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Write a Winning Résumé

Looking to develop a strong nursing résumé, designed to help you secure your first nursing job? The good news is that you have already started the hard part – studying and gaining formative experiences throughout school. The next step is to tell your story and share what you have to offer the nursing profession.

The main goal of a résumé is to set you, the applicant, apart from the crowd. To do this, be specific and strategic. Here are a few tips to consider as you build your résumé.

  • Create a "master résumé" that lists all of your accomplishments and experiences. From there, tailor the résumé specifically for each position you apply for.
  • Pay close attention to the language used in the job description. Make sure to use language similar to the language in the job posting as hiring managers will sometimes rely on automated programs to cut down on the number of résumés that do not have enough key words/phrases.
  • List your most relevant experiences first, including clinical and training experiences. Share accomplishments such as awards, leadership and key learnings associated with each experience instead of just listing duties.
  • Don't be afraid to list non-healthcare job experience. Many people now go into nursing as a second or third career. Past work experience is not only relevant, but can help you can stand out to an employer.
  • Regarding formatting, make sure your résumé is clean and consistent. Small details such as font and spacing can make a big difference in the résumé's overall presentation.
  • Don't forget to proofread! It is good practice to have a friend or colleague look over your résumé to get a fresh perspective and catch easy-to-miss errors.

The National Student Nurses’ Association offers additional tips and an example résumé and cover letter here.

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