No matter what career you choose or how long you have been in your field, everyone needs a resume. As a nursing student, a resume is your way of making a first impression to potential employers.
So what should you include in your resume? While resume formats may vary among industries and individuals, there are some features which are constant. Here are the sections you should include on your resume, and why they are important.
Your Personal Letterhead
At the top of every resume, it’s important to include the following:
- Your name
- Full address
- Phone number
- Email address
Each of these items is crucial to have at the top of your resume. For instance, you’ll want to type your name in a larger font size than the rest of the document in order to allow it to stand out. Likewise, including your full address will help clue potential employers in to what your commute may be like.
When you include your phone number, make sure to consider what sort of outgoing voicemail message you have on your phone. You’ll want to record one which is appropriate for anyone to hear. Similarly, your email address should be something like, “Firstname.Lastname@gmail.com”. If you have an existing email address you created which involves seemingly random words and numbers, it can be confusing for those who try to type it. An email address which includes your name will be easier to remember and easily associated with you.
Summary and Objective
Next, you’ll want to include a brief summary statement about yourself, as well as what your career objective is.
Here is an example of a summary statement:
- Multi-faceted, efficient and reliable RN with 10+ years of customer service experience. Proficient in many clinical aspects, nursing theory and evidence-based practice. Diversified skill sets covering administrative support, computerized charting, critical thinking & task prioritization. Excellent inter-personal, communication and documenting skills.
Here are some examples of objectives:
- Seeking registered nurse position that will allow me to provide competent and compassionate Med Surg patient care at XYZ Hospital.
- To obtain a registered nurse position in a clinical environment to become a proficient pediatric nurse.
- Dedicated student looking to make an impact in the lives of others as an RN, specifically in the neonatal intensive care unit.
This section is important because it allows you to inject some of your personality into your resume, while establishing your immediate goals at the same time.
As a student, this will be your opportunity to show off the credentials you’ve earned which make you a qualified candidate for the position you’re applying for. You’ll want your most recent education at the top.
Start by listing out the name of the college you attended, the type of degree you received (Ex: Bachelor of Science in Nursing), including the date you received it, and if you received any awards or honors. If you’re a nursing student near graduation, but haven’t graduated yet, you can enter in your pending graduation date instead.
After that, continue to list out any other relevant collegiate education. Include all other degrees or certificates received, in reverse chronological order. Do not include your high school education.
Licensure and Certification
In this section, you’ll want to include healthcare certifications and relevant designations such as CNA, EMT, phlebotomist, etc. You should also make sure to include non-healthcare related items that deal with a specialty (Ex: instrumentation, technology).
Only include items that are current and up to date. If one of your certifications or licenses has lapsed, you’ll need to recertify or pass the examination again.
If you’re a student who’s yet to take the NCLEX for your registered nurse license, include your test date if you know it.
In this section, you’ll want to list out every session you attended with relevant and notable experience. Continue using reverse chronological order as you did with your education. List the hospital/facility first, then the unit. Here’s an example:
- Adventist Glen Oak Hospital - Labor and Delivery Unit
- Central DuPage Hospital - Med Surg Unit
- Bridgeway Christian Homes - Long-term Care
Make sure to write out the name of the hospital/facility and not to use abbreviations.
This is your chance to highlight current and previous work experience you have. Some of these experiences may be directly or indirectly related to the position for which you are applying. Others may have no correlation at all.
It’s important to be selective in what you share about the work you have done. Do not list every aspect of each job. Instead, choose three to five key functions you performed which involve skills that could be transferrable to the position you’ve applied for. List the functions out as brief statements, making sure to include keywords.
Here are some examples of keywords you can use when describing your work:
Keep in mind that this section can have many headings. “Work Experience” can also be labeled as “Healthcare Experience” or “Military Experience,” depending on your background.
Volunteer Experience/Group Memberships
Being active in student organizations or groups outside of your school can help make a positive impression to potential employers.
You’ll want to list involvement with reputable groups, including:
- Student organizations:
o Student Government Association
o Student Nurses’ Association
o Newer Organizations (If you’ve helped launch them and initial projects)
- Outside organizations:
o Healthcare related
o Population specific
Once you’ve populated all of the sections listed out above, you’ll want to go back and check on your formatting to make sure everything is easy to read. Ideally, your resume should fit onto a single page.
Additional information such as your personal and professional references can be listed out in a separate document. Similarly, your cover letter is another document which you will want to prepare specifically for each organization you apply to.
If you're all ready to start building your resume, check out our resume template. And if you have any questions about what to include in your resume, or have comments about how you filled out yours, please share them below.
By Chamberlain University
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