curriculum vitae, interview, job application, qualifications, resume, resume writing



  1. Welton, Robert H. MSN, MDE
  2. Moody, Laurel MS, MSN, RN, CNE


ABSTRACT: In today's health care job market, nursing students are aggressively recruited for jobs even before graduation. Employers want to see accurate, informative resumes that efficiently and honestly convey an applicant's education and skills and how they match up with the employer's needs. Although resumes remain essential tools for job seekers, in recent years requirements have changed: nursing students and new graduate nurses need to develop an employer-focused resume geared toward a specific job. This article can assist these nurses in developing resumes that accommodate these latest trends.


Article Content

Our nation faces an urgent need for nurses. Between 2021 and 2031, job vacancies for nurses in all health care settings are expected to increase by 6%, with approximately 200,000 new opportunities each year.1 Many health care agencies are recruiting nursing students even before graduation. These employers are looking for accurate, organized, and informative resumes that efficiently and effectively convey the background and skills needed for their entry-level nursing jobs. According to the employment website Monster, for employers, a resume is second only to an in-person interview in determining whether a candidate is a good fit.2

Figure. Photo  Shutt... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Photo (C) Shutterstock.

Although resumes remain an essential tool for job seekers, in recent years they have changed. An effective resume now


* is more focused on posted job requirements for a specific job opening.


* is tailored for successful automated scanning by applicant appraisal and tracking systems.


* includes COVID-19 vaccination status (if you are vaccinated).


* uses metrics or numbers instead of words (for example, the number 15 instead of the word fifteen). Readers interpret numbers easier and faster than words, and numbers have more impact than words.3


* contains keywords from the job posting in relevant resume sections whenever possible.


* is customized to each position you are applying for.4 For example, if the position is in cardiovascular care, include specific experience such as, "helped manage care for over 10 post-op heart valve replacement patients," as opposed to just "experience with cardiac patients."



Although the employment market is wide open for nursing students and recent graduates, an effective resume is still key. This step-by-step guide is aimed at making sure your resume gives you the best chance at getting that new job.



Focus your resume on the prospective employer's needs-not your own. Traditionally, resumes have been developed with the candidate's job needs in mind, but this is the wrong approach. The purpose of a resume is not to get you a job, it's to get you an interview for a job.


The traditional resume is fine in many cases, such as graduate school applications, proposals to speak at a conference, or attachments to letters of introduction. But for a resume to be effective in a job search, prospective employers must be able to see that you can do the work they need done-which they usually describe in the job posting or ad. This approach to developing a resume uses the time-tested rule in writing of knowing your audience and writing for that audience. The audience for nursing students' and new graduate nurses' resumes is recruiters, hiring managers, and senior staff nurses; your resume should be based on what this audience wants to know.


Frequently the resume becomes the agenda for the interview. When that time comes, make sure you can talk in detail about your skills and experience.


Choose the most appropriate format. A resume (French for "summary") is a brief description of a candidate's educational and professional achievements. Those achievements can be organized in one of two basic formats: functional or chronological (or a combination of the two).


Functional resumes organize skills and work history according to skill sets, such as clinical work, project management, certificates, and leadership. These terms may in fact become subheadings in the functional resume. Previous employers' names, dates of employment, and job titles are deemphasized or even omitted. Functional resumes are rarely used in health care, though, except by very experienced individuals or consultants, and they are not the best format for nursing students, new graduates, or entry-level nurses.


Chronological resumes are the most used and readily accepted resumes in health care, particularly for nursing students, new graduates, or entry-level nurses. Most hiring managers and interviewers are familiar and comfortable with this format. In a chronological resume, the candidate's education, work, and other experiences are listed in inverse chronological order, with the most recent experiences first.


Curriculum vitae (Latin for the "course of one's life"), also known as a "vitae" or CV, is another type of resume. When applying for teaching or research positions at colleges, universities, or research institutions, candidates with master's or doctoral degrees are usually required to submit a CV. This is typically a longer document (frequently two pages or more) that provides a description of a candidate's educational background and professional accomplishments in considerably more detail than a resume. The inverse chronological format in resumes is also used in all CVs, regardless of a candidate's profession, discipline, or industry, which makes converting resumes to CVs less time consuming.


Over time and with more experience, like many nurses in academia and scientific disciplines, you will want to convert your early resumes to CVs, so keeping detailed records of your work and related experiences is useful.


