nurse practitioner resume tips to follow

Nurse Practitioner Resume Guidelines and Job Prospects

A nurse practitioner is far more than just a nurse, they are able to provide treatment while not working under the direct supervision of a doctor as most other nursing professionals have to. However, finding the right job after you have got your NP qualifications and CBCN certification or other specialist qualifications can be hard. This is why you may need our nurse practitioner resume tips to help you with your job hunting.

You also need to be aware that licensing and work practices do vary from state to state and you should investigate what you can and cannot do within the different states. While a nurse practitioner can prescribe drugs within all 50 states not every state provides full privileges and within some states such as CA or NY they are on restricted or reduced practice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the US the average wage for a Nurse Practitioner is $107,460 making this an attractive area in which to work. It is also a very fast growing area with the number of jobs expected to grow by a whopping 31% in the next 10 years for those who have obtained a CBCN certification. However, employers are always going to be looking for staff that are both qualified and proven at what they do.

Most nurse practitioners (55%) work as FNP Family Nurse Practitioners with various other specializations and sub-specializations available. After FNP the next most popular specializations are Adult/Adult-Gerontology NPs (21%), Acute Care NPs (7.7%), and Pediatric NPs (6.4%). Licensing and other requirements vary considerably from state to state so it is important to check the specific expectations and requirements before you apply to any state.

My Nurse Practitioner Resume Tips

Getting the structure of your nurse practitioner resume right and writing it in a way that is going to impress the recruiter is vital if you are to get the invite you are looking for to interview. This can be very difficult even for experienced nurses. Recruiters are not going to spend hours reviewing your resume for information to try and match their expectations. They may have dozens of resumes to review and they are simply going to scan your application if they do not see precisely what they are looking for in that quick look your resume is going to be discarded quickly to make their job easier.


Our tips for nurse practitioner resume writing, however, can help you to make your resume more effective. So where do you start with your resume? Follow the information that we provide for writing your resume with regards to the nurse practitioner resume sections detailed here:

1. Summary:


Some will tell you to start with a nurse practitioner resume objective. The problem with this is that it is centered on what you are looking for and not what you have to offer the position that you are applying to. The purpose of your resume is to show that you meet their expectations so that you will be called to interview. This means selling you to them. This is a piece of marketing material and should not be telling them what you want but what you offer them.

Your summary should provide them with a concise overview of why you are and what you have to offer them. This does not mean that you should write war and peace covering all of your best points. Avoid a lengthy paragraph as this will simply not be read by any recruiter that is in a hurry. Write a few sentences and include bullet points if there are several points that you wish to make. Typical things to cover within your summary would be:

  • Your current role and number of years experience as a nurse practitioner
  • Your area of specialization and sub-specialization if you have one
  • Specific nursing related skills or achievements that you wish to highlight
  • Additional skills that may be relevant to the job such as a second language

2. Your Licenses and Certifications:


This is very important part of your resume as the recruiter will be looking to see that you are ready to get to work. With different states having different requirements it is always best for you to check the specific requirements prior to making your application. While some recruiters will clearly state their licensing expectations some will not. So do your homework and ensure that you have everything covered.

When you cover your licenses and certificates ensure that you cover all of the following:

  • The complete name of the license or certificate
  • The issuing body
  • Expiration date if there is one
  • License number

Don’t worry about including your license number as these are made publicly available anyway. Ensure that you list the licenses in their order of importance to the job that you are applying to so that the recruiter will see the most important things to them first rather than having to look for what they want to see.

3. Skills:


As you go through your career you will pick up many skills that are relevant to your job from looking after a central line to drawing blood. It is always best to include a skills list where you can summarize the most important skills that you possess. This should however not be simply a random list of skills. You should always review the job advert to identify the specific skills that they are looking for. As with your qualifications and licenses you should tailor this section so that the skills that they are looking for and value the most appear first.

