The thought of making and maintaining a resume gives most of us nurses just a little bit of anxiety. First of all, it’s not something anyone really bothered to spend much time on during nursing school. And the unique nature of our professional makes it difficult to really mirror our experience after a standard resume. Our experience can be clinical, non-clinical, both within the same work experience, or we often supplement and complement our professional career with non-nursing related roles. How do you effectively capture (and keep up to date!) the depth of your experience concisely and neatly without experiencing unnecessary anxiety?
Ashley, one of our fave NICU nurses, has been a staff nurse, travel nurse, and has volunteered not only at multiple facilities throughout her nursing career, but has done so in different cities, states, and countries. She’s mastered her resume and was awesome enough to dish the tips and tricks!
Make it real.
Resumes are super important – they represent you where you can’t. They’re a first impression, a glimpse into your professional brand, an opportunity to stand out, and your picture worth a thousand words. But they must be authentic and genuine and reflect your true skills and experience. Don’t go down the rabbit hole of wanting to such a good impression that you exaggerate or overrepresent the information.
Don’t be concerned about the length.
When you’re potentially taking on a new role every year or work experience to your resume every 3 months, it’s bound to get lengthy pretty fast. It’s expected! It may be wise to have a short and sweet version for in-person networking, but hiring manager won’t reject it due to length.
Keep it neat.
It’s true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but an aesthetically-pleasing resume makes the information easy on the eyes! So it’s best to have a method to the madness and organize it. I recently redid mine and organized it based off of a combination of type of employment and chronology. I use the employer as a header, and the assignment as a sub-header, going with the traditional most-to-least recent timeline. For the agency positions, I list the agencies in order of when I completed my first assignment with them, then add in staff positions. This method can feel a little choppy to some, but it only requires listing the agency information once. It also does depend on the volume and variety your work experience.
Include only the essential information.
More really is less. It’s not easy to sum up all your experience briefly and it’s tempting to provide more. Rather, focus on what employers and hiring managers want to know about you. Make sure to indicate licenses and certifications, including expiration dates and certifying bodies. When it comes to hospitals you’ve worked at, the information they typically want to know includes the type of facility, hospital and unit bed counts, EHR/EMR, whether it’s a teaching hospital, unit(s) worked on (cause floating, dug), and caseload. I’ve usually been asked about charting systems/technology used and floating experience, so I’ve added that into be a step ahead. Make sure to include unit-specific qualities, such as trauma level or NICU level or maybe an unexpected patient population. With staff positions, I get a little more detailed with job descriptions, unit involvement, and positions held.
You will spend far more time on it than someone else will.
That’s right. While HR and recruiters typically dissect it, the hiring manager typically only scans to get the pertinent info – enough to decide whether or not you’re qualified for an interview. With that being said, if you’re following the above step, you don’t need to research the position and hospital just to customize your resume for each job. Definitely do your research, but save it for the interview.
Don’t overthink it.
If you’ve got a Trusted profile, we make this part easy! We’ve worked hard to make inputting work experience as painless as possible, with auto-fill and completion, suggestions, drop-downs, and specialty tags. Your Trusted profile can be exported from anywhere, anytime. So as long as you keep your Trusted profile up to date, you’ll always have a perfectly formatted PDF’d resume ready to go. One and done!
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