new grad rn resume with no experience writing help

How Good Does Your New Grad RN Resume No Experience Need to Be?

If you are newly graduated and starting to look for that first job you may be worried about what you should be coving in your new grad nursing resume. After all with no job experience under your belt to speak of you may be wondering what you should cover within your application. How do you impress the recruiter with your new grad RN resume with no experience?

Most new grads will struggle with everything from the format of their resume through to just what information they truly need to cover to impress nurse recruiters. This can make the task of writing that attention-grabbing and effective resume very difficult. We, however, can provide you with all of the support that you need to ensure that your resume will stand out.

What Is the Future Outlook for Nursing Employment?

It is expected that there will be a 20% increase in demand for RNs over the next several years with the educational system in the US unable to keep pace with what is required. This is giving very low unemployment rates of around just 2.5%. While this may mean that employers will be struggling to fill positions it will still mean high competition for better nursing positions and competition for those offering better salaries and conditions.

There are roughly 4 times as many RNs as there are physicians in the US healthcare system, with more than 3 million employed . Most now graduate through college and university with a bachelor’s degree in nursing rather than using diploma programs. Specialty areas for nursing cover everything from nurse midwives and nurse anesthesiologists through to specialist oncology, neurological and ICU nurses. Over 60% of nurses are employed within hospitals with the remainder being employed within private practices, healthcare associations, schools, hospices, the military, and other agencies.

How to Organize Your New Grad RN Resume with No Experience

There is a huge amount of information out there from Careerealism on resumes to many other sites that will provide you with often contradictory information about how you should organize and write your resume. However, we will try to provide you with clear reasons for our advice so that you can understand why we suggest what we do for your resume. It is often worth looking at all of the different advice that you can see so that you will be able to get the best idea for your own writing.

When it comes to new grad RN resume tips let us first start with how your resume should be organized and what sections should be covered. The main sections that you should include as a part of your resume are the following:
  • Summary
  • Licenses and your certifications
  • Education
  • Clinical Rotations

These headings for your resume all contain information that you will be able to provide in some for or another. As such these should be the main parts of your resume following on after your personal details which you should put at the top of the resume. The following sections can also be included if you have something relevant to write within them:

  • Skills Summary
  • Work history
  • Affiliations
  • Honors and awards
  • Volunteer activities
  • Languages

new grad resume sampleSome would argue that you should place your work history in your resume prior to your education and clinical rotations. However if you are writing a new grad RN resume or clinic nursing resume with no experience to speak of this may be difficult. Rather than listing summer jobs or other barely relevant work experience it may be far better to be totally up front to the recruiter with the fact that you are a new grad.

If the recruiter is not up for hiring someone that has no experience then they will overlook your application anyway. If they are up for hiring a new grad but you put your barely relevant work experience first they may never get to your newly qualified status. After all, you are not going to get any real RN experience until you have actually graduated from an accredited nursing program, passed the NCLEX and gained your RN license. It is always best to clearly show that you are newly qualified to the recruiter right from the start. It may even work in your favor if they are favorable to someone that is recently qualified.

You may also want to change the order of those first sections if you have for instance not yet gained your licenses. You may wish to drop this section further down the page so that the recruiter gets to see all of your other excellent information first.

What to Put in the Different Sections of Your Resume

1. Summary

Some people may suggest that you actually start with a new grad RN resume objective section rather than a summary. But as the Forbes tips on resume summary statement writing and many others will tell you is that the objective statement is often a big mistake. It is outdated and most recruiters would look at it as if you are telling them what you want rather than telling them why they should be hiring you. You need to sell yourself to the recruiter by summarizing the main reasons as to why you are the right person for the job. Not tell them what you want in a job. This is why you should include a new grad RN resume summary.

Your resume will likely only get quickly scanned by the recruiter. It is therefore important that you make your summary stand out. You should always include the following in your summary:

  • State that you are newly graduated and where from
  • Outline your clinical rotations that are relevant to the job you are applying to
  • Highlight any other relevant skills to the post such as computer skills or a second language

So a simple summary may be:

“Recently graduated (2018) from a 4 year Nursing degree through the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in the top 10% of my class. Rotations included pediatrics and oncology. I also speak Spanish with native level fluency.”

