There's lots of advice for job-seeking older nurses who need a little help reshaping resumes and keeping up with the changing employment and recruiting market. A resume is often the first time a potential employer sees your name, so it has to stand out from the crowd.
But what about if you are a nurse just starting out? What if you recently graduated or if you're changing your specialty, how should your resume reflect all you can do without looking too inexperienced?
There are some excellent and simple ways to make your resume tell your professional story, even if you're at the very beginning of it.
Make It Perfect
Not to make you nervous, but if you're younger, any errors on your resume will make you look inexperienced and careless. Fair or not, a recruiter or HR representative might not want a nurse who has a spelling error on a resume because it shows a lack of attention to detail. As a younger nurse, your burden is to inspect every section of your resume critically and carefully. Make sure your dates are correct and in the right order, and make sure your capitalization is consistent. Don't abbreviate anything, and don't forget to include all your contact information.
Make It Relevant
You may not have a lot of experience to list, but think of what you do have that makes you an excellent candidate for this particular job. When you are starting out, you might want to tweak your resume for each position. It's time consuming and tedious, but it might just land you the job. Look for words in the job description and try to match some of your experience to those descriptions. Without looking too copycat, drop a few carefully placed words relating either to the skill set they need or the characteristics they seek. Remember, they want to know how you can help them, not how they can help you.
Make It Polished
Although most resumes are sent electronically, keep a few copies of yours printed on high-quality, heavy-stock paper so you can hand it to someone in person at a networking event, for example. Having a few ready shows you're prepared and makes you look more professional than saying, “I'll get that to you.”
Make It Real
No, you don't have 10 years of nursing experience, but you probably have other capabilities that an organization wants. Did you volunteer your nursing skills on a humanitarian trip or at a local camp? Did you spearhead a program as a new nurse or even at your college that will highlight your leadership, organizational skills, and commitment to nursing? Are you an active and participating member in a couple of professional organizations? All those skills and roles help an organization envision you as a productive member of their team. Show them how your skills will help their organization.
After some thoughtful assessment of your skills and experience, you can put together a resume that accurately reflects your nursing skills and your readiness to take on more responsibility.