Resumes carry far too much weight. There is a whole industry making a fortune on our fear of not having a good enough one. I am inclined to distrust all that. The experts on resumes don't agree on what to leave in, what to leave out, how much, how little, etc. The only point of a resume is to get you to the interview. As long as it is clean of typos, has a nice appearance and contains the basics that are expected for an entry level applicant, you should be just fine. More important is getting the resume in front of the hiring manager and acing the interview. Networking is key to getting your resume looked at. So is persistence. I have heard that it's necessary to be "almost annoying" in your persistence. I think that means following up every application with a phone call, calling back every week, coming in person to drop off a resume and ask to speak to the hiring manager, etc, etc. Being organized, blanketing the area, then following up. Then studying and preparing interesting, well thought out answers to the standard interview questions and rehearsing/role playing interviews with a friend.
Suggestion: Get books from the library on resumes. Just browse them and pick out a few books you like. Take them home and use the examples in the books to design your resume. Use the HEADINGS and SECTION TITLES just like in the book. Set up the top of the resume with your name in 20-22 point bold type with a design that you like borrowed from the book.
About 50% of the impact of a resume is in how it looks. First impressions are important. Remember to emphasize the most impressive stuff near the top of the first page. Make it look clean and handsome!
After the nice bold name at the top, list your address, phone, email. Then the sections in caps and bold too if you like (see below).
Read up on how to make a plain text resume that won't get garbled when the employer tries to open it on their computer.
Headings for a new grad resume might be:
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Under that heading you can put the personal qualities, the experience you wish to highlight, your top selling points.
Under this heading you can list the locations, hospitals, long term cares, etc, where you did your clinicals. No need to list every little thing, but emphasize things that relate to the jobs you are seeking or your special interests. Use the names of the facilities where you did your clinicals, the town and state, the year, and a sentence or two about the skills you learned there.
Also list here any paid nursing-related work or volunteer work.
List here any other jobs you held that you can use to showcase skills transferable to nursing (organizing, managing time, supervising, leading, working with a team, caring for others, etc, etc,)
List your degree here, the school, city and state, month and year of graduation. Under that list any academic honors or your gradepoint (if bragworthy, usually 3.5 or above), or any other special achievements.
This is where you list your license applied (applying) for:
Registered Nurse, (blank state) Board of Nursing, expected (month/year you expect to receive it).
Here is also where you list your BLS and any other certs.
Here you can list CEU's, other training classes, etc. I think it's a good idea, especially for a new grad who is light on exprerience. It shows you've been keeping up with your field. Also list here any nursing organizations you belong to.
That should give you a good start on a nice resume. Remember: ZERO (!) typos and misspellings! Get some nice thick bond paper and matching envelopes(Kinkos, Fedex Stores, etc can suggest good resume paper) for those resumes you plan to hand out or mail.
Look at the job descriptions for nursing jobs you find online. Use the terminology you find in the job descriptions to describe your own educational and work experiences, and to describe your personal qualities. You can find a wealth of words in those job descriptions. Computers will look for those key words when you submit your resume online. You can tailor your resume for each type of nursing job or each specific employer you are applying to, using words from their job announcements, job descriptions, or mission statements.
Look at lots of samples of new grad nurse resumes. You can find them online by Googling "New grad nurse resumes" or similar searches, or in books at the library. There are whole books of just nursing resumes you can use to see how people describe their work and showcase their skills and experience.
Your resume needs structure and design to appeal to the eye. Then it needs filling out with descriptions of your education, experience and clinical work (in school and out).
That's a little of what I've learned about writing a resume. I have a huge mental block about actually writing them. The only way out is through. Start somewhere and before too long it will begin to take shape.