Resume Tips: Perfecting Nursing Resume, Cover Letter, Online Nursing Job Applications

by NRSKarenRN Admin

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'Advice from a Nursing Manager with 10 years hiring experience on creating nursing resumes, cover letters and submitting online job applications that stand out from the crowd. New ways of networking highlighted.

  1. 35

    Resume Tips: Perfecting Nursing Resume, Cover Letter, Online Nursing Job Applications

    Wondering why you're not getting interviews or being hired?

    Look at your RESUME!!!


    I've been reviewing resumes this May 2012 for open positions in my department and can't believe the resumes I've received: misspelling, words crossed off, no cover letter, including personal information about family life. Please don't send a resume if you have NONE of the job qualifications, unless your cover letter has explanation e.g. enrolled in education program etc.

    Also, agree with our members that calling facility and finding out who is department manager, then forwarding your resume to them along with HR is great idea.

    Facility Telephone Operators on second shift are great at helping me spell the name of Manager of 2nd floor Med Surg ...Telemetry or ICU unit "so I can respond to their voice mail with a thank you card."

    I work in a smaller organization than a hospital, but it has taken me over two months to get open positions advertised and three weeks to get resumes sent to me...those that are sent to me directly have interview scheduled the same week. When 300+ persons responded to ONE position online, I can't possibly screen that many candidate. HR is always overwhelmed with applicants to our online Kenexa job application program so quicker for me to review those applying for my occasional 1-2 open positions.

    Some online application programs have the ability to screen for key job words based on application summary or position description built into it.

    Visit: Job-Seeker's Glossary of Key Job-Hunting, Career, Job-Search, and Employment Terms
    This glossary of job, career, and employment terms is designed to give job-seekers a quick definition -- and then provide links where you can find more details, samples, and much more information.
    Create your resume in a Word document using standard fonts (Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, with Century Old Style used most for business positions). PROOF READ two times before cut n' pasting material. Previous jobs should have language in past tense while current jobs have present tense used to describe work activities.

    If attaching a resume and cover letter, it is best to have file saved using your name and date so I can find it again if I download to my computer. Make sure your cover letter is for CORRECT FACILITY, not employer in the next state. (Yes, I received application for NJ hospital while I'm with a PA home care agency--quickest way to hit the recycle bin. Because I had an extra minute that day, I called RN and informed him of this error--before it hit deskside recycle bin.)

    Acceptable examples:

    Skywalker_Luke 5-20-12
    Skywalker, L 05-20-2012
    Skywalker, L Resume

    Not recommended:

    my resume; updated resume L; ?X old style; lukes bio;
    peters bio (yet first name listed as Luke ????)

    With focus on facilities going to electronic medical records (EMR), don't forget to list "Computer skills" as heading after work experiences. Under computer skills, list those you have experience with, especially if at intermediate or advanced proficiency. You might want to include any computer course work taken. List any experience moderating websites, etc. All these skills are what facilities need and looking for today.

    Example:

    Computer Skills: Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Internet Explorer-proficient; Access- intermediate); McKesson Horizon Homecare database administration. Privacy officer for 6 insurance websites including Navinet x 6 yrs utilized for healthcare eligibility and authorizations. 10 yrs experience as Administrator and moderator at allnurses.com worlds largest nursing website.


    As hiring manager, I look at length of time at positions and job progression along with experiences applicants state that would transfer to a healthcare environment. I'm always skeptical of someone changing jobs every 3-6 months without explanation in cover letter due to cost of hiring and training --need someone to be with me at least a year to recoup my investment in new employee. If job changes are due to working for temp agency, better to list temp agency as employer, then companies and skills obtained/utilized underneath that heading.

    Consider joining the most often used social media site for the business community: LinkedIn.com. As of March 31, 2012, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with 161 million members in over 200 countries and territories.

    Members post professional bios and resumes online, can connect with persons in similar positions, or reconnect with lost colleagues creating networks -- recruiters often search this site. You can look to see if anyone in your network is connected to someone who works at the company you’re applying to. Depending on who the connections are, you could possibly: ask for background information on the job, ask for a proactive referral or introduction, or ask directly for an interview.

    This advice also applies to job postings within your health system. A college acquaintance I kept in touch with over the years as they ascended the Nursing ranks, called me out of the blue one day to discuss the posting for our Education Director as they had no home care experience.

    I knew they had taught in a BSN program, served as editor for a nursing publication, worked as Nursing Supervisor and with 20+ years nursing experience, were vastly qualified. As we chatted, told them about online home care CEU articles one could read and what this new position entailed. Next day, as I passed VP Patient Services in the hallway, mentioned phone call and recommended person's resume be looked at IF they applied. Three years later, they have totally transformed our home care education, developing a department with 5 educators!

    Network freely as a student and later in your career with your instructors, unit Nurse Managers, Preceptor's, colleagues, nursing assistants, house keepers and security guards--anyone you might know that works within a facility; You may someday need to contact them for the scoop on unposted jobs, reference letters or advice on facility "politics" as one tries to climb the nursing ladder.

    May the force be with you in creating an individualized resume and cover letter highlighting your skills to land the position YOU desire.



