Creating an ICU resume

  1. Hello nurses!

    I am a one year ICU trained nurse, looking for a position in ED or ICU in my new (rather competitive) city. I am looking over my resume and comparing it to online samples, and I am noticing that all of the sample resumes have generalized information about nursing duties on the resume. For example, "administration of intravenous fluids" seems like a given when applying for nursing positions. I feel it would be to my benefit if I listed a more specific skill set to demonstrate my knowledge. If I am understanding correctly, a resume has to go through the HR department before being forwarded to the specific department the application is intended for. This is the only reason that I can think of where it would benefit me to list generalized nursing duties, as opposed to specific skills.

    I have also heard that online applications for jobs will select the use of certain buzzwords to narrow down the pool of applicants, and if this is the case, I will load my resume up with the right stuff, I just want to make sure I know what it is.

    What has your experience been?

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   adventure_rn
    I'd write your resume as though you're addressing it to your nurse manager, not HR. It's assumed that HR won't know the specific skill sets of the various nursing specialties; that's the nurse manager's job. HR will be looking at a few specific parameters: years of experience, degree, certification, etc. before they forward your resume to a manager. They don't care if you know how to monitor a Swan Ganz cath; your manager will. I would recommend spending some time crafting an engaging cover letter, since that can make you stand out to both HR and a unit manager.

    As far as skills are concerned, I'd only include highly-specialized, ICU-pertinent skills that a typical nurse wouldn't have. Like you said, it's a given that you know how to perform basic nursing skills. Hiring managers want to hear about specialized skills because it means that you'll require a shorter (and less expensive) orientation. You may also find that it's helpful to list the types of patients you typically cared for, since an ICU hiring manager will know what skills those cases entail. For instance, if you list that you cared for fresh post-op open hearts, you probably don't have to explain that you have experience with intubated patients on drips, because those patient are obviously intubated and have drips.

    I'm a NICU nurse so I'm not sure that this will be helpful to you, but mine looks something like this:

    Staff Nurse, Level IV Neonatal ICU
    *Provided nursing care to premature and compromised neonates in a 75-bed Level IV NICU.
    *Experience caring for infants requiring high frequency oscillating ventilation (HFOV), inhaled nitric oxide, whole body cooling, complex surgical intervention, and central venous and arterial lines.
    *Provided comprehensive education and compassionate support to patients' families.

    I'd caution you against throwing in too many buzzwords for the sake of using buzzwords. That may get you through the first round; however, once the resume reaches the desk of your hiring manager, it might come across as either generic or pretentious. I'd probably roll my eyes at a resume about a "detail-oriented, creative-problem-solving, critically-thinking team player," if you know what I mean...

    Best of luck!
  4. by   MegRN.
    This is golden information! Thank you for taking the time to share.

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