Guidelines on Creating Nursing Resumes

A well written nursing resume is the key to success for Nurses in finding work that rewards them appropriately. And yet, I find that many resumes for nurses do not include basic information.

A recent survey of the resumes of 16 Nurses identified a number of issues with these resumes. The concerns were:
• Use of Pre-prepared Templates – Most of the resumes surveyed used a template. This type of structure is commonly in use. The use of such templates makes all candidates’ resumes similar. The effect is that all such resumes look similar, fail to convey all skills of a candidate and therefore fail to impress the reader. The reader is left to either read such boring resumes or to discard them.
• Career Goals – All resumes looked at during this survey commenced with a career goal. Some comments in resumes in this area are very common to all resumes. An example is “To expand my knowledge, clinical skills and obtain sound practical experience”. Where an experienced candidate is applying for a nursing role which requires the candidate to have the relevant skills, this type of career goal acts against the candidate. Furthermore specifying career objectives is a better alternative. Most organisations are looking for a candidate that wants to work for them and a clear career goal is helpful.
• Skills and Competencies – In most resumes, this is not clearly defined. When one reads a resume, they have to search for the skills a candidate has. No one has the time to read through a full resume to then identify the skills a candidate has relevant to a role.
• Clinical Placements – The survey found that many candidates include Clinical placement but provide very little detail. Details of where the placement was and what the placement covered are not included. This provides limited information. Where candidates have been rotated between areas for example, providing information on rotation provides a greater understanding of skills.
• Previous Experiences – In many cases, previous experiences recorded have several issues. These include:
o Gaps in period of employment – I feel that one must have few gaps and explanation of gaps must be included.
o Name of an organisation without any explanation – Many organisations are named but there is no explanation as to the complexity of the organisation, the number of Hospital beds, and the type of organisation.
o The role of the candidate – This was often not included in the resumes reviewed as a part of this survey.
o List of Duties – All resumes included a list of all duties of a candidate. Key responsibilities had not been clearly defined and none of the resumes included any achievements of the candidate.

The above are but some of the issues identified through a survey of 16 resumes of Nurses who had applied for work. There obviously are a range of other issues.

To briefly guide nurses in the preparation of their resumes, it is important that some of all of these headings are included in their future resumes:

• Career Objectives
• Key Skills and competencies
• Key Strengths
• Educational Qualifications
• Accreditations and Registrations with Professional Bodies
• Work Experience which should include:
– Position Held
– Dates employed
– Name of organisation
– One sentence on the organisation
– Three dot points on key responsibilities.
– Key achievements

Follow this guideline and you will not go wrong in your resume. A resume prepared by a professional is always important as it covers several areas you have not covered to highlight you

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