10 Tips For Writing A Great New Grad Resume

You completed school and passed the NCLEX. What's the first step in landing that first job? You need a great resume. Learn 10 tips for writing a great new grad nurse resume. Nurses Job Hunt Article


10 Tips For Writing A Great New Grad Resume

You finished nursing school and passed the NCLEX. You are ready to land that first job. You sit down in front of the computer to hash out your resume.........crickets! You freeze. Do really have any skills to list? How do you make this look professional and get the attention of the hiring manager without a nursing job history?

The American Nurses Association (ANA) recommends creating a well-structured resume no matter how much experience you have. This format may give you an advantage over applicants who don't put the time and effort into their resume, even if they have more work experience. The ANA says that an excellent nursing resume will showcase your education, career progression, professional skills, and significant experiences.

Below are 10 tips you can use when creating your first nursing resume.

10 New Grad Nurse Resume Writing Tips

1. Structure and Organization

Your resume is the first impression the hiring manager will have about your communication skills. Use proper spelling, grammar, and abbreviations. Consistent formatting throughout the entire resume is a must.

2. List Skills

Even as a new grad, you have clinical skills. You probably completed a preceptorship where you were able to perform many clinical skills and procedures. Be sure to include a comprehensive list.

You should also include a list of "soft skills". Soft skills are better known as social skills. These skills provide you with the ability to get along with others and be a productive member of the healthcare team. Common soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Decision Making
  • Time Management
  • Self-Motivation
  • Autonomy
  • Adaptability
  • Leadership

3. Think Like the Hiring Manager

Resumes used to be created to list what you were looking for in a job. Today, you must create your resume to stand out to the hiring manager. Look at the job description and be sure to align your skills with those needed to perform the job in which you applied.

4. Choose the Best Headings

You may not have much work experience to include and that's okay. Just make sure the headings you do choose tell the story of who you are was a qualified nursing candidate. Consider headings like, "Professional Affiliations" or "Awards" to showcase your experiences, networking skills, and achievements.

5. Describe your Training

Include any specialized training you received. If your nursing program provided special training or experiences, be sure to list those. Include the name of the facility, department or unit name and specialty as well as the dates for any special training.

6. List all Awards

If you received any awards or were part of an honor society, include this in your resume. Nursing school is hard. The hiring manager knows this too. They will understand the commitment and dedication you had to have in order to finish with any awards or honors.

7. Be Professional

Getting your first adult job means you have to start acting like an adult (well, at least while at work). Be sure to have a professional email address. Do not use an email that references hot nurse or other inappropriate terms. Do not include pictures, lists of hobbies or interests on your resume. And, the hiring manager already knows you can provide references, so no need to list this on your resume.

8. Create a New Resume for Every Job You Apply To

Even if you are applying to similar types of job, be sure to make your resume to specific to each job. The best way to do this is to create a standard resume. With each job you apply to, create a version that aligns well with the job description or job posting. This will increase the chance of your resume making it through the automated computer system and into the hands of the hiring manager.

9. Be Specific

You want to stand out, right? The easiest way to do this is being specific with each skill or experience you list. If you completed a 4-week preceptorship on a med-surg unit, be sure to include details about the number of patients you cared for each day, skills you performed, and any other details that help the hiring manager understand your specific skill set and success.

10. Include Past Work Experience

While you do not want this to be the focus of your nursing resume, there is no reason to not include a bit of your past experiences. If you held any jobs that are healthcare related, include this with details of the work you performed. If you have never worked in a healthcare field, include soft skills such as leadership, multi-taking, and communication skills to showcase your diverse skill set.

Creating your first resume is exciting and maybe a little scary. Take your time and be yourself. Showcase who you are through the way you craft your resume and skills.

Are you struggling with how to create a good resume? Have any specific questions? Or maybe you have some other great tips for new grads creating their first resume. Share in the comments, we would love to hear your thoughts.

Workforce Development Columnist

Melissa Mills is has been a nurse for 20 years. She is a freelance writer, career coach, and owner of makingspace.company. She enjoys writing about leadership, careers, lifestyle, and wellness.

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