You Have Three Seconds to Get an Employer's Attention

Dear Nurse Beth, I have a resume question! I've been a stay at home Mom (SAHM) for the past 3 years and am updating my resume to head back to work. My previous experience was in Critical Care in Hospital settings. Most recent, PACU, then Interventional radiology, and before that a few years as a travel ICU nurse. I'd like to make a change and hopefully work in a doctor's office. My question is this, how in-depth do I need to go into each travel assignment?


  • Career Columnist / Author
    Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development. Has 30 years experience.
You Have Three Seconds to Get an Employer's Attention

I'd planned to consolidate my travel nurse experience into one entry and then list each hospital and length of contract under that. All my travel assignments were in the ICU, so there's a lot of overlap in experience. Considering I'm not looking to continue in a hospital setting, would this approach be okay?

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Dear Updating Resume,

Your instincts are correct, the description of your travel assignments should be brief and not in depth.

A winning resume should catch the reader's attention in a few short seconds. It has plenty of white space and includes bullet points for readability. A well-written resume is captivating, and avoids clichés and overused phrases such as "highly-motivated team player".

To construct a resume for a doctor's office, try to think like the hiring office manager. What is important? What are they looking for? Read the job description for keywords and use them in your resume. For example, they may be looking for someone with delegation skills who can coordinate care. If so, highlight how you delegated tasks to non-licensed personnel and coordinated patient-centered care.

Many skills used in critical care are not transferable to a doctor's office. They are not looking for someone who can manage balloon pumps or calibrate art lines, so instead identify skills they are looking for. This will depend on the services offered as well as your role. You may be hired to triage patients, provide patient education, or manage other workers.

All employers need employees with customer service skills, and you undoubtedly have those. Emphasize those skills and include examples, for instance, if you were ever Employee of the Month. Find out what EHR they use (Epic, Cerner) and speak to your ability to your computer skills.

If you've ever had AIDET training or other Studer training, it should be included.

It might be important that you are ACLS certified in case of a code (depends on the office. are they doing any procedures?).

In a nutshell, put yourself in the reader's shoes and compose your resume accordingly. Good luck to you!

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

Career Columnist / Author

Beth Hawkes (Nurse Beth) is an accomplished nurse working in Acute Care as a Staff Development Professional Specialist. She is also an accomplished author, blogger, speaker, and columnist. As Nurse Beth, she regularly answers career-related questions at Check out her book, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Job"

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