In a competitive field such as nursing, your resume may be just one of hundreds that recruiters review in search of the ideal candidate. Even though you’re a recent grad, your resume should portray you as a competent, skilled professional who’s prepared for both the rewards and the challenges of caring for patients.
Create a section that describes all of your licenses, certifications and other credentials. Note your education first, including degree, date earned and school. If you had a high grade point average or graduated with honors, note that as well. For your nursing license, include the date earned and the state that issued it. List the information for each state if you’re licensed in multiple states. Also include any health care-related certifications. If you earned a certified nurse assistant license, include it even if you’re applying for an RN position, and list the date earned and issuing body. Include license numbers and expiration dates for all credentials.
Since you’re new to the nursing field, the clinical rotations you completed as part of your degree program serve as proof of your nursing experience. List them just as you would professional experience, starting with your most recent position and working backward. Note the unit you worked in, such as the emergency department, followed by the name of the facility and the city and state. Also, describe the types of patients you worked with. Don’t include any identifying information, but do note basic information such as gender, age and medical condition.
Include academic and professional memberships. For example, mention that you made the president’s honor roll or joined an honor society for nursing students. Or describe your experience participating in student government or professional associations for nurses or nursing students. Also include computer and technology skills, because nurses are frequently responsible for maintaining electronic patient records. Familiarity with basic computer principles is necessary at most facilities, as is proficiency in word processing programs, spreadsheets and medical software programs.
As a recent graduate, you likely have little full-time, professional nursing experience. Employers also consider experience in unrelated fields, however, because it demonstrates your work ethic and ambition. If you worked while attending nursing school, it also shows employers you have the discipline, time management and organizational skills to successfully balance two challenging roles. When describing jobs in other fields, focus on transferable skills. If you worked in retail or at a restaurant, you likely developed strong people, communication and customer service skills, talents you’ll need when working as part of a team of other health care professionals and when interacting with patients and their family members.