Your nurse resume is one of the most important tools for marketing yourself into a great job. Your resume is more than a list of your credentials, experience, and accomplishments. It has to get you through the screening phase and set you up as a top candidate for the job you want.
Here, we‘ll cover how to write a nurse resume that is effective in capturing the interest of hiring managers in today’s highly competitive job market.
Getting started with writing
Getting one of the better nursing jobs is a competitive endeavor. You need to put your best foot forward. Even if you are highly skilled, accomplished, and qualified, you will struggle to stand out among other job applicants if your nursing resume isn’t professionally organized and formatted.
Resume readers have to sift through dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes, often spending fewer than ten seconds on each one. That’s why it’s important to do everything you can to stand out. You want to get through the initial sorting to a nurse phone interview, and eventually, the job.
Tips for writing a great nursing resume in 2024
Writing a nursing resume doesn’t have to be daunting. These tips can get you started and will guide you in creating a resume that truly stands out.
1. Get inspired by resume examples
Looking at good nurse resume examples will help you tailor one that showcases your strengths and is most relevant for the job you’re seeking. Use these templates as a guide for what skills to put on your nurse resume based on where you are in your career journey.
Entry-level nurse resume example:
As an entry-level nurse, you may not have impressive prior roles and professional achievements to highlight. For this reason, use a nurse resume template that calls attention to your education, coursework, certifications, and academic achievements.
Mid-level nurse resume example:
By the time you’re applying for mid-level nursing roles, you will have more clinical experience than when you were just starting out. You may have some leadership or supervisory experience to add, as well. While your academics and certifications still matter, you’ll want to highlight your ability to provide excellent patient care and your proficiency in clinical skills.
Senior-level nurse resume example:
A senior-level nurse resume will showcase extensive patient care experience, along with a work history of leadership and management roles. For your clinical abilities, you may add skills in strategic planning, managing a budget, decision-making, and implementing policies.
2. Optimize your resume with relevant keywords
The words you use matter. It isn’t just a matter of good writing. The right words, specifically keywords, ensure your resume comes up when a recruiter searches for candidates for a specific job opening.
Many employers use an applicant tracking system (ATS) for screening resumes. These apps are robots that scan your resume for specific words and phrases to identify the best candidates for further consideration.
3. Use easy-to-read fonts and formatting
As you saw in the nurse resume examples above, they all use an easy-to-read font. You want readers to be able to carefully skim your resume, which puts a premium on readability.
A commonly used font like Calibri, Garamond, Lato, or Verdana will render well in nearly every application and will give your nurse resume a polished look. Use a font size between 10 and 12 points to enhance readability.
4. Tailor your resume for each job
Take the time to tailor your nursing resume to the specific job you’re applying to. Highlight skills, experiences, and achievements that are important to the role. Your resume will stand out against the generic ones.
5. Use action words when possible
You will come across as more dynamic and energetic if you use words that express what you have done and what you have accomplished.
6. Provide metrics and numbers
Support your claims of accomplishment with statistics and numbers whenever possible. Quantifying what you have achieved makes your work more concrete and your potential value as an employee more tangible.
7. Use bullet points
You can include more information and make it easier to read when you break out the details in bullet points. The reader can absorb more without the effort of reading through a paragraph of material.
8. Proofread carefully
No matter how impressive your background, a grammatical mistake can be a glaring reason to reject you as a candidate. It’s often difficult to spot your own mistakes, so have other people read your nursing resume to provide constructive feedback and help you eliminate potential errors.
Recommended format for a nurse resume
The format of your nursing resume should follow specific rules. Your resume will be easier to read if it aligns to the left. Use one-inch margins all around. Set up sections and label them so readers can quickly find your contact data and each of the sections outlined in the document.
What to include on a nursing resume
Knowing what skills to put on a nurse resume and what sections to include will ensure that your resume presents the most vital and compelling information about you.
- Heading. Put a title over each section to make for fast scanning. Use a keyword in each, if possible.
- Professional summary. What would you tell a hiring manager about yourself if you had ten seconds? Start with a career objective, a top achievement, or the primary contribution you can make in the role you seek.
- Skills and qualifications. Showcase your technical and soft nursing skills. These can be related to giving care, interacting with electronic health record systems, teamwork, critical thinking, problem solving, and more.
- Work experience. Start with your most recent jobs, then work backwards. Specify your job title, dates of employment, and a summary of your achievements and responsibilities in each role.
- Education. This is the section for describing your degree, clinical rotations, and any specialized training you’ve received.
- Licensure and certifications. You will need to provide these documents to be eligible for most positions. You can add professional memberships and professional development work, as well.
How long should a nursing resume be?
Aim for a concise, to-the–point resume that conveys your strengths without being a burden on the reader. More isn’t always better. For an entry to mid-level nurse, good resume examples are about one page in length. A resume for a more senior position may go to two, possibly three pages. Just be sure to give the most space to the most recent, relevant, and impressive information.
Do staffing agencies require a nurse resume?
Staffing agencies, including Sunbelt Staffing, do require you to submit your resume as part of the application process. The process is the same whether for a traditional role or submitting a travel nurse resume. We support you with nursing resources to help your career. In addition to sharing our advice, we will share good nurse resume examples you can use to improve yours. We also have a nurse resume template that will help you create a nursing resume that reflects your strengths.
Submit your nurse resume today
Take the next step in your career by submitting your nurse resume to Sunbelt Staffing. You can use our quick apply process and open the door to opportunities that fit your abilities and your aspirations.