When you graduate from nursing school, the real work begins! Your first nurse resume is an important part of landing your first job. Be prepared! Employers are looking for applicants with experience, which as a new graduate, you do not have in abundance. But with clever resume writing and some planning, you can greatly increase your chances of landing an interview with a potential employer.
ExperienceIf at all possible, you should get some form of health care experience. This level of experience will show employers that you are familiar with the environment and its unique demands. You can work as a CNA, a caregiver or even as a volunteer. Ideally, you would perform this work at the facility you wish to work for after graduation. This way, you can establish a reputation at the facility, and your supervisors can vouch for your reliability and work ethic. A nursing internship is the holy grail of resume builders. If you can snag one of these, it is extremely valuable and sets you apart from other applicants. As a new graduate nurse, gaining as much relevant nursing experience as possible will help you land the job of your dreams.
Highlight SkillsLeverage your previous experience and frame it into nursing. Employers want to see that you exhibit leadership and communication skills, as well as the ability to delegate and multitask. These are required of nurses, so if you can show that you used them in a previous job, it can help employers visualize your potential.
GPAAchieve and maintain a high GPA. Your grades are one way to show a potential employer that you are able to effectively do your job. On the other side of the coin, if your grades aren't stellar, omit them from your resume, and provide them only if asked. Typically, employers are looking for a 3.0 or higher.
One PageYour nurse resume should be restricted to one page. A one page resume is a clean, direct way to show that you have got what it takes. Focus on making every line a selling point, and you won't miss any extra pages.
Relevant Clinical ExperienceMake sure to include relevant clinical experiences to the job for which you are applying. If you completed a clinical at the facility where you are applying, you should add that to your resume. Not all clinical experiences will be worth the space in your resume, so make sure you pick the most important/relevant ones. As you craft your first nurse resume, make sure the spelling and grammar are impeccable. Have a few trusted friends look at it and make suggestions for you. Look at sample resumes and emulate the style that would look best for your unique situation. Seattle Children's Hospital provides some excellent advice and a sample resume that is worth looking at. Ultimately, the best resume is a result of hard work and strategic planning for the future.
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