As someone who hires nursing students for an extern program, this is what I look for when I read a resume and/or application.
1. General appearance, organization, and presentation. Is it professional looking? Some people get way to "cutesy" and that looks childish and unprofessional. Use a professional looking format.
2. Where do they go to school and where are they in the program? ... in the first semester ... almost ready to graduate? etc. Have they had any school experiences that are particularly relevant to this job?
3. Do they have any work experience? If so, what types of learning experiences did they probably get in that type of work? Did they work with customers and learn people skills? Did they have much responsibility? Did their job require that they be self-directed? As I work in a chldren's hospital, I look for any experience with children.
4. Is there anything in their background that suggests a high level of achieve and/or leadership potential? This can include academic awards, scholarships
, participation in special programs, etc. It can also be seen in being active (not just a member) of an organization at school or in the community. It can also include excelling in a hobby or a sport that requires the development of skill through many hours of practice. I'm looking for things that say, "This applicant's performance is above average. They know how to work hard and excel at something. They are not just sitting on the sidelines while other people are getting things done."
5. What are the chances that this applicant is going to want a long-term career at my hospital? Are we going to invest in her training and then have her leave in only a few months? ... or ... Are we likely to get a good return on our investment?
Finally, there are a couple of big "no-no's" that can hurt you.
1. Don't get too "cutesy," creative, or unconventional with your format. Straightforward, clean, and professional looking is appropriate.
2. Don't try to "pad your resume" by exaggerating. If discovered, it makes you look very un-trustworthy and nobody wants to hire someone who isn't completely trustworthy.
3. Make sure any school experiences are clearly labeled as student experiences. If it is unclear, it looks like you might be trying to deceive the employer and that makes you look un-trustworthy.
4. Don't list everything you did is school just to lengthen your resume. The employer knows the types of things that nursing students do and doesn't want to waste time reading it -- hunting for a tidbit here and there that might be useful information. Just give them the useful information that is either particularly relevent to the particular job you are applying for and/or makes you stand out from other nursing students. If you think it is all useful, that just shows them how little you know about nursing and makes you look bad. If you don't know what is useful and not, discuss it with someone who knows.