Remember also that not every skill is a hard skill that is relevant to your work as a nurse practitioner. You should also include some soft skills in your nurse practitioner skills for resume such as these highly important qualities that most recruiters will be seeking:

Compassion Stamina Attention to detail
Ethics Communication Commitment to development
Confidence Critical Thinking Adaptability

This section should not simply be a mass of keywords that the recruiter is looking for, however. Select what you feel are the most important 6 to 10 skills to highlight within your resume. If you put too many the impact of what you do write is diminished as it simply looks like a long meaningless list.

4. Experience or Work History:


This should be the most important and longest section of your resume so that the recruiter can see what you have achieved in your past work. This is where you need to carefully tailor your achievements to what the recruiter is really looking for. While you could list everything in the skills section, there is a small hack. It is better to have some of those skills highlighted as achievements that you have made in your past employment. So tailor this section with care to show the recruiter what they want to see.

The section should be organized with your current or last employment first and go back in time. Provide the reader with the name of the institution, your job title, the area in which you were working and the time that you were there. Within each employment section, you need to include what you have achieved. This should not be just a list of responsibilities, however. Responsibilities are pretty much a given from the job title. Always try to provide some insight into what you have actually done.

If you have made changes or improvements make sure that you showcase those achievements and if possible quantify them. Quantifying what you have done will make those achievements appear far more impressive.

Highlight the skills that you have developed within the employment, do not however simply say that you developed the skill. Give examples of outcomes so that the recruiter can see that it is not just an empty claim on your part. Demonstrate what you can do with brief examples rather than telling them.

You should choose about 5 to 8 things to highlight within each of your employments. If you have many different jobs then it may be best to concentrate on your most recent roles and not to expand on the older areas of your employment which are likely to be less relevant to your intended employment.

5. Education:


This section should always be below the work experience section. The recruiter will pretty much expect that you will have the specific requirements listed for the role that they have advertised. Start with your highest qualification and stick to degree level qualifications unless they have actually requested anything else. Provide them with the name of the degree, the awarding body and the date on which you qualified.

6. Honors and Awards:


If you have won any awards or specific honors through your education or working career then they can be listed in a spate section to highlight them. Alternatively, they can be highlighted within the section in which they were won such as the educational or work experience sections.

12 Statements to Use within Your Work Experience Section

Whether you are looking at our RN, MS, BSN nursing resume samples or our writing advice you will often be looking for tips on what to include to show your experience. The following are some example sentences that you could include:

  • Scheduling of follow up care for patients over 3 to 6 month periods with therapists and other medical specialists.
  • Patient education on a holistic approach to their specific medical needs and treatment options.
  • Worked with the primary physician to formulate appropriate treatment strategies for patients.
  • Review and assessment of patients to identify specific priorities for care.
  • Monitoring of vital signs and taking action based on changes observed.
  • Review and interpretation of lab reports, x-rays and other reports on patient health.
  • Assistance for emergency personnel, conduct and support resuscitations and other life support treatments.
  • Prescribe and administer pharmaceuticals and immunizations as required.
  • Full accountability for evaluating patient requirements and developing care plans.
  • Provision of treatment for complex situations requiring rehabilitation and physical therapy.
  • Caring for patients recovering from recent surgery, serious injuries or with serious diagnosed chronic medical conditions.
  • Using clinical management experience to improve the running of the unit and improve efficiencies.

Keywords to Include within an NP Resume

Many recruiters will use an Applicant Tracking Software system to review your resume before it gets anywhere near the actual recruiter. These systems look for specific words that the recruiter will specify within your resume. These words will usually reflect what the recruiter will put within the job advert to reflect the specific skills and qualities that they are looking for in an applicant. So it is very important that you reflect the wording used in the advert in your own writing. This will mean putting your job title in the same wording as the job and mentioning qualifications and the like in the same way as the recruiter writes them.

Failing to use the keywords correctly could mean that your resume never gets past the computer into the hands of the actual person. The following are selected keywords that may be useful on your resume:

Adhering to ethical principles Interpreting medical tests Developing rapport with patients Preparing health education materials
Problem solving Customer service Diffusing stressful situations Coping with pressure
Attention to detail Performing minor surgeries Decision making Protecting sensitive data
Maintaining confidentiality Leadership Accurately documenting patient condition Ordering physical therapy
Evaluating medical situations Mentoring Training staff Monitoring
Managing medications Consulting with health team members Taking initiative Promoting healthy lifestyle
Report writing Surgery preparation Creating treatment plans Physical assessments
Critical thinking Diagnosing Devising protocols for nursing practices Counseling
Prioritizing Evaluating staff performance Delegating Teamwork
listening Coaching Supervising Formulating care plans for patients

What Degrees and Qualifications to Mention on Your Resume?