2. License and Certifications

Provide the recruiter with all of the information that they will need to know which certifications and licenses you have. This should cover everything from AOCN certification to your RN license. This information should be provided with the following:

  • The full name of the certification or license
  • The issuing body
  • If applicable the expiration date of the license
  • The certification number
  • If it is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact indicate it as such

Some nurses completing the section for their licenses worry about giving their license numbers. They should not however worry as this information is freely available to the public on the state licensing board’s website for all to see. But the information is required for the hiring manager or recruiter to be able to verify your licensing.

3. Education Section

You should include all of the nursing schools or colleges that you attended when gaining your degree. There is no need to include your high school results. It is recommended to provide the following information as a minimum:

  • Full name of the institutions that you attended
  • City and the state where they are located
  • The dates between which you attended
  • The final degree that you achieved.

In addition, there are several other things that you may wish to add to the education section of your resume:

  • GPA: Include if you have a particularly good score, otherwise it is better to leave it out.
  • HESI or ATI scores: if the recruiter has shown an interest in them or if they are mentioned in the job description in any way.
  • Relevant coursework and the grades that you received: this should only be considered if you have received A grades for the coursework.
  • Honors and awards: if you do not want to provide these in a separate section of their own they could be listed here.

Remember, do not include any information that is simply not relevant to the job that you are applying to simply to pad out your resume and make it look more impressive. It will not! Irrelevant information just serves to distract the recruiter from the information that they are looking for.

4. Clinical Rotations

Again these are a very important part of your resume if you are to give the recruiter a good idea of the specific experience that you have gained during your education. Many universities will expect that you list them when you apply to their residency programs. The minimum information that you include for the rotations should cover the following:

  • Whether it was a clinical rotation, senior preceptorship, or another form of rotation
  • The starting and end date for the rotation
  • The number of hours that were worked for the rotation
  • The name of the hospital or institution in which the rotation was performed
  • The city and state
  • The name of the department in which you undertook your rotation (L&D Labor and Delivery, MS Medical Surgical Unit, ICU Intensive Care Unit, etc.)

When it comes to listing the unit name do not simply list the name that it is known by in the hospital. Give the type of unit and the type of patients that it contains so that the reader will understand the type of patients that you have been caring for.

The following information can also be included as it will give the reader a more thorough understanding of what you have been exposed to during your rotations:

  • Describe the facility type: such as “acute care hospital”, “children’s hospital” or “Long term care facility”.
  • The number of beds within the facility in which you undertook your rotations
  • Provide the trauma designation if applicable to the facility
  • Whether or not the facility is a teaching hospital
  • The number of beds within the unit in which you were assigned
  • The units trauma designation if applicable
  • The range of ages that were cared for within the unit in which you were assigned
  • The ratio of nurses to patients
  • The form of charting system that was employed
  • The EMR/HER with whom you gained your experience
  • The grades that you gained: provide this if you received an “A”

These technical details will allow the recruiter to see just what experience you have been exposed to during your rotations. These details are far more effective at communicating the experience than trying to describe it. It will also demonstrate to anyone reading that you also understand the importance of this information.

You also have many other opportunities here to sell yourself through the experience that you have during your rotations. If you have developed specific skills during these rotations such as empathy or compassion hen mention them. Make sure however that you provide clear examples of your use of those skills, don’t just simply claim that you developed them without backing up the statements.

You should also look at other things that may have been going on within the unit that you worked within. Was it trying to get approved for some form of certification, where they introducing new systems or software? All of these things can boost your employability, especially if the job you are applying to is in the process of going through something similar.

5. Work History

This should be used with care, especially if you have had several short jobs during your studies. You do not want to look like someone that jumps from job to job every 5 minutes. Employers are looking for someone that is going to be stable in their employment.

