Bad resumes/good resumes *rant*

  1. 18
    I'm assisting with hiring a new case manager RN and would like to vent about the HORRIBLE quality resumes I am seeing in the mile high stack we're reading through.

    #1 problem: basic spelling, grammar, punctuation and command of the English language. I don't really care if it's your first, second or ninth language. You will need to communicate with and document about our patients in clear, concise, correct and understandable English. Period. Yes, we toss resumes with ONE TYPO in the trash. That typo represents a typo you'd miss on a med list or MD order that could mean life or death.

    #2 problem: length! My goodness, people. We don't need a novel. Even RNs with 10+ years of experience should be able to sum it up in 2 pages or less. We're not interested in reading your past job descriptions. Just hit the highlights that pertain to the position you're applying for, and an accomplishment or two that will get our attention (chaired a committee, piloted a program, won an award). Also, as much as I admire family parenting/elder care, it's not job experience that belongs on a resume, no matter how "special needs" your family members were. (Honestly, I see so much of this on resumes. Inappropriate space filler). Talk about it in the interview!

    #3 problem: listing an "objective." We KNOW what you're applying for and why. The "objective" on a resume died a decade ago, please stop using it! And leave off your high school diploma, no one cares.

    Things we like to see right off the bat:

    Immediate list of 3 or 4 strengths specific to the position
    Bulleted list of licenses, certifications, with issue/expiration month/year
    Any significant continuing education accomplished or in progress (as in, a certification or degree)
    Any languages spoken fluently

    And please. Use a common font like Times New Roman in 12 point, through the WHOLE document. Keep bold/italics/underlining to a minimum. No color. No curlicues. No pictures. No logos. Send it as a PDF *and* Word attachment, embed it in the email AND send or fax a hard copy, that kind of effort gets our attention. So does following up with a thank you.

    Simple stuff. I can't believe the whining I hear from unemployed nurses, then see the back end of things where the majority of the job seekers reflect such poor attention to detail and minimal effort.
    HelenRN88, Flatlander, joanna73, and 15 others like this.

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  2. 56 Comments...

  3. 4
    You don't have to look too far around AN to see illiteracy, misspelling, and horrible usage. It makes my eyes cross. Good luck, though.
    joanna73, nursel56, x_factor, and 1 other like this.
  4. 1
    Great rant, but very sound advice...I took my résumé to a nursing fair, and talked to a recruiter on how to improve my résumé before I graduated. I have 10 plus years in healthcare, 7 years LPN. Tweaked my résumé, interviews poured in. Starting a job in February (graduated in May this year.) I hope people take heed to your advice!
    CLoGreenEyes likes this.
  5. 6
    Perfection is a virtue, I find that no one has reached that mark, certainly not me. But, I aim high!!! I know that most applicants are desperate for a ANY position, and I am a little less judgmental on principle

    I have never had problem with a resume listing my High School Diploma, and have got few without an objective. I'm just not that picky. I am looking for the best fit for a job, not who can master APA format. I am not offset by a mispelled word if their Resume is attached to 3 wonderful recommendations. As long as it's legible, logical, and somewhere near standard- the interview is the grand show-down.

    Your going to get to an interview with me with an open position if you have the qualifications I listed in the hiring ad. Simple.

    I think it would be horrible to throw out a Resume for one mispelling, a high school listing, and the thought of someone else doing it makes me sick.

    If you had your Resume thrown out for that, YOU are blessed- that's not the employer you want to work for!!!!
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Jan 1, '13
    futuresctRN, n2biology, Krither, and 3 others like this.
  6. 2
    Re-read my post carefully. Nowhere did I say we toss resumes with the high school diploma listed. I recommended people leave that off (to make space for other important info), and only said we toss those with typos. We do so definitely on "PRINCIPLE," not "principal."

    It's accepting lower and lower quality and standards like you do that is part of The Problem. When companies hold their licensed nurses to a high standard of professionalism, they are advocating for all nurses, and protecting patients. Sorry but it's true.
    jennymaria23 and elkpark like this.
  7. 9
    No problem there, your certainly entitled to your opinion. I want a strong team, not necessarily strong "resume writers." I wish your team the best as it's the patient that matters, not our ego. May the New Year bring you wonderfully written, correctly spelled, and "Objective" free applicant's resumes. I will keep interviewing the qualified, not the ones with "perfect" resume(but judged by what standard I have no idea)- a nurse with 3 years experience in my field will get priority over a perfectly written applicant with no field experience. (regardless of resume perfection)

    I am also very proud of my second language nurses, who do struggle sometimes with English, as I struggle with the Native American and Hispanic patients that are so proud to have them in the Emergency Department. The best English wouldn't help in multi-cultural emergency situations. English is not the official language of the United States, and few people know that. Again, I hire proficient and skilled nurses, not authors. Your needs may be totally different than mine

    I guess I do choose to remain part of "the problem" with Nursing.
    Last edit by BostonTerrierLoverRN on Jan 1, '13 : Reason: lack of perfection
    Krither, joanna73, Meriwhen, and 6 others like this.
  8. 3
    Quote from mclennan
    I'm assisting with hiring a new case manager RN and would like to vent about the HORRIBLE quality resumes I am seeing in the mile high stack we're reading through.

