In a highly competitive field like nursing, it can seem difficult to stand out when applying for jobs. In most cases, the first exposure that an employer will have to you is through your resume. The strength of your resume will often determine whether or not you are called in for an interview, so it is extremely important to make sure that you write a resume that will not only catch the employer’s eye, but also clearly convey your strengths and qualifications. A well-written resume will help to ensure that you don’t miss out on any job opportunities that you’re qualified for. The following is a list of tips to keep in mind while writing your resume:
- Format your resume effectively – This is one of the most important steps to writing as resume, as it determines how easy it is for an employer to quickly scan your resume and find the information that he or she is looking for. If an employer can’t quickly find the information that he or she wants to know, it’s likely that he or she will just move on to the next applicant’s resume. Your goal when writing a resume should be to make it easy as possible to see why the company should call you in for an interview.
Another key aspect of resume formatting is making sure that all of your contact information is displayed clearly at the top of the resume. Include your address, phone number (home and cell if you have both), and email address to make it as simple as possible for the employer to call you about a job opportunity.
Many companies use software to narrow down their list of applicants before it ever can be seen by a human, so it is now more important than ever to optimize your resume for technology. To give your resume the best chance of being selected by application tracking systems:
- Use words from the job description of the job you’re applying for in your resume. This will let the software know that you may be qualified for the job.
- Only use web-standard fonts like Arial, Georgia, Impact, Courier, Lucinda, Tahoma or Trebuchet.
- Don’t use special characters such as arrows. Bullet points are acceptable.
- Make sure that your resume does not have any spelling errors.
- Be specific about your accomplishments – When writing a resume, it’s important not to be too general when listing your accomplishments or responsibilities at your previous jobs. If possible, quantify your achievements. For example, instead of writing “Administered medication to patients”, you could write “Administered medication to 12 patients every hour”. This gives the employer a much clearer understanding of how efficient and effective you were at your old job than just listing what was required of you by your previous employers.
- Use short sentences without first person pronouns – You only have one page to fit in all of the information that you want to share with you employer, so keep it short. Sentences fragments are generally more effective than full sentences on a resume since they are short, easy to read, and get the point across quickly. By leaving off the first person pronoun “I”, you are able to create short statements that don’t lose their meaning (the “I” is implied since the entire resume is about you). For example instead of saying “I observed patient behavior, and then I recorded it,” you should say “Observed and record patient behavior.” This conveys the same exact information but also leaves you more space for other information about yourself.
- Add a custom objective statement – Write an objective statement tailored specifically for the job that you are trying to get. Your objective statement should detail just that, your objective. Mention the job that you want to get at that company and what you hope to do with that job once you have it. Be specific and convey confidence in your ability to succeed at the job.
- Vary your language – Your resume is only one page long, so make sure that you aren’t starting your sentences with the same words or using the same phrases over and over. If you do, it will be very noticeable to the reader and may signal a lack of effort or writing ability. When listing your accomplishments and job responsibilities from past jobs, make it interesting by starting each of your phrases with a different verb. This will also show a careful attention to detail, a trait that many employers look for in nurses.
- Write a cover letter – A cover letter enables the employer to get to know you as a person and not just a list of facts on a resume. In your cover letter, you can explain to the employer in greater detail why you feel that you’re qualified for the job and why you want to get the job that you’re applying for. Make sure that you don’t just repeat what’s on your resume, since your cover letter will be attached to it. Be sure to include your contact information on your cover letter and thank the person for their time.