Choose the right length. Resume length varies across disciplines, and it can generate big debates, as there are lots of opinions on the subject. Although some may suggest that there are rules regarding length, in reality there are only norms or conventions that vary among disciplines. For example, one-page-only resumes are common in journalism, whereas people with more than 10 years' experience in management will often have two-page resumes. Senior executives' resumes typically run to three pages or more.


In health care, though, the "keep your resume to two pages" rule is now a myth and can be bad advice. Many hiring managers don't care about length. Moreover, a one- or two-page resume may be fine for a young professional, but it can shortchange an experienced and accomplished candidate and fail to fully explain their past work. A resume should be as long as it needs to be to convince an employer that your qualifications make you a good fit for an open position.


Find the right template. Many word processing programs have resume templates that use fixed formatting styles to organize and outline the content. However, these templates may limit your ability to alter the layout and look of the resume. The best practice is to use these templates only if they allow customization.


The quality, clarity, and accuracy of the content in a professional resume are critical. Several important elements can improve the resume's overall look and appeal. For example, use white or off-white paper and black ink. Set one-inch margins on all sides; this adds white space to improve the look of the resume and provides space for employers to make notes during interviews. Left-justify your text and write the resume in an 11- or 12-point serif font, such as Times New Roman, which is considered easy to read.5 You may be tempted to use fancy fonts or lots of bold, italics, all caps, or underlining-but these can make text look dense and hard to read.


A modest header or footer with your name and page number in a small font is a good idea as it can help keep the pages in order if they are faxed or dropped.


What not to include. It is illegal for an employer to ask your height, weight, birth date, or physical health-and it's not relevant to the job in any case, so leave this information off your resume.6 Same for your marital status and number and ages of children. Keep your social security number and nursing license confidential until you are hired. And save salary requirements for the interview unless the employer has asked for it, in which case you can include it in the cover letter.



Begin with a contact header. Entry-level job candidates must make a good first impression. A well-worded header at the top of the resume guides the hiring manager or tracking system to find your information. A resume header should include your name, degree, related credentials, and preferred contact information. For example, a nursing student's resume might have a header like this:


Jane Smith, CNA


123 Main Street - Owings Mills, Maryland 21117


410-999-9999 - mailto:[email protected]


COVID-19 Fully Vaccinated


A new graduate nurse might add "BSN" to their credentials.


You can add home phone or mobile phone numbers as well. Avoid using your student email address, which is often inactive after graduation. Be professional right from the start: don't use an email address such as mailto:[email protected]; instead, open a new account with a more professional-sounding address.


Correctly labeling and positioning resume headers sends a professional message. The header can be centered or left justified. Using 1.5-line spacing can add eye-appealing white space and improve readability. The contact header is the only section of the resume where the font size for the name or the entire header can be slightly larger, such as 14 point, and printed in boldface. The remainder of the resume should be 11 or 12 point. However, subheadings such as Education and Work Experience can also be bold.


Vaccination status. Note that the sample header above includes information about COVID-19 vaccination. Since the pandemic, most employers prefer to hire vaccinated candidates.7, 8 In an August 2021 survey of 1,250 hiring managers, 63% said they preferred to see a candidate's vaccination status.9 In fact, one-third of respondents said they automatically eliminate resumes that don't include this status. According to Maurer, "Some experts are beginning to say that vaccination status is a must-have line item on resumes and LinkedIn profiles as employers prepare for regulations that limit hiring to people who have been vaccinated."10 As Jeremy Worthington of Worthington Careers and Buckeye Resumes told us in an email, "Our main priority is that the client uses the hiring process to stand out to hiring professionals. When an applicant includes [their] vaccine status on [their] resume, the need for recruiters to ask a difficult and sometimes sensitive question is eliminated."


List your credentials. The header is the first resume section where prospective employers see your credentials. Credentials include academic degree(s), accreditation, certification, or licensure, but they can reflect other achievements or competencies as well. The American Nurses Credentialing Center's preferred order of credentials is as follows11:


* highest degree


* licensure


* state designations


* national certifications


* awards and honors



Education degrees are always the first credential listed because they are considered a "permanent" credential: they cannot be taken away except under extreme circumstances.12 Only the highest academic degree is listed: if you list your BSN and in future go on to earn an MSN, you should delete the BSN and just list MSN after your name.


Never include a degree, certification, or license in your credentials until it is awarded. To do otherwise would be fraudulent, even though for the soon-to-be graduating or certified nursing student, the degree or certification may be only a few months away. Senior students close to graduation, however, can include their academic degree with the notation that this degree is anticipated at a specified date.


