According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for all registered nurses is expected to grow 16% from until 2024 – faster than the national average for all other occupations. As the potential demand for nurses increases, competition for jobs is likely to increase as well.
Job candidates have a limited amount of time to make a good first impression. A strong resume can help increase that time and help secure a job for the candidate. But a poorly constructed resume may diminish a candidate's opportunity to land the position they're seeking.
Here are a few tips that may be able to help your professional portfolio stand out from the crowd:
The summary section is usually a candidate’s first opportunity to entice a prospective employer. In this section, candidates should briefly explain their previous job duties, achievements and awards that may be applicable to the open position. If you interned at a large hospital during the summer, for instance, be sure to mention it and explain what you learned. Include practical experience, as well, especially when relevant to the nursing position you are applying for.
In addition to a well-constructed summary, according to the SHRM survey, applicants can help set themselves apart in three main ways:
It should go without saying, but it's always important to be truthful on your resume. Many applicants exaggerate or are untruthful about education degrees, dates of employment, job titles and descriptions, previous salary and specialized skills. Making false statements or stretching the truth can easily cause an applicant to lose the job. Most healthcare organizations are now using the Internet to validate a person’s credentials and do various background checks.
Also remember the nursing adage, 'commission by omission.' Honesty and integrity mean including information that should be included.
It is acceptable to list future goals and desires pertaining to the profession. If you have a desire to work in a particular field of nursing, say so. Be clear about your desires and explain how you can be a valuable commodity in that particular field.
Employers tend to look for candidates with personality, value and self-confidence. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself and what you have to offer. If you graduated from college with honors, reference it. Moreover, list off job promotions, accolades and certifications, along with other pertinent information that may separate you from other applicants.
If you speak a foreign language, for example, or have worked as a manager at a previous job, detail it in a job skills section. Think of a resume as a way to express to employers what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you.
Make sure to double-check a resume before sending it to a potential new employer. Cleanliness, clarity and precision help demonstrate professionalism, no matter what occupation you are applying for. Ask a professor, family member or someone trustworthy to edit it and check for typos and grammar mistakes. Don’t rely on a spellcheck application and don’t be the person who has their resume rejected because of a misspelling or grammatical error.
According to the SHRM study, 93% of all respondents said that errors in resume's negatively impacted their decision to extend a job interview.
Take your time and get it right.
This step is often neglected by job applicants, but it can be just as crucial as the information listed on the resume. First, consider font size. Anything smaller than an 11 or 12 point font may be hard on a hiring manager’s eyes. Secondly, keep a consistent font style and use a traditional typeface, like Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri. Write short and simple sentences that go directly to the point. One page of text is considered to be the recommended length, but do not omit appropriate experience or skills to fit everything on one page.
Finally, having a little white space on your resume is a good thing. With no open space, it may appear cluttered and could cause a hiring manager to simply move on to the next candidate. White space is comfortable on the eyes, encourages the reader to maintain focus and provides space for an interviewer to write notes during an interview.