honors, Interests, Travel, or Activities
Potential employers often like to know how recent graduates spent their time outside of the classroom and clinical setting, particularly any scholastic honors or leadership positions held.  This section of your resume is your spot to show them what makes you unique!  Think of unusual interests or ones that relate to your career goals.  Try to stay away from common interests such as music, reading or sports.  This is also a section on your resume to list professional memberships, college activities, awards, or related skills.  Highlight any travel abroad you have done, especially if it involves serving or working with a population different than your own!  Make sure any language skills are prominent on your resume!

Resume Formatting Tips
  • Be consistent!  Are your dates listed the same, either spelled out or numerical, and in the same chronological order?  Are your margins standard and pleasing to the eye?  Are the bullets the same style and location on page?  Are you using consistent boldface, punctuation, and spacing throughout your resume?  Are past and present tenses consistent?
  • Choose your font carefully!  You want a font that is not too busy (Arial, Times New Roman, etc) and will be easy to read in 10-12 point typeface.  Use BOLD and italics sparingly.
  • Margins matter!  Try to stick to a 1-inch margin on the right and left of your resume.  Top and bottom margins can be flexible if needed. 
  • Save and Print Properly!  Email electronic copies in .pdf format.  Include your name and date in file name.  Use high-quality ink and paper for printed hard copies and mail in a 9x12 envelope, don't fold your resume!  Never staple your resume, use a paperclip instead. 
  • Spell Check!  Make sure you proofread, have a friend proofread, and have Student Services proofread for you!