Nursing students with a second degree in another field-a degree in the physical or social sciences, such as biology or psychology, for example-should include this credential in their resume header, as it may be relevant to the nursing job they are seeking.


After your education degrees, list your licensure and certifications, such as certified nursing assistant (CNA), followed by any honors or awards. Use commas to separate each credential. Do not use periods in the credential abbreviations. For example, you would write Jane Smith, CNA, not Jane Smith, C.N.A. Do not use unapproved or unfamiliar abbreviations without clarifying them in the resume. When you have your license, delete the CNA credential, and list RN.


Skip an objective statement and go with a summary of qualifications. For decades, an "Objective" section followed the resume header. Typically a one-sentence statement describing the type of job a candidate was looking for, these objective statements were often uninformative, trite, and in some cases a waste of the reader's time.13 And, according to the Glassdoor Team, candidates who include a resume objective instead of a summary tend to have little to no professional experience.14


New graduates or nurses who are soon to graduate are not without qualifications, they just need to communicate what they can do at this stage of their career in a convincing manner. Most candidates should include a "career summary" or "profile of qualifications" (or whatever name they choose) that lists relevant competencies, required skills, and what they think they can accomplish for the prospective employer.


Instead of going line by line through each resume, many hiring managers will look for the career summary to determine whether they should keep reading. In our experience, it typically takes readers one to two minutes to scan resumes. A good summary can quickly give a hiring manager an overall idea of your current and evolving strengths and how your past experiences have helped you develop into a well-qualified candidate. A summary section typically includes


* a brief paragraph (three to five sentences or three to five bulleted points).


* content that functions similarly to an abstract in a journal article.


* keywords from the job posting.


* a concise overview of critical skills and competencies that match those required in the targeted job.



You may need to rewrite the summary section to address a new position every time you submit your resume. When keywords from the job posting are used in the summary, it can be compelling (see Example of a Qualifications Summary).


Qualifications summaries can be difficult to write, and it usually takes several drafts to develop the final text. Some nursing students and new graduates find it easier to write this section last-after they have finished writing the rest of the resume. That way, the student can cut and paste and then edit the salient parts of each section into a summary rather than develop this section from scratch.

Box 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowBox 1. Example of a Qualifications Summary

Use keywords and action verbs throughout your resume. To be most effective, your resume should include keywords and action verbs. Action verbs (such as executed, initiated, and attained) show what you have done and can do if hired. (The Muse website lists some action verbs you can use in your resume:


Keywords, in this context, are nouns that reflect the skills and experience sought by a potential employer. You can find them by reviewing the job postings and job descriptions for the position you want and taking note of the terms that routinely pop up on these job listings.


Ask yourself these questions:


* How does the employer define the position and its responsibilities?


* What specific language do they use to describe the core competencies for the role?


* Do I have these same skills, competencies, and experience?



If you've done this type of work before or possess those qualifications, describe them in your resume using similar keywords. However, do not duplicate or cut and paste portions of the job posting: a CareerBuilder survey found that 44% of 650 hiring managers would "automatically dismiss" a resume or cover letter that appeared to duplicate the job posting.15 "Nobody likes to see their work plagiarized," the survey report says, "including human resource professionals."


Place keywords throughout your resume in the work experience section and wherever else they appropriately fit. If you're unsure which keywords to use, Amanda Augustine at TopResume offers some advice: "Start by collecting three to five job descriptions that represent the type of position you're pursuing. Then, copy and paste the job description into a free word and phrase frequency tool like's Text Analyzer to identify the terms that are regularly used throughout your desired positions."16


Establish your education background. The education section immediately follows the qualifications summary. Although resumes outside of health care may begin with the work experience section, health care employers want to see a candidate's educational achievements first. Don't include high school education. It's assumed if you are currently enrolled in college or newly graduated, you've completed high school. Include all college work in the appropriate inverse chronological sequence.


List both nursing and nonnursing degrees and education, beginning with the most recent. Include the graduation year and list the degree-granting institutions, including city and state (no street addresses). If you're currently enrolled in a program, indicate the anticipated degrees, date of graduation, and institution:


Candidates should include coursework at any two-year institutions they attended before earning a four-year degree, not only for completeness but also to avoid surprising prospective employers who may see the two-year degree on a college transcript. Some nursing applicants may think that a degree in a nonnursing major or another field is not relevant and omit it from their resumes. But, in fact, a background in another field may have some relevance to the targeted new job. Also, it can distinguish you from other candidates with less education.