Before pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner you should already have graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and practiced as a licensed Registered Nurse (RN). The route from here to becoming a nurse practitioner is through taking a graduate degree in nursing. The most popular route is to take a Masters degree, Usually the Masters of Science in Nursing or MSN degree. The more preferred route, however, will be to take the longer Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Whichever route you take however you should detail both your Bachelor’s degree and your graduate degree on your resume.

Typically, an NP will have to work as an RN for at least 1 or 2 years before moving on to study for their graduate degree. This gives them the opportunity to gain experience in various specialties that they may wish to pursue as an NP.

The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) provides you with a full breakdown as to what each state requires in the way of licensing and qualifications. In most states, a Family Nurse Practitioner will need to achieve certification through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). This will be in addition to their RN licensing. Depending on your specialty or subspecialty you may also require additional qualifications and license that will be specific to your role.

7 Most Frequent Mistakes to Avoid in Your NP resume

Whether you are following the Yale employment strategy for new nurses or following any other route to find a job your resume is still going to be the most important part of your application. Written well it could make the perfect first impression and get you invited to interview. Write it poorly and it may not even get to the hands of the recruiter let alone to the interview stage.

The following are some of the most frequent mistakes that nurse practitioner job seekers make with their resumes that you must avoid:

  • Not tailoring to the job you are applying for: Nurse Practitioner positions are highly demanding and the recruiter will have some very specific expectations of you. If you do not show that you meet all of those expectations through your resume clearly then you will have little chances of getting interviewed. Always carefully review the job advert and all other information that you can find about the role to ensure that it is included in your resume.
  • Not using the right keywords: using different wording than the job advert could mean that your resume gets overlooked. Well over 75% of organizations will use a piece of software to screen your resume and if it does not contain the words that the recruiter wants to see you simply will never get seen. Always reflect the language that you see in the job advert within your resume so that you can be sure that you get into the hands of the recruiter.
  • Not enough detail: often you can lose out to applicants that have taken the time to spell out exactly what they have done in enough detail to impress the recruiter. Do not assume that they will understand what a task entails or what specific roles mean. Be guided by the job advert and spell things out to reflect the level of detail shown within it. If they list out specifics reflect them to the same level in your own writing.
  • Inaccurate or mismatching details: often you will have a profile on LinkedIn and maybe on other sites also. You need to ensure that all of your profiles and your resume provide a consistent and matching message. Dates that don’t line up or other information that does not match can tell the recruiter that you have been careless with your writing or maybe economical with the truth. Either way it could sink your application. Few recruiters today will not check your online profiles if they have an interest in you.
  • Failing to mention your accomplishments: many of the applicants will have a similar background and can probably list out similar responsibilities within their working days. You have to ensure that your personal resume makes you stand out and that means showing clearly what you have achieved within your roles. Be clear as to the professional experience that you have and any awards that you have gained both academically and professionally. The better that you can stand out the more chance you have of being selected over others.
  • Poor formatting: some job seekers will overuse bold and italics and even insert different colors and fonts into their text. All this does is confuse the reader who is looking to quickly see the information that they are looking for. If you want them to see information then ensure that you maintain a clear and easy to read format for your resume. Have clear space prior to each section to draw the eye there and use an easy to read font in 12pt of bigger. Ensure that you put the key things that the recruiter will be looking for at the very start of each section so that they are seen first.
  • Not editing or proofreading your resume: often your resume will be the first and only thing that the recruiter will see of you. If it is full of grammatical errors or spelling mistakes or simply poorly written you are not making a first impression that will impress.

Make your application stand out and increase your chance of getting selected to interview by following our nurse practitioner resume tips!

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