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How to Write a Nursing Resume


Tanya Freedman, CEO of Connetics USA:  Keith, I know that you have a graphic, a slide where you kind of like sum up the guidelines. Can you walk us through this summary and for everybody who's watching, give them kind of an overall takeaway of what to include?

Keith Carlson, BSN, RN, NC-BC, Nurse career coach: Sure. There are some things I'll add, Tanya, that we didn't include here.

Contact information is important. Like we said earlier, name, phone number, email address, and also the city and province or state where you live so that they have an understanding of where you're coming from, email address.

I actually also like to include a professional summary, oftentimes a resume starts with experience or possibly with education but I think a short paragraph or two summarizing who you are and what differentiates you from other candidates, what makes you special. I think that's really important and sometimes we'll include a highlighted skills section, and this will be a section with bullet points of what the specific skills are that you have that are really related to the position for which you're applying and I want to emphasize that your resume should reflect the skills and experience you have pertaining to the position to which you're applying. You really want to be very targeted in your resume, look for what they're looking for, and then use the resume as that particular facility and unit is looking for. So the highlighted skills might be that you understand how to use PICC lines or midlines and ventilators, et cetera. Your professional experience is what everyone's been talking about. It's a list of where you've worked, how long you've worked there, and some descriptions of the facility. Like we said, how many beds, what type of facility is an academic teaching facility? Is it a research facility? Is it a level one trauma center, et cetera. Employers like to hear about that and know the details of where you've worked. Licenses and certifications are pretty self-explanatory.

They'd like to know any certifications you have. So I know sometimes nurses are a little shy about what we say here in the US, which is Tooting your own Horn or really, quote, unquote bragging about yourself. But it's not really bragging when it's true. So if you can list the certifications or awards or special things you've accomplished, that says a lot about who you are and community service and volunteerism really show a more well-rounded view of who you are, and especially if you've done community service or volunteerism related to health care or nursing or medicine in some particular way and honors and awards, if applicable. Those are things that can make you stand out. You've been chosen as nurse of the year, or you've received an award from your unit, etc. These are also ways to make you look different than other candidates. It differentiates you.

Something you DON'T want to include is everything that's been mentioned already age, weight, religion, et cetera. Also, your hobbies people will sometimes include their hobbies. It's not something I recommend including on your resume and also an objective statement. It's been very common for many years to use an objective which is seeking employment on a MedSurg unit where I can learn new skills and work as part of a multidisciplinary team. That's kind of understood and I like the professional summary instead which talks about your hard skills which we call the skills you do with your hands. Those task-based skills like using an event or dealing with tricks and what we call here in the US soft skills, your skills in communication, collaboration, emotional intelligence. Those also can differentiate you and show that you really understand how to communicate and be part of a team and create really strong effective nurse-patient relationships. So there's much more but those are some of the most important basics.


Okay great. Keith thank you so much for summarizing that because I think it kind of puts it into one nice summary and overall guideline of how to actually go about putting together the resume.



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