The field of nursing is growing consistently–and the job outlook looks promising for nurses in years to come. However, finding that first nursing job when you’re right out of school can be tough. Though nurses are in high demand, the selection process can be competitive, and finding an entry-level nursing position when you have limited experience sometimes seems impossible.
One of the best ways you can increase your chances of landing a nursing job is to put together a resume. Just because you’ve recently graduated, does not mean you don’t need to take care in listing the experience you do have. Here are some tips for creating an entry level RN resume that will help you outshine other applicants.
Develop a Structure for your Resume
Before you start writing, you need to have an idea of the format you’ll use as you build your resume. Looking at samples will help you find a structure you like. This is your chance to showcase your skills, education, experience, and even a bit of your personality, so it needs to have good bones on which to hang each item.
There’s no one “right” way to organize your resume, but this is one effective way to organize it:
1. Intro: Just a few short sentences summarizing your experience and your objective. This is a snapshot summarizing where you are in your career and what position you’re looking for. Resist the urge to write more than necessary here–the more concise, the better.
2. Education: Because you are an entry-level job seeker, your education is probably the strongest and most recent experience you can list. Make sure you include the school you attended, degree/licensure you received, and years you attended the program. If you had a high GPA, it won’t hurt to include that indicator of your academic proficiency here.
3. Internships: List the location and dates of any internship you completed and work you did while there. This should include clinical experience you completed while in school and departments in which you worked during that time. Make this the most detailed part of your resume. Potential employers will want to know what type of nursing you have done, so list everything–but list it as concisely as possible.
Edit Your Rough Draft
This isn’t an English class, but you need to go through a revision process. Just putting words and experience on paper isn’t enough. To truly make your resume stand out, go back through each item and make sure that you haven’t made any careless spelling or grammatical errors. Check your facts, your dates, and the experience you have listed.
Let friends, family, and mentors read your resume and suggest improvements. Having another set of eyes review the words you’ve written can be invaluable. It is difficult to look at something you’ve drafted from a fresh perspective, but that’s the kind of perspective the hiring manager reviewing your application will use when sifting through a pile of resumes.
•Make sure your resume can be scanned–it should have plenty of white space around the blocks of text. The person looking at your resume will likely spend less than 30 seconds on it, so make sure the important information will stand out.
•When looking at a paper, people normally run their eyes along the page in a diagonal line from top left to bottom right. Keep that in mind when you’re positioning your text.
•Cut words, cut words, cut words! Don’t leave anything out, and don’t include meaningless adjectives or phrases.
•Do not make preventable spelling or grammar mistakes. These mistakes are unprofessional and an automatic turn-off to many supervisors.