A few weeks ago I blogged about preparing for your first job as an RN by “building” your resume. Getting involved in the nursing profession while you’re a student (beyond your clinical experience) can make a huge difference in how you are perceived by potential employers. Employers look for candidates who are invested in their career. Joining professional nursing organizations, attending workshops and nurse related meetings and volunteering all send messages that you take your role seriously.
Now that you’ve built your resume, it’s time to write it. Follow these dos and don’ts to make sure your resume looks attractive to an employer:
Do – Keep all fonts the same style and size. Many people make the mistake of writing their name in say, Arial 18 yet the body of their resume is Times New Roman 12. If you’re using a header or footer, make sure the font is the same as the body of your paper. Trust me. If you’re inconsistent, an experienced recruiter will notice.
My recommendation is to use Times New Roman 12.
Do – Keep information in chronological order starting with most recent. I’m still surprised when I see a resume that jumps all over the place! Always start with the most recent, and then list education, experiences and activities in order.
Do – Use strong action verbs when describing skills, responsibilities or accomplishments and be consistent. For example:
· Use the verb “developed” instead of “helped”
· Use “initiated” instead of “got involved”
Do – Include your clinical experience as a student. However, as soon as you land your first job, your student clinical experience should drop off of your resume. Be brief and be sure to include any unique experiences. For example, if you spent time in the OR, with the Code Team or Interventional Radiology, please include.
Don’t – Include hobbies, non-health related activities (unless you were in a leader position), or the phrase, “references available upon request.” Ugh. Trust me. If they are interested in you and want references, they will ask.
Don’t – Make simple spelling errors. Read your resume out loud, read every word and don’t rely on spell check to find errors. I’ve seen resumes that include the word “weak” when the writer really meant the word “week.” Spell check won’t flag this because technically it is spelled correctly.
Don’t – Flip flop your writing style. If you have a list of skills in a bulleted list, be consistent. For example, if you’re including a list of skills from your job as a nursing assistant, avoid the following type of flip-flopping:
· Promoted (action verb) physical activity among orthopedic population (good)
· Collaborated (action verb) with nursing and physical therapy to ambulate patients (good)
· As a nursing assistant, (what???) I was responsible for checking glucose levels (Flip flopper!)
Don’t – Include any personal history (race, age, marital status, health, etc.)
It takes time to write a compelling resume. Don’t wait until you’ve applied for a job before you start working on your resume. If you need help, ask your instructor or the career-counseling center at your school.
Well, I hope these tips help you to land the job of your dreams! Good luck and thanks for choosing nursing as a career. You’re going to love it!
Take care and stay connected.
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