    #1 problem: basic spelling, grammar, punctuation and command of the English language. I don't really care if it's your first, second or ninth language. You will need to communicate with and document about our patients in clear, concise, correct and understandable English. Period. Yes, we toss resumes with ONE TYPO in the trash. That typo represents a typo you'd miss on a med list or MD order that could mean life or death.


    And please. Use a common font like Times New Roman in 12 point, through the WHOLE document. Keep bold/italics/underlining to a minimum. No color. No curlicues. No pictures. No logos. Send it as a PDF *and* Word attachment, embed it in the email AND send or fax a hard copy, that kind of effort gets our attention. So does following up with a thank you.

    Simple stuff. I can't believe the whining I hear from unemployed nurses, then see the back end of things where the majority of the job seekers reflect such poor attention to detail and minimal effort.
    I agree, and am very happy to find that someone else realizes that paying attention to little things matters. I view making the effort to write well structured, clear sentences with proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation as a marker for attention to detail, ability to follow rules, and for just caring about doing things right. Imagine what would happen if a nurse administering chemo was slipshod, and did not calculate the client's weigh in kg correctly, ran it in too fast, didn't ensure a patent line, failed to check vital labs, skipped hand hygiene, did a poor job of teaching, etc. While it is hard to imagine a nurse doing ALL of these things, an attitude that little things don't really matter might make it OK in his or her mind to take shortcuts. Once it is OK to take one shortcut, more may follow, until care is more and more compromised.
    '
    When I grade papers, I am a stickler for doing things right. That said, I spend a huge amount to time first giving specific writing and citation feedback to each and every student. I provide my students with the instructions for how to set up Microsoft Word's grammar, spelling, style, and punctuation checker. After giving them feedback twice, I enforce the standards on their major (25-35 page including labs and meds write up) paper. Amazingly, I have received papers with 54, 70, 79, and more errors, even though they KNEW they would lose points for each and every error. Worst ever: 152 mistakes. Even after giving that person notice that if she did not fix them, she would lose 30+ points, she sent back a paper that still had 40+ mistakes. They only conclusion I can draw when students do this despite help and guidance is that they don't give a damn, or that they don't think rules apply to them.

    If there are no penalties for persons who just don't make the effort to do things right, what does that say to the students who do? That they were dummies for doing so? I simply will NOT go along with the dumbing down of America. In case you haven't noticed, everyone and their uncle wants to be a nurse. We should use this to raise standards, not lower them, and should say to prospective nurses this: if you want that piece of paper that is worth millions over your lifetime, you will need to do certain things. Among them are being able to perform basic algebra; find, read, evaluate, analyze, comprehend, and apply high-level information found in nursing and medical journals; use critical thinking skills as the basis for sound clinical judgments; communicate and work well with others, including persons from diverse backgrounds; and lastly, be able to organize and present your ideas in a coherent manner at a level expected of a college graduate. If you cannot do not do those things now, you will have to take remedial classes until you can. If you choose not to do them, I suggest you go into another field.

    I have had it with students who do not think it is fair that we expect them to actually read their texts. If you don't choose to do so, do not expect to pass my class. Likewise, if you send in a resume with more than one error, do not expect to get the job over another person who took the time to make it error free.

    Good for you. Maybe the message will finally get through that nursing is a challenging field that demands serious academic skills and high-level thinking; we will all be better off when that happens.
    strawberryluv, elkpark, and llg like this.
  9. 2
    Ironic (support post errors)

    I wrote most of my friend's resumes for them, along with several others who got wind I could compose them well. I doubt your even getting "that" person's work.

    I agree with, and applaud you for your time and consideration to help AN members with your pearls of wisdom- but the admitted reactions are what I find shocking.
    AcadianOfMaineNP and GrnTea like this.
  10. 0
    I totally agree with this post and every point in it! If you can submit a resume rife with incorrect grammar and punctuation, what's going on when you're charting, drawing up medications, or overlooking something on a med order? The grammar and punctuation even seen on this forum is baffling. A typo here or there on an otherwise well-worded post on this forum is fine, I've made them. But some of the incomprehensible posts that pop up on a daily basis that need a decoder ring just to decipher them makes my head spin. But on a resume, all applicants should put their best foot foward, and making sure the resume is in professional order BEFORE submitting it.

    I also agree about foreign nurses. I've worked with them as a CNA, and I have two friends that are non-native citizens who are now nurses. I've met and known several wonderful foreign nurses, and they put their all into learning the english language when they came here, and even more so when applying and working their way through nursing school. People's lives are in their hands. So when your grammar is atrocious while you're asking about obtaining a job in this country, and you use the excuse that english is not your native language, then you need to focus on additional classes to help improve your english skills before putting people's lives in your hands. When a patient dies because you didn't read the med order correctly and gave them the wrong drug, saying sorry, english isn't my first language will not save you or the patient.
  11. 0
    I've seen the same thing in classwork publicly submitted by my classmates. When applying for a job or submitting work for a grade, people should make the effort to ensure that there are no grammatical or spelling errors, it is written professionally and proofread (possibly by another person for a fresh perspective), and that it fulfills the purpose necessary without going off-topic.


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