By ANA Career Center Staff – February
As you move through your nursing career, you’ll find your experience makes
you more valuable as a job candidate. But what’s the best way to summarize and
showcase all that experience for prospective employers?
You’ll need to make changes to your résumé as your nursing career matures to
ensure prospective employers see you as a valuable candidate. Consider these
five tips for doing just that.
Organize Your Experiences
Be sure your résumé contains a representation of your top three nursing
responsibilities and a summary of your job description, says Jeremy Enck, vice
president of sales at Fortus
Organize your résumé so it shows the increasing responsibility you’ve been
given throughout your career, especially if you’re looking for a leadership
position. “As a nurse progresses throughout their career, you should be able to
see the level of responsibility increase correspondingly,” Enck says.
As you craft your résumé, focus on illustrating and quantifying the results
you achieved, says health care consultant Connie
Curran, chairwoman of DeVry Inc.’s board of directors. “Instead of saying
something like ‘responsible for the care of critically ill patients,’ focus on
specific actions. For instance: ‘Lead the care of six critically ill patients
and supervised six employees.’”
Show What You’ve Accomplished
List specific accomplishments you’ve achieved at each stage of advancement to
show how your career has matured. “It's important to demonstrate continued,
advanced skill development,” Curran says. “You want your résumé to demonstrate
five years of continued development, not one year repeated five times.”
To do that, identify times in your career that put you on a path to growth.
“An experienced RN should highlight two or three accomplishments that
contributed to their successful career growth, citing some specifics, such as
increasing patient satisfaction or significantly reducing employee turnover,”
If you’ve been in the workforce for several years, you’ve likely changed jobs
at least once. Reasons can vary — a move, switching specialties or simply
looking for new opportunities.
“Even in positions with similar titles, there should be clearly conveyed
reasoning why you changed jobs,” Enck says. “Something as simple as an increase
in the number of direct reports, or the size of the budgetary responsibilities
shows that a candidate is always accepting of challenges, and looking for
growth.” Highlighting this in your résumé can clearly illustrate how your career
has matured over time.
List Your Credentials
Include any training, certification or continuing education you’ve received
over the course of your career to make yourself more valuable as a candidate.
“Proof of continuing education is also very sought after in experienced RNs,”
Enck says. “Showing the ability and desire to learn new techniques, as well as
the ability to train and precept new employees, is highly sought after.”
Whether you’re actively looking for a new job or not, it’s important to keep
your résumé fresh, just in case. “You might consider your résumé to be your
personal annual report,” Curran says. “It's a document that should be
continually updated as you move forward in your career. Each year, look back and
identify the things that you did over the past year that reflect personal and
professional development. Make a commitment to revise your résumé annually and
tailor these updates to the type of position you are looking for.”
You also want to ensure any reference or contact information on your résumé
is up-to-date. As your career matures and you work in positions with more
responsibilities, you’ll likely be able to add more high-placed references to
If your dream job becomes available, you’ll want to be ready to go after it.
If you’re happy in the position you have but like to keep your options open, a
passive job search can be useful. In any case, it’s important to have an updated
résumé that reflects your extensive experience and strong career history.