rn resume tips and writing help

The Importance of Your Professional Registered Nurse Resume

Getting employed as a Registered Nurse is not easy. No matter where you apply, you are likely to face a significant amount of competition. This means that you will need to ensure that your resume is capable of making you stand out. Our RN resume tips and registered nurse CV sample can help you to make sure that your application will help you to get chosen for an interview.

Employment for registered nurses is growing at a much faster than average rate than other professions with 15% more places expected to be available in the next 10 years or so. Average salaries are around $68,450 per year making this profession an attractive one to work in even with its many demands.

This article will run through everything that you will need to ensure that you can create a registered nurse resume that is going to help you to gain an interview. The resume is not there to get you the job, its purpose is only to get the attention of the recruiter and to demonstrate that you meet their requirements for the position as they specified it. Well written it should be able to make the perfect first impression and get them to invite you to interview.

22 Questions to Consider When Writing a Perfect Resume

Our professional registered nurse CV tips can help you to ensure that you will write an impressive resume for your application. We will provide you with a list of questions that you should be considering as you work your way through the process of writing that perfect resume. You must remember as you progress that what you are trying to do through writing your resume is to write something that is going to market you effectively and consistently.

Research stages you will go through:

1. Initial research stage

You need to know what your potential employer really wants in a registered nurse. This will mean doing some homework of your own to see exactly what they are asking for. It is not enough to just simply list your qualifications and the responsibilities that you have in your current job. That is unlikely to get you noticed at all. Recruiters tend to receive scores, if not hundreds, of resumes for jobs that they advertise. So if you want to match your resume to what they are looking for and be one of the few that gets shortlisted for an interview you need to think about what they really want.

  1. Who is the employer? While this may seem like an obvious question not every job states who the actual employer is, often only the recruiter. If you can you should try to find out who the actual final employer is. With the internet, this can be fairly simple as they will often have the same advert on the institutions website.
  2. What is the culture of the company: are they a fast-paced research institution that is trying out lots of new techniques? Do they work in deprived areas and look for nurses with high levels of compassion and patience? You need to look at their culture and what they say they value in employees.
  3. What problems are they facing? If the hospital is looking to introduce new certifications or has specific problems that you have experience with then you have found something straight away that provides you with extra hooks for your resume.
  4. What are they actually asking for? Take a look at the job advert and everything else that they have to see exactly what they want. How do you match those expectations? What skills and other qualities do you possess that they want to see?
  5. What does their website say? Don’t just stick to looking at the job advert. Look at the website to understand what they look for in staff.
  6. What do they tweet about? Twitter can be a goldmine of information about what is going on within an organization.
  7. Do they use Instagram or Facebook? Again photos that they share either as an organization or by individuals in the organization reflects a huge amount on the culture of the organization and what is going on there.
  8. Do they have a LinkedIn profile? Who do you know? You can learn a huge amount from what they and the employees post through LinkedIn. Joining groups and participating can also get your name known by people that are there.

All of the above information tells you about what they are really looking for in an employee. You should always carefully tailor your resume so that it matches what they are looking for. If you are looking to write a “generic” resume that will match the large percentage of jobs that you might target and to use for your LinkedIn profile you should check out 2 or 3 companies that you might want to work for to develop your resume. Of course for a specific application you should always tailor your resume to reflect their exact expectations.

2. Finding a template

The next section that we will concentrate on is the formatting of your resume and how to decide on your layout.

  1. Are there any good samples? Look at some samples: there are hundreds of samples of resumes for nurses online. You should look critically at some of them and see what takes your fancy. You should ask yourself what is it about them that makes them stand out.
  2. How long are they? Typically a nursing resume will be just one or two pages in length. Any more than this and you can be pretty sure that the recruiter simply will not spare the time to read it.
  3. What format of the resume should you follow: this is not as simple to decide as most would hope. In reality there are just three formats that you should be considering:

I. Reverse chronological: this style of resume will list your career history starting with your current role and moving back in time. This particular style of resume is good for new graduates, nurses with only 5 or less roles in the last several years, those that are applying to a similar role, or those that simply want to show progression within their chosen career. This will have a layout  that will typically look like this:

