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A Review of the Nurse / Nursing Resume Format

Having a winning nursing resume is something that you can achieve if you know how to properly express your health care goals and experience in your resume. In order to create a resume that will help get you through the door of success, you will need to know all of the necessary components that are standard for a nursing resume.

To being begin with, your nursing resume should not exceed the length of two pages, and if it is possible you should try to limit it to one page. However, if you require the use of two pages, make sure that your name along with the page number is placed at the top of the second page. Keep in mind that the entire objective of your nursing resume is to present the most relevant and detailed information displayed in a uniform and concise manner that is interesting and easy to read – therefore the shorter the better.

Your do not need to include every detail of your nursing career on your resume. Know the position you wish to apply for, and include all of the expertise, experience, training and skills you have acquired that apply to, or would benefit this position. If you have particular skills that you would like to emphasize, you can create different headings that stress this expertise.

Content Tips for a Nursing Resume

The vast majority of nursing resumes are all formatted in a similar style with the exception of a few minor personal preferences. The following is the basic layout of the components used in nursing resumes:

Caption/ Contact Information – This is mandatory to any resume regardless of its style, and is placed at the top of your resume. It includes your full name, complete address, telephone number including the area code (where they can be easily reached), and email address (which is optional, but should be checked frequently if included).

Objective – This is the second component to a nursing resume, and it should be no more than 1 – 2 sentences in length, never contain the statements “I”, “me” or “my”, and should be concise and clear, while expressing the skills or goals related towards the position that is being applied for. An example of a clear objective is: “Pediatric nursing position, with the prospect for research "

Profile / Qualifications Summary - A profile or qualifications summary is sometimes used instead of an objective. It is sometimes present in the cover letter, or replaces the objective. A profile gives concise details of individual skills that are relevant to the position being applied for. It can either be listed statements, or a short thorough paragraph.

Education – In this third section of your resume the only information that really matters is including the school(s) where you received your nursing degree (or are currently attending to receive or upgrade your degree). You can add other education if you wish, but mentioning your receiving your high school diploma is meaningless and redundant information. Make sure that you give the name of the institution, your program of study and the year you received your degree. In this section you can also mention any special projects, scholarships, programs or training you experienced if it has relation to the position you are applying for. In addition you will want to make sure that you place your education list in reversed chronological order, beginning with the last years of education first.

Professional / Work experiences - When you list your professional work experiences you can do this in either one or two resume styles. If you are applying for your first nursing job, are applying for a specific position or a new position that is unlike other jobs you have experienced, you may want to write a functional or skill-based resume. This style of nursing resume is set-up so that you base your experiences around the various tasks you’ve performed and the skills you’ve acquired from these functions, and also includes the dates of your experience listing them from most recent to last. The chronological resume, on the other hand, is the most popular resume style, as it is more uniform, making it easier to read. The chronological resume lists in reversed chronological order the dates of your experiences, and can include a brief description of your responsibilities, skills and tasks that were a part of the experience. Regardless of which resume style you select, each should include dates, the title of your job position, the name of the organization and location.

Awards / Honors /Certifications - You can either place this resume component here, or you can choose to make it apart of your education section. You will want to list the dates you received your special honors or awards, as well as the titles that apply to each. List the ones that are most relevant to the position you are applying for first. As for your certifications, you do not need to list your license numbers. Simply state the certification title – “Registered Nurse” – and where you received and applied the certification – “New York”. In addition, use only the certifications that apply to the position you are applying for. Anything else is irrelevant.

Additional Information – You can include this if you have any further information such as relevant volunteer experience, or other skills (computer skills) that could benefit the organization or your position.

Other Helpful Nursing Resume Hints

When you write your nursing resume you will want to pay close attention to the words you use to describe your skills and experience. You will want to try to refrain from using the terms “I”, “my” or “me”, and stick to using what are known as resume action words. These action words or power verbs are concise words that sound confident, and may include:


These are just some of the many words that you could use to describe the skills, expertise and experiences you are defining in your nursing resume.

Once you have completed your resume have someone review and proofread it before handing it in. There is no excuse for grammatical errors. Make sure that you are consistent and concise throughout the entire resume, and hand in the resume on clean quality paper that is void of any designs or photos – keep it professional.
Above all, be honest about the information you include in your resume. If you land a job interview, the employer will most likely have your resume on hand, and will expect that you will be able to answer any of the questions he or she asks about the information you have given. Have confidence in your abilities by believing in your skills and use them to your strength; don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, because you won’t get the job.

About the Author:
Julie Campbell, owner of JBC Online E-Publishing writing services (www.jbconlineepublishing.com) is an experienced, professional writer, editor, and translator (English/French) who provides quality information about writing resumes, as well as resume formats, and resume services to assist in editing those already written for polish and flair.

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