How to Prepare Your Nursing Resume

The research shows that there is a huge increase in demand for nurses in this country. The shortage should not give you, the prospective nurse or job-jumping nurse, a false sense of security. You still have to bring your A-game when applying for jobs after finishing up your studies or if you’re already established in the industry. This means that you need to have the most impeccable resume you can prepare. Make sure you remember that nursing shortage doesn’t lower standards. Unfortunately, your resume (typically a one-page document) is your foot in the door so you want to make the best impression possible. With that being said, here are a few ways to make sure your resume is up to snuff:

  1. Pay attention to your education. Be sure you spotlight any honors, achievements, fellowships and GPA (if it’s worth bragging about) in the education section of your resume. This is the place where you would give your licensure information (state in which you’re licensed and date achieved). Don’t give out your license number to preserve privacy. Further along the hiring process the hiring manager will obtain a copy of your license.
  2. Show them what you’ve done. Hiring managers want to know what you’ve accomplished and what areas you’ve specialized in your career. If you’re a new nurse then highlight unpaid internships and practicums. You want to make yourself stand out when your resume crosses their desk. Explain what the facility was like where you worked and what sort of caseload you were responsible for.
  3. Provide keywords. This is especially important if you’re submitting your resume electronically. If you compile a list of special skills in bulleted fashion with keywords like pediatrics, IT skills, etc. you will be more apt to be looked at. This gives prospective employers an even more cursory glance at what you’re made of than your one to two-page resume.
  4. Present a statement. It’s a good idea to lead off your resume with a section detailing your purpose or goals as you conduct your job search. You can make this a narrative and be a bit more descriptive than the normal resume outline allows.
  5. Keep the focus on your nursing background. If you’re shifting careers then we recommend you obviously put the stronger emphasis on your prior nursing career. You can do this by separating your experience portion of your resume into two sections: related experience and additional work experience.


This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of Salaries of Nurses. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323@gmail.com.