  • Contact Info
  • Summary
  • Work History
  • Education
  • Certifications

II. Functional layout: this layout will place the emphasis on the skills that you have rather than the progression of your employment. It is often used by those that have gaps in their employment or who are moving into a new career. This style is rarely recommended for nursing professionals. The layout will typically follow this:

  • Contact Info
  • Summary
  • Skills
  • Work history
  • Education

III. Combination layout: this style of resume places emphasis on both skills and work history. It is recommended for those professionals that have experience in many specialty areas, those that are looking for a new career or a new specialty, those that have multiple gaps in their employment. The layout will look like:

  • Contact Info
  • Profile / summary
  • Work experience
  • Education

Get your page formatting right: understand just how your page should be laid out:

  1. Margins 1” top and bottom with at least 0.63” each side
  2. Align text to the left
  3. Select an easy to read font: suggested Arial or Times New Roman in at least 11pt
  4. Stick to black text throughout without any special formatting
  5. Do not use any special characters in your resume
  6. Do not decorate your resume in any way
Alternative stage: writing with the help of automized systems/robots

More than 75% of recruiters employ an Applicant Tracking Software program. These systems are used to review resumes automatically to ensure that you meet their basic requirements. If the software judges that you don’t meet the requirements then it will not get passed to the human recruiter reducing their work load. That being said these systems are programmed by the recruiters so you can work to ensure that you pass them:

  1.  What keywords are you using? Typically the recruiter will get the ATS to look for specific keywords within your resume. If your resume lacks those keywords in the right places then your score will be lower or your resume will be rejected. Always use the same language in your resume as they use in the job advert. So if they use your job title in a slightly different way reflect that in your resume.
  2.  What formatting have you used? Not every ATS system is as smart as the next. If you use extra formatting, include special characters, or even add a photograph your resume may confuse the system and it will simply get rejected.
  3.  How is your resume structured: giving your section headings unusual names or altering the structure away from the norm can again upset the system. So always follow the structure that we will discuss in the following section.
Final RN resume writing stage

The following will run through the different sections that you will need to cover on your resume:

  1.  How should you list your contact information? The following will provide you with the information that you should provide your contact information at the top of the page:
  • Name at the very top in an 18 – 22 pt font
  • City and State
  • Phone number: include land and mobile
  • Email address: always avoid inappropriate addresses
  • LinkedIn profile
  1. What should your summary cover? Your summary is there to introduce your resume for registered nurse position. It should be an objective statement as some suggest but a summary of what you have to offer in the role. Typically this will mean that you should cover all of the following:
  • The number of years you have worked in your specialty area
  • The type of facility in which you are working
  • Your supervisory experience and how many people work under you
  • Any special awards or certificates that are relevant
  • Any specific language or other skills that are relevant to the application
  1. What should be included within your skills section? Within your nursing skills list, you should be very much guided by what they are requesting within the job advert. Do not just regurgitate a registered nurse skills list for resume that you find online. You should ensure that if they mention a skill that they are looking for that you reflect it within the skills section of your resume using the same terms that they use. Don’t use acronyms without also spelling them out fully.
  2. What should be covered in your licenses section? You should fully list the licenses that you hold for nursing. The information should cover the full name of the license and the issuing body. You should also include the license number and its expiration date. This allows the recruiter to see straight away that you are ready for work and that they don’t have to waste a lot of time looking for your license number to check it.
  3. What should be covered in your certifications? List all relevant and requested certifications in this section of your resume in much the same way as you would your licenses. Do not however just list BLS or CNA programs. Spell them out fully or you may not get past the ATS. Your nursing credentials and certifications should also highlight the issuing body such as the American Nurses Association.
  4. How should you write your Work history? Always start with your most recent employment and work backwards. The resume should show your job title and specialty, the unit that you are working in as well as the name of the institution and the dates you were employed between. This should be followed by a bullet list of no more than 6-8 points which should cover:
  •  Primary duties: be specific as to what the duty is
  • Any noteworthy accomplishments during your employment
  • Any significant achievements
  • Do not simply repeat your job description for registered nurse resume writing.
  1.  How should you cover your education? If you have a bachelors degree as well as an associate degree in nursing it may be best to exclude the associate degree from your list. The reason being that some recruiters will tell the ATS to exclude anyone with an associate degree. You should give however full details of the degrees and other relevant training that you have gained. Years gained and the schools/universities in which you gained them.

