Nursing Jobs: Resumes for New Graduate Nurses

January 30th, 2009  |  The Blog

It’s that time of year again. I’ve been getting a lot of letters from senior nursing students asking me for advice on how to write a resume. Most new graduates that I talk to think that their resume will fall flat when they turn it into a nurse recruiter. Take a deep breath and relax. You have more experience than you think, and more importantly, you have the qualifications that employers are looking for.

Let’s begin with the basics. First, go online and find a sample resume. It will serve as your model and show you how to set up your information. The secret of writing a resume is to follow a formula and to keep your resume simple. Your resume is a snapshot of who you are, and is not meant to be biography of your entire life. The best resumes are no more than two pages long. Nurse recruiters don’t like resumes that are too long.

Every resume has a section that includes a heading. The heading includes your name, address, email address, phone number, and any other contact information that you want the nurse recruiter to have. Next, state you objective. Get to the point. Write something like, “ To use my nursing skills to provide quality bedside patient care at hospital X.” This is a great way to personalize your resume. The next section includes your educational background, certifications, and professional affiliations. This section is very straightforward. Include where you went to school and your nursing license information, even if your license is pending.

New nursing graduates often feel like they lack adequate job experience when they are looking for their first nursing job, but believe me, they always have more to offer than they think. Many skills that they learn from other jobs are valuable when they go into nursing. For example, a nursing student who worked at McDonalds as a crew leader shows that they have good organization, time management, and people skills. And don’t downplay the skills you learned in nursing school. Mention any extra clinical days you elected to spend in specialty areas of interests. Just remember that employers know that you are new to the field, so don’t try and pad your resume with stuff that isn’t important.

New graduate nurses can give an extra glow to their resume if they include a section that highlights their technical and language skills. Hospitals are always looking for nursing staff who are bilingual and who are computer savvy. They are also looking for people who know their way around the latest and greatest medical gadgets. This is going to give you a big edge over older nurses who don’t feel comfortable around new technology.

Have a couple people proofread your resume before you send it out. Spelling errors are embarrassing and they will kill your chances of getting a job. Check out NursingJobs.org if you’re looking for a job. And if you need some more advice, drop by NursingVoices. We’re waiting to hear from you.

Terri Polick
About Terri Polick
Terri Polick has been a nurse for thirty years, and is a published author living in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is currently working as a freelance writer, and is a frequent contributor to Nursing Spectrum Magazine. Terri works at a local community hospital as a psychiatric nurse.

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