It is unlikely that you will have any real RN experience as you will only be able to be licensed once you have graduated. You need to ensure that your experience that you mention can be related to the type of work that you are to undertake as a nurse. If you have healthcare experience then that is fine, if however your work is in fields other than healthcare you need to relate it to what you have been doing. This may include covering the skills that you developed with your employment which could cover things such as team working, time management, or communication.

If you have no relevant working experience or are unable to relate the skills that you developed to your nursing career then it is fine to omit this section completely as a new graduate. You will have already stated that you are new grad in your summary so the recruiter will not be expecting a length experience section.

6. Affiliations

If you have joined the American Association of Critical Care Nurses or any other organization that is relevant to your work then this is the place to highlight it. Being a member of these organizations demonstrates a commitment to your profession as well as an intention to keep up to date with developments in your role. You should mention all of the following details when listing your affiliations:

  • The name of the organization that you have joined
  • When you joined them
  • The title or designation that you hold
  • Any duties or seat that you hold
  • Any conferences or other events that you have attended as a member

7. Volunteering

Many students undertake volunteer roles to widen their experiences as well as to help their local communities. Whether you have volunteered at a healthcare facility, charity or anything else you should be able to highlight the skills that you have developed in much the same way as you would with work experience. Volunteering also demonstrates things such as your compassion and dedication. The following information should be provided with your volunteering:

  • The name of the organization that you supported
  • The time when you volunteered
  • The number of hours you dedicated for your support
  • Your duties and responsibilities: if possible details the results of what you achieved
  • Any recognition or awards that you may have received

8. Awards and Honors

If you have been given any form of special recognition then you may wish to highlight it within your resume. This can be done within the specific section that it relates to such as your education or within a standalone section such as this if you want to give it special emphasis. Ensure that anything that you highlight however is relevant to the role to which you are applying. You should ensure that you spell out the reason for the award and its significance rather than just giving the name of the award and the body that gave it to you.

9. Skills

Unless you have highly developed skills that you have gained proficiency with during healthcare related work experience then this section is usually missed out. If you have only done something a few times within your rotations then you cannot claim full proficiency within it, you are still developing those skills. For those that have completed health-related work experience and gained certification and additional training in certain areas such as crisis management or phlebotomy then this section can be an excellent way to show off specific skills that may be sought by the job that you are applying to. Again be guided by the job that you are applying to. If they are seeking specific skill sets and you have real experience then it is worth providing them within this section.

10. Language Proficiency

Being bilingual is an excellent skill to have within many professions, especially within nursing. Many hospitals deal with communities that speak languages other than English and as such your language skills may be a unique selling point to help you get the job that you are seeking. It is therefore very worthwhile showing the languages that you speak within a section dedicated to them specifically. This is especially true if you know that the job you are applying to have a need to interact with many different community groups.

What Should a New Grad RN Resume with No Experience Look Like?

The following is the detail that could be included within a new grad RN resume:


Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the State Nursing School during 2018 and have received my registered nursing license. Have experience with Emergency medicine and rehabilitation through my nursing rotations. With native Spanish language skills and an ability to work effectively even in demanding situation.


  • Registered Nurse: License number RN12345 expiring Feb 2023, Issued by State Board of Nursing, Member of Nursing Licensing Compact.


  • Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing
  • State Nursing School, city, state

Clinical Rotations:

  • Hail Mary Hospital, city, state

July 2017 – January 2018

Hours: 1,200

RN in Emergency Room

Role: Assisting doctors with the provision of first aid and getting patients ready for required emergency procedures and surgery.

  • State Teaching Hospital, city, state

January 2017 – June 2017

Hours: 1000

Senior Rehabilitation and Healthcare

Role: attending to the needs of senior patients. This included: conducting diagnostics, administering medication, rehabilitation exercises, and other daily needs.