Education... - Click to enlarge in new windowEducation

If candidates have unfinished college work that may be of interest to the desired job, a mention of this can be included in the education section with a statement as to why the degree wasn't earned, as in this example:


When to add your GPA. Including your grade point average (GPA) on your resume can either help or hurt your chances of getting an interview. There are no specific rules on GPAs, but here are some general guidelines. Including your GPA is always optional unless the employer asks for it. But if the employer hasn't asked for it, how do you decide when to provide it? Here are two instances when you could add your GPA to your resume17, 18:

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* when you are a recent graduate, or a student approaching graduation, with little or no work experience


* if your GPA is 3.5 or higher



The only appropriate time to include a GPA on your resume is when you're applying for your first job. GPAs have short half-lives; after a year or more their value diminishes rapidly. If you've been out of school for at least a year and working, you should remove it, because your work experience will be more relevant than your grades.


Your GPA is a metric of your education, but your hands-on, practical experience is almost always more persuasive to a prospective employer than your GPA.19 "Employers know that it's an imperfect gauge," says career consultant and former manager Alison Green. "Lots of people with high GPAs end up doing mediocre work, and lots of people with unimpressive GPAs end up excelling in their careers."20


Not including your GPA won't shut doors that were meant to be open. Just make sure your resume highlights your skills and experience in a way that shows you're an achiever and don't worry about not including it. If the employer hasn't asked for it-and they rarely do-then they will not miss it.


If you decide to list your GPA on your resume, it could look like this:


Bachelor of Science in Nursing-GPA 3.9


Anticipated Graduation, May 2023


Display your work experience. This section covers your work experiences in inverse chronological order, including nursing-related jobs such as student intern, extern, or nursing assistant, as well as nonnursing jobs. These work experiences can detail the development of skills that candidates will continue to master as RNs. For example:


* Taught (with preceptor) 3 patients how to self-administer their subcutaneous insulin


* On 3 occasions (with preceptor) presented patient condition updates during morning multidisciplinary rounds


* Co-conducted (with preceptor) 2 family conferences


* On 2 occasions gave family members reports on patients' conditions over the phone (with preceptor listening in)



Including metrics or numbers on your resume adds concrete information and sends a signal to a recruiter or manager that you may be a good fit for their job opening.21 For example, when talking about your clinical experience, instead of saying you "performed urinary catheterizations," you could say you "performed urinary catheterizations on 15 male patients," which is more impressive to readers. has some useful tips on how to quantify your measurable achievements at


Include other nonnursing jobs, even outside of health care, that showcase skills such as communication, conflict resolution, educating the public, and more.22 For example:


* Conducted staff development training seminars on management, fundraising, and communication skills


* Coordinated leadership training in 7 national Clean Water Action offices, including San Francisco, Austin, Denver, and Providence


* Recorded and made nightly cash deposits



These early job listings and competencies can be eliminated or replaced in subsequent resume revisions once you've gained more clinically focused experience.


If you are an older new graduate nurse with a lengthy work history, it can be difficult to decide how many years of past work to include. Most online recruitment and resume-writing experts follow the standard rule to keep work experience to 10 to 15 years.23-26 Yet applicants' work histories can vary widely, as can perspectives on this standard rule. Tomas Ondrejka, resume expert at LinkedIn, suggests that older applicants should consider how long they've been in the workforce, how aligned their experience is with their target job, and their other qualifications when deciding what past work to include.27 And CareerBuilder advises that "if some of your earlier jobs are able to effectively communicate the strengths and abilities that you want to emphasize to your future employer, then by all means include them."23


Include your internships. Citing your internships is an excellent way to expand the work experience section of your resume and increase the likelihood of an invitation for an interview. Many hiring managers and recruiters view internships as valuable real-world work experiences. Internships allow students to increase their social and professional skills,28 put into practice the theoretical knowledge they've learned in class,29 and acquire more general skills such as time management.30 Additionally, potential future employers may perceive students who participate in internships as highly motivated, hardworking, and ambitious.31


Nunley and colleagues found that job seekers who had industry-relevant internship experience while completing their college degree had interview rates approximately 14% higher than those without internship experience.32 The positive effects of internship experience were greater for those who obtained nonbusiness degrees and indicated a high GPA on their resumes. Similarly, Baert and colleagues found that applicants with internship experience had, on average, a 12.6% higher probability of being invited to a job interview.33


You can add your internship experience to the work section of your resume or create a dedicated internship section. Include the title of your internship, the dates it began and ended, who sponsored it, and where it occurred. Also list your responsibilities and achievements during the internship. Emphasize the experiences that are relevant to the position you're applying for.


