The best nurses in the world only look as good to future employers as their resumes or professional bios do. While it's true that nursing jobs are growing at an ever-increasing rate, not all jobs within the trade are created equal, regardless of whether you have a BSN or an RN-to-MSN degree.
While you may have extensive knowledge and be able to manage even the most difficult patients with aplomb, kindness, and skill, crafting a resume that showcases your expertise isn't as simple as listing your previous three employers, and since getting the job you want isn't something to be laidback about, make sure you craft a killer resume by following these tips.
1. Write a Professional Bio
Most resumes begin with an objective statement, a paragraph that spells out the professional goals and aspirations of the person applying for a job. While this approach works well for some industries, it isn't the best choice for nurses.
Instead of an objective statement, write a professional profile that describes you as a nurse, worker, team player, and patient advocate. Instead of letting a potential employer know what it is you want in a job, use a professional profile to speak to your value by discussing the ways in which you would improve the workplace should you get hired.
Craft a narrative that summarizes your experience — for example: your RN-MSN degree, the types of care centers you've worked in, the years you've been on the job, etc. — and any specific areas of expertise. Be sure to highlight the ways in which your personal qualities, your experience, and your knowledge will improve workplace conditions, patient satisfaction, and overall productivity for the nursing job to which you are applying.
2. Incorporate Keywords in Your Expertise Section
The days of people poring over every resume and application that crosses a company's threshold are long over, which means the first hurdle you're likely to face is getting your resume into the hands of the hiring manager at all. Many human resources departments employ an electronic Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that reduces the volume of nursing applicants to a more manageable number by rejecting those that are outside a certain set of parameters. To help ensure your inclusion in the batch of resumes that make it past the software, you'll need to incorporate keywords specific to the job for which you are applying. By adding a list of bulleted points highlighting your many areas of expertise, like specialties and skills or that you're currently working on your RN-to-MSN degree, not only will you advance beyond the ATS, but when a real person finally has your resume in hand, he or she will see immediately the ways in which you could be an asset.
3. Be Specific About Your Experience
From the number of beds to the types of facilities you've worked in, be very, very specific about your nursing experience, quantifying it so your potential employer will know whether or not you're right for the job. Did you work three years in a 30-bed acute care facility? Then, say it. Whether MS, Tele, ICU, ER, CVICU, or L&D, be detailed about the work you've done, and keep in mind that monikers like "3 West" probably mean nothing to a potential employer, so avoid facility-specific language.
4. Tailor the Resume to the Job
Like it or not, if you apply to 30 different nursing jobs, you'll need 30 different resumes, and while some of the differences between them will be minor, tailoring your resume to each and every job will make the person in HR more likely to recommend you for an interview, since a job-specific resume makes it clear you view this employment opportunity as unique. Oh, and remember the ATS? Making each resume specific, is your best bet for outlasting the software round of the application process.
Typos are considered so unprofessional that they could even keep you from being hired. It's essential, then, that you go over your resume with a fine-tooth comb before sending it off. Have another set of eyes look it over, too. After all, your potential employer wants to hire a nurse who is careful and meticulous.
Don't let a typo overshadow your RN-MSN, 4.0 GPA, and numerous certifications and awards. After you've run Spell Check, read your resume out loud. Doing so will help you catch words that aren't misspelled but are incorrect nevertheless, and it will also help ensure the resume's language flows well.
Getting the nursing job you want isn’t as easy as simply showcasing your RN-MSN. Even working to expand your skills and specializations is unlikely to be enough unless you're able to ensure that a potential employer notices all that hard work and expertise. Doing everything you can to improve your resume, from making savvy keyword choices to making use of a professional bio, will ensure those potential employers will take note. Follow these five resume-building tips to land your dream nursing job, and if you're just beginning your quest to become a nurse, click here to like to learn more about our nursing programs online.