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What do nursing recruiters look for on new grad resumes


Just like some of you, I am having difficulty writing my resume. I don't have any employment experience in a clinical setting, which has caused me to hit a brick wall. I'm curious as to how I can make my resume stick out without the employment experience.

I've seen resumes with clinical rotation experiences, but I'm not sure if I should list it on my resume. The reason being is because some people say don't list it because similar clinical experiences can be expected from everyone.

Please help!

Any and all advice is appreciated.


Absolutely list your clinical rotations on your resume. It shows what you are interested in and also where you might have the most experience. I am in the same boat with you, a new grad with no prior healthcare experience apart from clinical rotations. In my nursing school we had to prepare a resume and they told us that we should put every clinical experience on there, even if you just spend an 8 hour shift in surgery, for example.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 44 years experience.

We don't like to see resumes cluttered with routine clinical experiences. It makes it hard for us to find "the good stuff" buried in amongst the meaningless stuff. We prefer to see applicant highlight those experiences that are relevant to the job he/she is seeking ... and then have a separate page with a more complete list. That way, the main resume page is easy for us to read and identify the key information ... but the other stuff is available if we want to see it. It also demonstrates that the new grad is smart enough to recognize that some clinical experiences are more important to this application than other bits of information. Organize it, sort it, prioritize the information -- that's a better approach.

Also highlight any activities that show leadership or anything else that shows outstanding performance -- even if it is not directly nursing related. Such activities show that you have the potential to be a leader in nursing, positive role model, etc.

If there actually is nothing about you that is above average, then you need to be realistic about the jobs you hope to get as a new grad. I don't say that to be mean, just to help you find a good fit within a reasonable amount of time. Aim for jobs that DO match your background and for which you HAVE had a lot of experience with in school -- or find a way to get some experience in your preferred areas so that you will have something to show to indicate a special interest or experience. For example, if you are still in school, you might be able to write a paper for a class that touches on a topic relevant to your desired specialty. Even if you have graduated, you could do some volunteer work in that specialty or for the hospital of your choice. etc.

When doing online applications, try to use key words and phrases that relate to the job description, specialty, etc. That may help you pass through the initial screening and get an interview -- where you can impress them with your personality (even if your credentials may be minimal). Emphasize your flexibility with things like scheduling and salary ... willingness to learn ... commitment to stay at that hospital for a long time ... enjoyment in working with that particular patient population. Make yourself seem like a good investment because you will stay with them for a while and don't just want this job as a short-term stepping stone -- and that you will not need special accommodations in scheduling etc.

In other words, you can be a great employee for them even if you will not start out as the best nurse. Managers are looking to hire good employees, not just good nurses.

Good luck