Here's an example of how to list an internship experience in the work experience section (again, use concrete numbers where possible):


June-August 2020. Student Nurse Internship, Critical Care Unit, Mercy Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Worked alongside an RN preceptor for 350+ hours in the critical care unit:


* Managed IV infusion and IV bolus medication administration on over 30 patients


* Completed physical assessments under supervision on over 30 patients


* Performed complex wound care and dressing changes on 10 patients


* Participated in interdisciplinary rounds and bedside change of shift reporting on over 30 patients


* Assisted patients with their activities of daily living


* Obtained ECGs on 10 patients


* Collected blood, urine, fecal, and sputum specimens on over 8 patients


* Reported stat lab results to health care team as necessary on over 20 patients



Display related experience. Pitch your presentations. List significant and relevant presentations you've given, such as poster sessions or health education talks at school or outside programs. (This section should not include workshops or conferences where you were an attendee and not a presenter.) Here's an example of how such an entry could be worded:


2022. "The Effects of Compassion Fatigue on Pediatric Nurses Caring for Medically Complex Patients." Senior Clinical Practicum Poster Presentation, Sandra R. Berman School of Nursing and Health Professions, Stevenson University, Owings Mills, MD.


Presentations to lay audiences can also reveal essential patient teaching experiences. The following example shows how these experiences can be summarized:


2022. "Recognizing Early Warning Signs of a Stroke." Presented to the Senior Citizens Club of Towson, MD.


List certifications, certificates of completion, and licensure. Next, list professional certificates of completion and certifications, spelling out any credentials that may not be familiar to the reader. List the name of the agency that provided the certification, the year obtained, and expiration if applicable. For example:


To prevent identity theft, never include certification or social security numbers. Your documents are handled by and accessible to a wide range of agency staff during the recruitment and onboarding process.

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List memberships in professional groups and organizations. Use the association's full name the first time it's mentioned, followed by its abbreviation or acronym thereafter. Include the years of membership:


If you belong to an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, use terms that will let the system identify you to employers trying to diversify their workforces and become more inclusive.34 For example:

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Share software and language skills. Nursing plays a vital role in electronic health record (EHR) use in the clinical setting. If you have experience with this information technology, include it among your other proficiencies. Cite your language skills or level of ability (fluency) in any language other than English and include mastery of American Sign Language or Braille. For example:

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Software Skills:


2022-EpicCare EHR


2021-Cerner Ambulatory EHR


Language Skills:


Spanish-reading proficiency only


American Sign Language


Document research activities. Not all nursing students or new nurse graduates have conducted research. However, some students may have been involved in an evidence-based practice (EBP) initiative, introductory research, or a quality improvement project under the supervision of a faculty member or preceptor. These experiences can be impressive on novice nurses' resumes. Beginning research experiences, such as searching for, reviewing, and appraising the literature on a specific clinical question; helping develop data collection tools; assisting in data collection; and managing or interviewing subjects or respondents, can show basic research competencies, as well as the ability to understand statistical terms and the language used in research articles (see Example of a Nursing Research Listing).


Include EBP experience. EBP initiatives are rapidly becoming the norm in most medical centers nationwide. EBP is a core competency of baccalaureate education.12 Showing evidence of basic EBP capabilities can be advantageous, particularly if you're considering a job in an academic medical center. However, numerous reports, including from nurses, suggest that nurses are not properly trained to apply EBP and do not use it often enough.35-41

Box 2 - Click to enlarge in new windowBox 2. Example of a Nursing Research Listing

If you are properly trained in EBP, you should list this information on your resume. Include experiences such as assisting with the critical thinking required to formulate valid clinical questions and skills such as knowing what strong evidence looks like and how to search for it. These experiences can also include assisting with searching electronic databases for relevant evidence, critically appraising that evidence, and assisting in the difficult process of translating findings into practice changes.



