Resumes give employers the first peak at your abilities and talents. Resumes tell your professional story and can attract or repel the attention of recruiters and nursing managers. While most nurses are great at caring for patients, many cringe at the thought of creating or updating a resume. So, here are some tips to get you started…
1. Use spellcheck! It is amazing how many resumes have spelling and grammatical errors. This is a turnoff to many managers and will likely result in your resume being tossed out.
2. Create whitespace in your resume. Resumes with line after line of text and no whitespace are difficult to read and may be overlooked by a recruiter or manager who spends hours looking through resumes.
3. Utilize basic fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or other “plain” fonts. You may think that fancy fonts add to the uniqueness of your resume. Think again! Unfortunately, these fonts are usually difficult to read and often detract from the overall message you wish to convey in your resume.
4. Spruce up your employment history. Many nurses simply list their patient-related responsibilities and skills on resumes. However, be sure to list other activities you performed, such as peer reviews, working with nursing students, orienting new staff, writing or reviewing policies, assisting with in-services, etc.
5. List volunteer activities and organizations. This allows hiring managers to see when a candidate is actively engaged in the profession of nursing and in life! Plus, these candidates are more likely to be remembered!
6. Stand out from the crowd! I often add short, personal quotes about myself from co-workers and students, etc., to either the side or bottom of my resume. These short quotes serve as mini-recommendations and are a neat way to stand out from the crowd, but be sure to get the permission of the people you quote.
It is a common belief that nurse managers will hire “anyone with a pulse.” Although this may be practiced by some managers, most nurse managers search for quality candidates. And despite the availability of numerous nursing positions around the country, as a potential candidate, you will still need to put your “best foot forward,” with a great resume, to be noticed by recruiters and nurse managers.