    For advice on interview skills, visit Nursing Interview Help


    Check out the following websites to get you started:


    RWJF New Careers in Nursing Career Central
    Career tools and advice, including resume samples, interviewing tips, job search engines, and mentorship opportunities.

    AACN Brochure: What Nursing Grads Should Consider When Seeking Employment

    ANA: Career Center

    Landing a job in a tough economy



    Resume Writing

    Mary Somers RN, John Hopkins SON:


    Resume Writing and Interview Tips for Nurses from Univ. of Pennsylvania Career Services
    : has extensive information geared to nurses --sample resumes + cover letters, interview techniques, job search strategies, Interview prep questions. Don't miss their Thank You letters and follow-up correspondence section.

    University of Pennsylvania advice:


    Nursing Resumes & Portfolios University of Michigan School of Nursing

    Vault: New Graduate Nurse Resume

    FAQs About Functional Resumes Recommended for beginners with minimal work experience or transitioning to a nursing career

    Resumes for Nurses: discusses functional and chronological resumes

    Resume Writing by Donna Cardillo RN




    Monster Resume advice
    Healthcare Resume Readiness Quiz - Are you confident your resume will make it to the yes pile? Take our Resume Readiness Quiz for healthcare pros, And see if your resume passes the test.

    Resume Tips for Nurses
    Sample Resume for a Nurse


    Forbeswoman: Final Cut: Words to Strike from your Resume




    Cover Letters For The Resume

    The Basics of the Cover Letter: Vault Sample Cover Letters - a step-by-step guide of what goes on a cover letter done in the format of how the letter should appear.

    Sample Cover Letter: Newly Graduated Nurse

    Sample Cover Letters: First Impressions Count - Avoid Common Cover Letter Mistakes

    From Monster:



    Cover Letters: More Helpful Hints



    Tips For Submitting Online Applications

    First Time Job Seekers: Tips on Submitting Online Job Applications


    Tips for Improving Online Job Searches and Applications


    Online Job Application Tips by Spherion


    How to Stand Out When Applying for Jobs Online


    Letters of Recomendation
    Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
    Writing a Letter of Recommendation

    Book Recommendations for Nursing Career Advice
    [/SIZE]

    Donna Cardillo RN, MA nursing career guru's two jewels:


    The Nursing Job Search Handbook | Dunne, Genny

    Building and Managing a Career in Nursing: Strategies for Advancing Your Career (Added per llg advice)
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Jun 16, '14
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  3. About NRSKarenRN

    Home care guru / Clinical Manager with10 years experience hiring...and few firings. Attending BSN programs 30th yr Nursing Reunion October 2012. Time flies when your passionate about nursing and needlepoint to destress.

    NRSKarenRN joined Oct '00 - from 'RN Spirit from Philly Burb'. NRSKarenRN has '35+' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Home Care, VentsTelemetry, Home infusion'. Posts: 25,491 Likes: 11,330; Learn more about NRSKarenRN by visiting their allnursesPage Website


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    14 Comments so far...

  4. 1
    Thanks So Much great tips. now I don't have to have ten years of experience it's all coming to me in one day.... Great tips ,and i'm using all of them to help me get a job... Thank you, god bless
    SeattleJess likes this.
  5. 1
    Thank you for this information!
    SeattleJess likes this.
  6. 3
    Quote from NRSKarenRN
    Network freely as a student and later in your career with your instructors, unit Nurse Managers, Preceptor's, colleagues, nursing assistants, house keepers and security guards--anyone you might know that works within a facility; You may someday need to contact them for the scoop on unposted jobs, reference letters or advice on facility "politics" as one tries to climb the nursing ladder.
    This right here is so important. You never know where things will end up. When I was looking for a new job I applied to the hospital I currently work at and turns out one of my preceptors from an internship was now the manager of the ICU and offered me a job as well as the unit I am currently on. I had not seen this person in well over a year but they remembered who I was as a student. Get your name out there. Get known!
    SeattleJess, alidinak, and i<3u like this.
  7. 2
    Thank You. That's helpful.

    My tip: Have more than 3 persons read your resume and cover letter. My 2 friends and I didn't catch my hypo until my 3rd friend pointed it out.
    SeattleJess and blackdolpan like this.
  8. 1
    Wow! I am a nursing student currently trying to form my resume to apply for internships and this is super helpful.... thank you!!
    SeattleJess likes this.
  9. 1
    Quote from lalopop86
    Wow! I am a nursing student currently trying to form my resume to apply for internships and this is super helpful.... thank you!!
    Thanks for the comments and wishing the advice lands you an internship in this competitive environment.
    SeattleJess likes this.
  10. 1
    Thank you for the excellent advice. Given the topic matter, I cannot help but point out the mistakes in this article (not including the capitalization mistakes).

    Wondering why your not getting interviews or being hired? (not "your" - should be "you are" or "you're")
    worlds largest nursing website (should be "world's")
    Nurse Managers, Preceptor's, colleagues (preceptors)
    SeattleJess likes this.
  11. 1
    Great, excellent resources. Thank You!
    Last edit by bdinga on Mar 2, '13 : Reason: spelling
    SeattleJess likes this.
  12. 1
    I'm a newly licensed RN applying for my first job. Thx!!
    SeattleJess likes this.


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