Write for the robot. After you have drafted your resume, edit it for scanning by an applicant tracking system (ATS). Many nurses think their resumes are personally read by human eyes after they submit them to a job site. This was true-up until about 1999, when job searches first went online.42 Nowadays, most employers use automated resume scanning software, such as an ATS, to sort through multitudes of applicants. An ATS uses artificial intelligence to scan for relevant keywords, assess and screen candidates, and rank those that make it through the initial screening.43, 44 Most resumes pass through an ATS before they get to a human-and an estimated 75% are never seen by a human at all.45, 46


Eye-catching fonts, unique styling, and formatting used to help a resume stand out and appeal to human reviewers. Now, a resume should be designed using the simplest, most generic resume template you can find so it can be readily scanned, read, and "understood" by the ATS.42 Writing for these robots is not hard, though-it just requires attention to detail so your resume will deliver what the ATS has been programmed to find. See How to Tailor Your Resume for Scanning.4, 34, 42, 46-49


Proofread, then proofread again. A recent study found that "applicants with error-laden resumes were less likely to be interviewed [and] hired [and were] offered lower starting salaries and rated lower on job-related traits than applicants with error-free resumes."50 Allow enough time for a thorough review of your completed resume. Proofread it for layout consistency and check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Bear in mind that it's very easy to miss errors in a document you've been working on repeatedly. And don't rely on your computer's spelling or grammar tools, which can miss mistakes such as misspelled uncommon words that aren't in the program's database. Ask someone else to proofread the resume too. And last, avoid using the same words over and over. It suggests a lack of attention to detail.51

Box 3 - Click to enlarge in new windowBox 3. How to Tailor Your Resume for Scanning

Be honest. This should go without saying, but truth matters. Avoid embellishments in your education section, make sure all your dates are accurate, and don't exaggerate your skills and accomplishments.


A 2020 survey study of 400 applicants and 400 hiring professionals found that as many as 78% of applicants misrepresented themselves on their resumes and in interviews.52 Moreover, about 44% of applicants reported they had faked or would fake references.53 This is unwise, as lies can be easily exposed through routine background checks, or soon after starting work when you cannot meet job expectations.54


Always send a cover letter. In response to a CareerBuilder survey, 40% of hiring managers said that the presence of a cover letter was more likely to get a resume noticed.55 A cover letter is usually a one-page letter addressed to the hiring manager briefly describing your interests, credentials, and qualifications for the available job.55 A cover letter can significantly boost your application if it's well written or sink it if it's poorly written. Job search expert Alison Doyle offers some useful tips on writing cover letters for students and recent graduates at For example, she suggests mentioning "soft skills-interpersonal 'people' skills like creative thinking, communication, teamwork, or time management that will help you to adapt easily to the people and clients or customers you will be working with."56 Specific references can be given during the interview rather than in a cover letter, but you can end your resume with "References on Request."


Stay in touch with prospective employers. Stay on top of communications with prospective employers. Try to respond to all requests from employers as soon as you can. And check your spam folder often: the automatic email responses frequently sent by ATSs may be read by your email provider as spam.


Bring a copy of your resume to the interview. A good rule to follow is to always have a printed hard copy to share with nurse recruiters and nurse managers at the in-person interview. Although nurse recruiters and managers have the ATS version you submitted, many prefer to read and take notes on a hard copy. They also like to use these hard copies as a guide or blueprint for the interview. What's more, bringing a hard copy with you is your opportunity to adapt the initial resume to include more details and appear more attractive than the ATS version. For an example of a final resume, see Sample of New Graduate Nurse Resume.



Make sure your resume reflects your progress. Throughout your career, you'll need to revise the resume as you apply for new positions. Although showcasing student work can be useful in a first-time job search, once you graduate and begin your first professional job, prospective employers may see some of these student entries as inappropriate or irrelevant. These entries should now be removed to make room for new professional accomplishments that show a progression in clinical and scholarly contributions, responsibility, authority, and leadership.


Remove items like anticipated date of graduation, school projects and papers, GPA, student clinical rotations, and part-time student jobs (such as babysitting or lawn mowing). However, any nonnursing jobs involving working with people, meeting deadlines, and essential responsibilities can remain for a few years before eventually being deleted.


It's a good idea to save a copy of your resume that contains this older information. It serves as historical evidence of your past work and other achievements and could be useful at a future date. In fact, you should maintain a thorough, detailed master copy of your resume, as well as a collection of all your old resumes. When you apply for a new position, you can pull from this database and use only those items that are relevant to the targeted new job.


An entree into employment. Your resume is your ambassador. It goes before you, introducing you to prospective employers and giving them a good first impression of you and your abilities. Highlighting your competencies by using keywords and metrics, formatting your content for an automated reviewer, and remembering to be employer focused can help push your resume to the top of the stack. Writing an effective resume can be challenging and time consuming. It requires research, editing, proofing by another reader, and rewrites. However, all that work can pay off-generating a prospective employer's interest and resulting in that sought-after in-person job interview.




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