One of the first steps for landing a great travel nursing assignment is submitting a resume. Often your resume makes the first impression on an employer. It may get you noticed and set you apart from dozens of other applicants. Whether you need to update your resume or write your first one, the process is simple when you follow the tips below.
Travel Nurse Requirements
Travel nurses provide general RN duties, which may vary from one assignment to the next. The duties and responsibilities you can expect as a travel nurse depends on your area of specialty as well as the amount of experience you have.
In general, you will need to have at least one year, but often two, of bedside experience. To become a travel nurse, an active RN or LPN license is required. Nurses who have completed a diploma program are a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and those who hold an Associates or Bachelor’s degree in nursing (RN) are all eligible to become a travel nurse. In general, travel nurses are usually RNs instead of LPNs, although that can vary based on the exact location and staffing needs of the assignment. Typically travel nurses are registered nurses .
In addition to education, the more practical nursing experience you have, the better. However, even if you don’t have years of experience at a prestigious hospital, you can still rise to the top of an employer’s candidate list. When writing your resume, make sure to add special skills you’ve acquired on the job.
Skills to Put on Your Nursing Resume
- Languages you are fluent in or understand, including sign language
- Experience or education with certain computer software, spreadsheets, databases or electronic health records systems
- Volunteer nursing experience
- “Soft skills,” such as work ethic, leadership, flexibility, empathy and the ability to stay calm in high-pressure situations
After each assignment, update your resume to include facility name, location and dates of employment. Be sure to add facility highlights, unit specifications and size, patient population and EMR system.
Similarly, regularly add any new skills acquired, certifications ( such as BLS, ACLS, PALS, TNCC, ENPC, NIH Stroke Scale, NRP, Telemetry Certifications) and other professional development. You may hit on a unique quality an employer is looking for.
Travel Nurse Resume Objective
At the top of your resume, below your name and contact information, include a resume objective. Also called a resume summary, professional summary or statement, an objective explains what you offer as a travel nurse and what you’re looking for in a position.
As you write your resume objective, think about the type of travel nurse job you want and the specific job you’re applying for. What makes you the best fit? The resume objective is the place to sell yourself to a potential employer or staffing agency. To draft a standout resume objective, keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep your objective to two or three sentences
- Tailor your objective to the job you’re applying for or the type of patient you’ll work with
- Highlight your unique attributes and how you’ll use them in your role
- Communicate your career goals and desires. Do you want to work in a specific part of the country? Say so!
- Use outcome-oriented language to indicate achievements. Ideas include “demonstrated results” or “positive health outcomes.”
Nurse Resume Objective Samples
A well-written resume objective is one more way to make your resume stand out. Use the following objective samples as guides.
Patient-focused travel nurse who rose from intern to management at a major health system. Won employee of the month three times because of my positive attitude, empathy and team-oriented approach. Look forward to providing the same—as well as dedicated nursing duties—at a midsize healthcare organization.
Compassionate travel nurse looking for a position in an established health system. I bring five years of experience working in high-stress emergency rooms while exuding calm under pressure. Multiple “Nurse of the Year” awards for my commitment to the job. Fluent in Spanish.
Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid
Because your resume is what stands between you and your next assignment, it needs to make a good first impression. Review your resume thoroughly and fix the following flaws before it reaches your future employer’s desk.
Don’t add personal information such as hobbies, religion or marital status. It’s actually illegal for an employer to ask about marital status, age, religion, sexual orientation and similar information that could be used to discriminate against you. Also, leave off the word “resume” and the phrase “references available upon request, as this information is implied.
Employers assume you have performed basic job duties such as “administer medications” or “chart patients.” Specific descriptions set you apart. Do you have experience inserting arterial lines or working with a specific electronic medical records system? JBe sure to include these types of unique skills.
You want to accentuate the positive, but you must do it truthfully. Lies won’t help if you start a job and can’t perform a required task. Also avoid the word “expert” unless you truly are.
Leaving out important details
While you should avoid unnecessary details, don’t leave out the important stuff. When detailing your medical experience, include information about the facilities. Was it a Level I trauma center? An outpatient center that focused on total joint replacement surgeries? Including experience in specific units is also a crucial and beneficial piece of information. Examples of this information would include units such as ER, ICU and OR.
Downplaying or burying your past accomplishments
Many travel nurses and other job-seekers downplay their skills because they feel uncomfortable writing about their accomplishments. To get over the “cringe factor,” imagine you’re writing a resume for your mentor. Wouldn’t you brag? Similarly, don’t bury your most important skills and experience at the bottom of your resume. Include the important material first and use bullet points to make it easy to read. Active verbs and short sentences make that material memorable.
Review your resume with an eagle eye for misspellings, grammar errors and other typos. Don’t rely on spell-checker alone. Read your resume out loud and, if necessary, hire a proofreader or ask a trusted friend to give it a second look.
Leaving out skills and certifications
A specialty certification or skill may push your resume from the middle to the top of the pack. Include them all in a bulleted list. Include medical courses and certifications, foreign languages, and specialized computer software.
Writing too much
Include relevant information, but don’t write an essay. Aim to keep your travel nurse resume to a single page. Automated resume-scanning tools used by some employers may reject multiple-page resumes before they ever reach human eyes.
Travel Nurse Resume Samples
Does writing or updating your travel nurse resume leave you feeling overwhelmed? To make sure you’re on the right track, take a look at the following two sample resumes.
This example showcases an RN with about twenty years of patient care experience. Notice how it lists specific accomplishments for each position. This resume details a nurse with ten years of experience. Note how it includes relevant skills and certifications.
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