Dear Nurse Beth,
Hi I have some questions about resume help. I haven't worked as a nurse for three years and would love to find someone that can help me who in specifically experienced in nursing resumes, any ideas or resources that you can share? Thanks so much!
Dear Needs Help,
It's definitely important to craft the best resume you can as your resume is what lands you job interviews, and you are wise to seek help in your situation. The best resource I know of for nurses is my book " Your Last Nursing Class-how to land your first nursing job...and your next!"
It's the best guide for nurses because it's written from a hiring nurse manager's point of view. I wrote it because I see so many unnecessary mistakes in resumes that cost great nurses their chance of landing a job. I also see tons of misinformation, even from nursing faculty in nursing schools.
Here are a few tips from my book.
Make it easy to read
You must catch the reader's attention in a few short seconds. It's estimated that you have 6 seconds to capture the reader's interest. Dense blocks of text make it difficut for the reader process. Include plenty of white space and bullet points for readability.
Recruiters see hundreds of resumes, so it's important to be memorable. Do this by illustrating with examples. Instead of saying "reliable", say "perfect attendance x 2 yrs".
A recruiter will not tell a nurse manager "I found a candidate who's reliable" but she will say "Hey, take a look at this. Perfect attendance."
It's a common mistake to think that words such as "committed" and "high-performing" polish or amp up your resume, but to the reader they are boring, lack meaning and show a lack of effort. If you want to convey that you are "committed", say "served on unit-based committee".
Go through your resume and remove all of these terms:
strong work ethic
Soon your own eye will see these examples of what I call word fluff. Speaking of word fluff, leave off the objective when you are applying to a bedside position. The objective is, of course, to land a job. There is no need to write "professional, compassionate nurse seeking job as bedside clinician"....do you see my point? It's self-evident and lacks originality.
Active not passive
Use an active and not a passive tense. An example of passive tense is "A Daisy Award was given to me" Active tense is "Received Daisy Award". Go through your resume and change to active tense.
There is no room for error. It is entirely possible that the nurse manager will read a resume with spelling errors and conclude that since the writer is careless in her job application, she is also careless in her nursing practice. How sad would it be to lose a job because you did not spell check or you submitted a resume with punctuation errors? Have 2-3 people with editing abilities proof your resume.
A common grammatical error is syntax. Here's an example:
Voted Best Employee
Volunteered for Mobile Immunization
Was selected to precept new grads
Do you see that the third bullet point should read "Precepted new grads" for agreement with the preceding bullet points?
Customize your resume to each employer
Gone are the days of composing one resume and blasting it to 100 employers. Carefully craft each resume to the specific employer, keeping in mind the mission statement and service lines.
When applying to an employer in a Spanish-speaking market, highlighting your ability to speak Spanish is smart. NIH stroke certification is beneficial in a stroke- certified organization. In knowing the employer and their needs, you pose yourself as a solution to their problem.
How to Get Past ATS Software in a Resume
No matter how stellar your resume is, it must make the first cut-past application tracking software (ATS).
How to get past ATS software in a resume
In your resume, indicate briefly the reason you were unemployed. It can be for personal or family reasons, such as caring for a relative, but make it clear the problem is now resolved and you are ready to commit to your career full-time.