Nursing Resume Tips: 5 Ways to Get Noticed

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Landing a nursing position requires more than a nursing education. You will also need a resume that sets you apart from the rest. Nursing resume tips, such as highlighting your experience and skills and incorporating keywords, can help your resume get past ATS screening and into the hiring manager’s hands.

close up of person looking at resumes

A compelling nursing resume is essential in today’s competitive job market, where standing out is crucial. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or just starting your nursing career, knowing how to make your nursing resume shine can make all the difference.

At Averett University, our Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program provides you with the technical and soft skills you need to succeed in your nursing career in as few as 16 months. With a solid nursing education and a polished and professional resume, you can confidently apply to the most in-demand registered nurse (RN) jobs.

Let’s explore five effective strategies to highlight your experience and skills on your nursing student resume to grab the attention of recruiters and land you that dream job.

1. Highlight Your Clinical Experience

Building your nursing student resume might seem challenging when you don’t yet have RN skills for resumes or even a nursing license. However, the skills you learn before and during your nursing school education offer valuable insight into your abilities. Knowing how to highlight these aspects is one of the more essential skills for nursing resumes.

Tailor Experience for Each Submission

Averett ABSN student standing outside with backpack

Using knowledge from your nursing clinical experience on your nursing resume can highlight the nursing settings you are most comfortable with. Be specific about the most important skills for each job you apply for.

For example, if you are applying for a job in a medical/surgical unit, mention your experience with wound care, dressing changes and promoting early mobilization for orthopedic surgery patients.

If you are applying for a job in a pediatrics unit, consider mentioning the nanny jobs you held while in nursing school to highlight your comfort with caring for kids and your dedicated work ethic, which are relevant nursing resume skills.

Use Action Verbs to Showcase Duties and Accomplishments

Actions speak louder than words and so do action verbs. Action verbs enhance the skill you perform. For example, if you helped advocate for patients, state advocated for bilingual patient education materials on your resume. When listing your experience, use action verbs to describe the skill.

Previous Job Experience

If you’ve worked in healthcare before becoming a nurse, include all your healthcare experience. If you were a unit secretary or part of the housekeeping team, include that experience in your resume. Similarly, if you have experience as a nurse aide and are now studying to be a nurse, don’t discount the valuable experience you bring.

nurses walking together in hallway

You can take many pathways to become a nurse. If you are a CNA — or wish to start your nursing career as one — read more to learn how to transfer from CNA to RN.

2. Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is computer software that sorts and tracks qualified job applicants based on pre-selected criteria or keywords. Nearly every major company uses it in their hiring process.

Creating a nursing resume that effectively addresses ATS screening while showcasing your skills and experience requires attention to specific details and formatting. Here are some tips to make your resume stand out:

  • Use keywords: Tailor your resume to include keywords and phrases specific to the nursing field and the job description you’re applying for. For example, use terms like “patient care,” “clinical skills,” and “medication administration.”
  • Review formatting: Use a simple layout with standard fonts and bullet points for easy readability. Avoid using images, charts or tables, as ATS may not parse them correctly.
  • Proper file format: Save your resume in a compatible format such as .docx or .pdf to ensure compatibility with ATS systems.
  • Use customization: Customize your resume for each job application to match the job requirements and increase your chances of passing through ATS screening.

By following these guidelines and customizing your resume accordingly, you can increase your chances of getting your resume to the top of the ATS systems and landing your desired nursing position.

3. List Your Essential Credentials

Averett ABSN student standing outside

It may seem like random alphabet soup behind every nurse’s name, but there is a right and a wrong way to list your nursing and professional credentials on a resume. To simplify things, the American Nurses Association created a Position Statement.

After your first and last name, list the acronyms for your degrees and credentials, from highest to lowest. For example, Marcus Nurse has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), is a registered nurse in Virginia, and is certified in critical care. The proper way to print it on a resume would be:

Marcus Nurse, BSN, RN, CCRN

For nurses with advanced nursing degrees, such as nurse practitioners, who are board-certified in their specialty, you may also see -BC after the highest degree.

Becoming a nurse practitioner is one of the ways nurses can advance their careers. Read more to learn how to become a nurse practitioner.

nurse putting her hand on patient's shoulder

4. Showcase Soft Skills and Technical Abilities

When narrowing down nursing skills for resume building, remember to include both your technical and non-technical soft nursing skills.

Soft skills you can add to your resume include:

  • Communication: Effective communication in nursing is essential for interacting with patients, families and colleagues. Nurses must convey information, listen attentively and empathize with patients’ concerns.
  • Empathy: Nursing requires a high level of empathy to understand patients’ emotions and provide compassionate care. Empathetic nurses can connect with patients more deeply, fostering trust and improving outcomes.
  • Teamwork: Nursing is often a collaborative profession, requiring teamwork and cooperation with other healthcare professionals. Nurses must work effectively in multidisciplinary teams to deliver comprehensive care and support each other in challenging situations.

You should also include technical skills on your resume, such as:

  • Clinical procedures: Proficiency in clinical procedures, such as medication administration, wound care, IV therapy and assessments, is crucial for nurses. Employers look for candidates who can perform these tasks accurately and safely.
  • Medical technology: Nurses should be proficient in operating medical equipment and technology relevant to their specialty. This may include monitoring devices, ventilators, electronic health record (EHR) systems and diagnostic equipment.
  • Critical thinking: Nursing requires strong critical thinking skills to assess complex situations, analyze data and make sound clinical judgments. Nurses must be able to prioritize patient needs, anticipate potential complications and adapt their care plans accordingly.
ABSN student using stethoscope

5. Proofread and Review Your Nursing Resume

The final proofreading is the last and most important step in building your nursing resume. It would be more than a little embarrassing if you spelled your name wrong. After proofreading on your own, ask a friend or classmate to proofread it.

Aside from checking your spelling, here are the other nursing resume tips to review:

  • Grammar: Reading your nursing resume aloud helps ensure the tenses and nouns agree and the sentences flow well.
  • Professional tone: Your resume should always use professional language and avoid slang or abbreviations.
  • Format consistency: To make your resume easy to read, use simple and straight indentations and bulleted points.

Showcase Your Experience as a Stand-Out Nursing Candidate

By implementing these five nursing resume tips into your job preparation, you can increase your chances of getting noticed and securing the nursing position of your dreams. A well-written resume showcases your valuable nursing skills and clinical experience in the best light.

However, you need a strong nursing education before applying to nursing positions. Through Averett’s ABSN, you gain the skills and knowledge to take the licensure examination confidently and earn your nursing license.

Through a combination of online coursework, hands-on simulation labs and clinical rotations, Averett provides you with the groundwork needed for a successful nursing career. Contact us today to take the first steps toward earning your BSN and launching your career.