100 Keywords to Use in Your Registered Nurse Resume

As mentioned a few times during this article, the words that you use within your writing can decide whether your resume will pass through the automated check as well as impressing the recruiter. While you should always mirror the language used in the job advert but you can also consider this top 100 list of keywords for nursing resumes:

Evaluated Reacted Mature Inventive Executed
Attentive Reported Balanced Contributed Motivated
Adhered Explained Responded friendly Empathy
Independent Knowledgeable Administered Persistent Applied
Tenacious Scheduled Compassionate Critical thinking Followed
Assessed Broad-minded Honest Decided Maternal care
Unique Shared Certifications Teamwork Committed
Helped Data Management Assisted Supervised responsible
Consistent Hard working Led Documentation Built
qualified Collaborated Injections Sociable Listened
Discharge Managed Treated Measured Objective
Communicated professional Patient Kindness Taught
resourceful Negotiated Cheerful Observed Rehabilitation
observation Assertive Adaptability delegated Tracked
Delivered Performed Practical Unconventional Coaching
Patient assessment Creative Demonstrated Trained Developed
Directed Planned Traditional Direct Surgical
Reliable Realistic Dynamic Proactive Trustworthy
Updated Preserved Displayed Productive Educated
Ensured Eclectic Provided Launched Assertive

10 Common RN Resume Mistakes That You Must Avoid

The following are 10 mistakes that you should avoid at all costs within your resume:

  1. Don’t include your age: while ageism may be illegal it still does not stop recruiters being influenced.
  2. Don’t include your salary: this can be seen as too high or too low and get you rejected without any discussion.
  3. Don’t include overly personal information: there is no reason to include your marital status, religion or any other personal information.
  4. Never use a nickname within your resume instead of your own name.
  5. Don’t fail to target the job with your resume: always tailor the resume to the job your are applying to.
  6. Never place information in the page header or footer: the ATS may not see information that is placed in those areas of the page.
  7. Don’t use email addresses that are unprofessional. Have something that clearly reflects your name and professional in a formal manner.
  8. Don’t simply regurgitate your job description within your work history.
  9. Don’t use “I” throughout your resume.
  10. Don’t let typos slip through: always carefully proofread your work.

How to Go About Your Job Seeking

The following are some simple tips to help you with undertaking your job seeking:

  • Know what you really want: don’t simply apply to every job that you see. Identify the role that you want and do your research to find the right jobs for you.
  • Don’t apply for jobs that you do not have the right qualifications for. Your resume will be thrown out by the ATS before it even gets seen by the recruiter if you do not meet the main requirements.
  • Get the location right for you: if you are not prepared to move for work you need to be clear as what a comfortable commute would be and limit your search within that radius.
  • Specify for a specific job. Do your homework and always tailor your resume accordingly.
  • Use a good nursing cover letter template so that you can include a well written and targeted cover letter with your application.
  • Don’t give up: many recruiters will not get back to you at all and others may take forever. Keep working at your job hunting and, eventually, you will be successful if you follow all of our advice.

Social Media and Your RN Job Hunt

Most recruiters today will check your social media so it is always important to ensure that your resume and LinkedIn profile match as well as other online information. Not only that, it is important to understand that networking can have a significant impact on your chances of landing a job. Especially those that never even get advertised.

Join groups on social networking that discuss issues in your specialty area. This will give you a chance to ask questions, join in debates, and even make a name for yourself. This can have a significant impact on your chances of finding a good job in your chosen area.

Follow our RN resume tips and use our samples for the best chance of getting selected for an interview with your next application!

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