Proven tips to make a professional nursing resume

Updated: Aug 16


7 Proven Nursing Resume Tips


In the words of Will Rogers“:” “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” The nursing job market is no exception to this. Healthcare facilities sift through dozens or even hundreds of applications, and many of these are discarded at first glance. Whether you are a seasoned RN or a young CNA, how you write your resume can make or break your application. With so much to account for, actually making your nursing resume can be daunting at the start. To get you started, we have 7 resume writing tips that nurses should consider, while working on their applications.


Do Your Research


You want to tailor your registered nurse resume to a facility’s sensibilities. Do thorough research on their corporate culture, core values and workplace priorities. You can find this explicitly on their website’s mission statement or implicitly in social media posts. Additionally, you also want to list skill sets and educational requirements that facilities are looking for. For example, an ICU nurse resume must include relevant skills such as treating wounds, advanced life support and more.


Highlight Your Achievements and Credentials


Listing your accomplishments on your nursing resume demonstrates your dedication and potential to hiring managers. Do not be afraid to list relevant honors, awards, professional affiliations and certifications. A CNA resume can list workplace achievements that will leave a strong impression. This can range from answering multiple calls in a day to ensuring patient safety while performing your nursing tasks. If you do volunteer work, listing this experience can highlight your charity and willingness to help your community.


Prepare A Master Copy


Writing a generic, base resume is a great way to save on time. This is not going to be the document that you send to companies. Bland, broad-strokes nurse resumes are all but guaranteed to fail. Rather, this gives you a starting point that lets you save on time. From this basic template, you can tweak and modify the contents around a company’s values and missions statement. You can add or remove strengths to line up with that hospital’s culture, or highlight specific qualifications required by the job opening.


Format Your Resume


The average recruiter spends six seconds looking at your registered nurse resume. They will not hesitate to discard your submission if it is cluttered or overly-verbose. To avoid this, registered nurse resumes must have good formatting and structure.


  • Font: Times New Roman and Arial are popular, but many clear fonts will suffice. For style, you can try complimentary font pairings. Serif or sans serif for the body, and the opposite for headings is a good example.

  • Font Sizes: Varying font size between sections is recommended. Anything below 10-11 is likely too small.

  • Name: 18-22

  • Contact information: 10-11

  • Section headers: 12-14

  • Descriptions 10-11.

  • Spacing: One space between each category is recommended. Borders can separate sections, while making the registered nurse resume less busy. As for margins, it is suggested for the top margin to be 1”, while the side margin sits at 0.63”.

  • Bullet points: For consistently and flow, bullet points should be used consistently in style. Whether you are listing your work history or additional employment, make sure the presentation is similar.


If you do not know where to start, you can refer to popular templates or nursing resume examples online.


Optimize for Keywords


In recent years, large hospitals and healthcare companies have begun using software to sift through the countless RN, LPN and CNA resumes they receive everyday. These programs find keywords related to open positions. To maximize opportunities, you want to find these keywords and incorporate them into your nurse resume. You can determine them by reviewing the job postings and isolating words and terms that appear more than once. Online resources can also help with finding and incorporating keywords copmetitively Resume Worded and JobScan are two such examples, and there are many more available to you.


Make It Short But Sweet


As mentioned above, employers spend little time reading through your registered nurse resume. Keep your submissions short, sweet and to the point. You want to make sure that you provide all the required information in a short, yet informative nursing resume. If possible, keep it in one page while maintaining clean and readable formatting.


Proofread and Edit to Perfection


Formatting and grammatical errors are the last thing you want on your nurse resume. If a recruiter spots these, your chances of employment will drastically go down. Be sure to take the time to review and edit your resume, until you are sure that it is perfect. If possible, having a friend double-check your work can also be a lifesaver.

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