Even though the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates faster than average job growth for registered nurses, recent nursing graduates aren't guaranteed a job. Your resume will likely make the first impression on potential employers and needs to stand out from a pile of new nurses' resumes. Hook hiring managers with a marketable resume that spells out exactly what kind of a nurse you'll be.
As a recent nursing graduate, you should use a functional resume format to help showcase your skills and focus on your strengths and knowledge. The alternative would be to use a reverse-chronological resume format, but this format may be less effective if you have little experience that would differentiate you from other entry-level nurses. To stand out, presentation is key. State what you offer the employer. You can use a summary of qualifications, profile or skills and competencies section to highlight nursing skills that will catch an employer's eye.
Summary of Qualifications
Statements of objectives have lost their place on the modern resume -- avoid this faux pas. Opt for a summary of qualifications in its place. List this section just below your name and contact details to provide a summary of what you offer. Employers can quickly sum you up -- but on your terms. Create a sales pitch to market yourself. You can write a brief paragraph, create a tagline, list a core skill set or use a bulleted overview.
While you may be a new nurse, you've developed and gained skills and knowledge from other experiences that apply to nursing. These transferable skills -- your areas of expertise that apply to all jobs -- are valuable to an employer. Make a list of skills you've learned and take inventory. Then write a list of skills nurses should have on the job. Nursing job descriptions provide additional clues as to what the employer values. Highlight all these skills on your resume and include them in the summary of qualifications or as tasks under related experience.
Include All Related Experience
Employers valued real-world experience. Even if you've only done a few clinicals or practicums, you probably have more experience than you think. Include volunteer work, internships, other work experience and extracurricular activities. Experiences that demonstrate your ability to handle stress, be flexible, show compassion, make ethical choices and function on a team are helpful for new nurses.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Registered Nurses
- Indiana University -- Purdue University Indianapolis: Guide to the Transferable Skills
- Franklin University: Importance of a Qualifications Summary
- John Hopkins University: The Complete Guide to Resume Writing for Nursing Students and Alumni
- How to Get a Great Job -- A Library How-To Book: Editors of the American Library Association
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.