How to Write a Resume for a Registered Nurse Job

The Daily Beast

Looking to begin your career as a registered nurse? Good choice! The nursing field continues to be one of the fastest growing occupations in the country. In fact, employment for nurses is expected to grow nearly 20% by 2022.

Resumes for registered nurses follow the same basic steps and format as general resumes. However, there are a few nuances of a nursing resume that you should keep in mind. Follow these steps below to make sure you don’t overlook any of the necessary ingredients:

1. Find a Balance Between Accomplishments and Duties

For most industries, a resume should consist of a heavy dose of quantified achievements and a light sprinkling of job duties. However, this is where nursing resumes differ. Despite popular belief, nursing duties can vary greatly depending on the employer. While accomplishments are vital to your resume, it’s important that you don’t gloss over the nitty gritty tasks. 

So how can you find that perfect balance between achievements and job duties? The key is to combine both into one evenly distributed, eye-popping bullet point. Take these two bullet points for instance:

Run-of-the-mill job duty: "Manage the care of cardiac patients."

Balanced bullet point: "Manage the care of 10-12 cardiac patients per shift to include, but not limited to, pulmonary management, hemodynamic management, IV therapy, and cardiac pacing."

It’s no question that the second point does a much better job of blending everyday job duties and noteworthy achievements (any nurse will tell you that caring for 12 patients is no easy task). Don’t forget that the most effective bullet points begin with an intriguing action verb and include a quantifiable statistic. If you are in a hurry, try using a free resume builder to help you create captivating bullet points fast. 

Now that you know how to establish a healthy equilibrium between accomplishments and responsibilities, the question then becomes: which of the infinite nursing duties should you include on your resume? More on that in step 3. 

2. Don't Forget the Specifics

Hospital hiring managers often have quite a laundry list of qualifications that they have to look for on a candidate’s resume. That’s why it’s important to highlight the major elements on a hiring managers checklist. Now of course, every employer will have their own specific preferences, but here are a few details, broken up by their section on the resume, that they are guaranteed to look for:

Certifications and Licenses Section

  • Valid RN Registered Nurse license in state of employment
  • Certifications (BLS, CPN, CEN, etc)

Professional Experience Section

  • The nature of care your experience (clinical, emergency, outpatient, etc)
  • Proof that you are customer-service oriented and adhere to industry-wide protocols 

Education Section

  • Nursing degree from an accredited university

Additional Skills Section

  • Basic Computer Skills (Microsoft Office)
  • Bilingual Ability (Bonus points!)

If you can integrate these points into your nursing resume in a clear manner, you will not only make the HR manager’s job easy, but also drastically increase your chances of getting an interview. 

3. Modify Your Resume to Fit the Job Description

As mentioned in step #1, nurses face a tough decision in how to trim down their endless list of job duties to fit on just one to two pages. This is where tailoring a resume comes in. Customizing your resume to a specific job description will actually help nurses choose which duties to include. Take a few minutes to go through the job responsibilities and cross reference them with your professional experience section.

No matter what industry you are in, your resume should always be tailored to the specific job posting. All it takes is to make a few minor tweaks and your resume will directly address the particular position you are applying for. The key to doing this is to carefully read the job ad for clues and keywords. Luckily, resources like Jobscan make it easy to see if your resume matches the job description in just seconds. 

See also: Top 5 Countries with the Highest Paid Salaries for Nurses  

Now is the opportune time find a job in the healthcare field. Registered nurse positions are ripe for the picking, that is, as long as you have a well-balanced resume. If you want to see a few well-written examples, then check out these nursing resume samples. Follow the steps above and prepare yourself for the interview.