Types of Nursing Roles That You Can Apply For

When you are looking for a new job then you will want to make sure that your job search is effective. The following are some of the many nursing roles that you could apply for:

  • Registered Nurse – RN
  • ICU Registered Nurse
  • Licensed Practical Nurse – LPN
  • Medical Surgical Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner – NP
  • Emergency Room Nurse
  • Travel Nurse
  • OR Nurse
  • PACU Nurse
  • Home health nurse
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Nurse case manager
  • Nursing assistant
  • Telemetry nurse
  • Staff nurse
  • Dialysis nurse
  • Pediatric nurse
  • NICU nurse
  • Cardiovascular nurse
  • Labor & Delivery nurse
  • Radiology nurse
  • Oncology nurse

Keywords to Include in Your Newly Graduated RN Resume

There are many keywords that you should include within your resume if you want to ensure that your application gets noticed. In addition to the specific role that you are applying to you should reflect the words that the recruiter is using within their advert for the position. This is important not just to get the attention of the recruiter but also to pass through any ATS software that may be used. Often recruiters will use software to screen resumes prior to a human review. If your resume does not contain the specific keywords that they program the software to look for then your resume simply will not reach the actual recruiter. Typical keywords are:

Decision making Interpreting medical tests Coaching Delegating ICU
Diagnostic Critical thinking Formulating care plans Time management Coping with pressure
Collaborating Patient evaluation Record keeping Adaptability Pain management
Managing medications Attention to Detail Counseling Ongoing learning Injections
Monitoring IV therapy Making referrals Maintaining patient charts Organizing

Dos and Don’ts for Writing Your Nursing Resume with No Experience

Actually writing your resume does require a certain amount of skill and time and this should not be underestimated if you are to get invited for an interview. It is not enough to get your RN training sessions to relate to your career goals, you have to truly sell yourself to the recruiter if you are to get your resume noticed. The following nursing new grad resume tips will help you to ensure that your application is noticed:


  • Tailor your resume to the job you are applying to: review the job advert and identify the specific skills and other requirements for the job. Ensure that you reflect these within your resume along with the specific keywords that they use.
  • Use a simple format: you want to use traditional headings for the sections as outlined within this article and wide clear margins. Your resume should have plenty of white space and be easy to read.
  • Use a font that is clear and simple to read: use something such as Arial or Times New Roman in 12pt.
  • Start each section with the most important skill or qualification that they are looking for so that they are seen first.
  • Do use bullet lists and short concise sentences to get your points across quickly.


  • Don’t use excessive formatting of your text or decorate your resume: you want the recruiter to read what you have written not to admire your artistic capabilities.
  • Don’t lie or exaggerate your capabilities just to fill your resume or make you a better match for the post you are applying to: if you are interviewed it will be discovered.
  • Don’t include information that is simply irrelevant to the post as filler for your resume: it simply hides the information that they do want to see.
  • Don’t write lengthy descriptive sentences: stick to short concise sentences that communicate quickly and clearly.
  • Don’t forget to spell check and review your writing: you want to ensure that they get the right first impression when they read your resume.

Promoting Your Resume on Social Media

The majority of recruiters and hiring managers will check your social media profiles before making any decision to invite you for an interview. It is therefore very important that you present a consistent message with your LinkedIn profile, Twitter account and even your Facebook posts.

Social media is also a perfect way to network and engage potential employers. It is estimated that 80% of nursing roles are filled through networking rather than simply applying for a position and getting hired. So how do you promote yourself on social media and build your network? The following are some tips for promoting your job hunting through some of the more popular social media platforms:


  • Ensure that the details in your profile agree with what is written in your resume.
  • Complete your profile professionally in line with the type of job that you are looking for.
  • Join professional groups that are in your field and be active in the discussions that they hold.
  • Use LinkedIn to research institutions that you wish to work within. Add and talk to people that already work there.


  • Use twitter to communicate and discuss nursing issue with other nurses and professionals
  • Build your network by following relevant people
  • Join relevant chat groups and add to the discussion
  • Tweet and re-tweet information that is valuable
  • The more active you are the more people will follow you


  • Take care with the information that you share on the site: do you really want the fact you spend every Friday night out partying with future employers?
  • Join relevant groups for nursing and contribute to the discussions

All of our nursing new grad resume tips will help you to ensure that you craft an application that will get you noticed by the recruiters. It is through your networking and your resume that you will get yourself noticed and you will want to make the best impression that you can.

Follow our advice for writing a new grad RN resume with no experience and ensure that your application will make the best impression!

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