10 Tips for Writing a New Grad Nursing Resume With No Experience

01/03/2018

10 Tips for Writing a New Grad Nursing Resume With No Experience

By Kelly Lanigan, RN, Contributor

One of the biggest challenges new graduate nurses face is the creation of a professional resume that successfully grabs the attention of potential employers. The process of crafting one may be particularly difficult for graduates who have limited work experience. 

So, the American Nursing Association suggests using a well-structured resume outline, as it will give you the advantage over others and serve as a compelling introduction. Effectively illustrating the knowledge and skills you can bring to an entry-level position will set you apart from your competition.

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10 New Grad Nursing Resume Tips

1. Structure your resume in an organized manner

Your resume serves as the first impression you offer to potential employers. Communication skills are key in the nursing profession, and your resume should highlight the ability to provide information in a clear and concise manner. Accurate spelling and grammar, along with consistent formatting throughout, is a must. If the resume is not easy to understand, you will quickly lose your reader.

2. Market yourself as a professional

While new nurses are often unable to place a heavy focus on previous work experience, there are easy steps to illustrate your professional credibility. Make sure you have an email address that represents you in a professional manner. And after successful completion of your state licensing exam, your nursing credentials should be included in your contact information and on all written communication with potential employers. 

3. Establish clear priorities

Have a targeted statement that clearly defines why you are the best person for the job. Employers want to hire nurses with values and skills that are congruent with the mission and needs of the organization. A brief introductory statement should set the tone of the document and clearly outline the expected outcome of your job search.

4. Choose the appropriate headings

New grad nursing resume examples are widely accessible, but efforts should be made to choose headings that accurately reflect your individualized strengths. Since you may have limited employment experience, headings, such as “Extracurricular Activities,” “Current Certifications,” and “Professional Affiliations” should be considered, as these items help establish you as a well-rounded candidate.  

5. Describe your training and education

Specific details about clinical rotations, including facility, department name, and dates, should be included, particularly if applying for employment at a facility where you previously trained. New nurse graduates should also include distinct characteristics of their training setting, such as trauma designation, magnet facility, or teaching hospital, as these organizations often expose nursing students to unique experiences not gained elsewhere.

6. Emphasize what you have learned

Resumes should include a skills summary that is specific to the role you’re applying for and distinct patient population. Experience with electronic medical record documentation systems, clinical assessment tools, or specialized medical equipment should also be mentioned.

7. Take credit for previous work experience

Previous work experience should be included on a new grad nursing resume even if the work was unrelated to the nursing profession. Nursing skills such as teamwork, time management, and a focus on customer service can be gained in almost any work setting. 

Dates worked should also be included, particularly for long-term employment. As healthcare organizations continue to struggle with high turnover, new graduate nurses who demonstrate commitment and endurance in previous work assignments will be particularly appealing.

8. Emphasize your unique skills and abilities

Include any unique skills and abilities that add value to your marketing position. Bilingualism, sign language skills, and unique technical abilities are all examples of highly coveted skill sets that are needed across the healthcare arena.

9. Highlight your accomplishments

Nursing-specific achievements should be celebrated on a new graduate resume. A high grade point average in nursing school, nursing scholarships, and participation in nursing honor societies are pertinent examples to include. These accomplishments reflect an ongoing commitment to your chosen profession and illustrate your capacity to serve as a high performer. 

10. Promote your values

Nursing is a service-driven profession built on compassion and empathy. Participation in volunteer programs should be included on a new grad nursing resume, as these activities support the nurturing and caring mission of the profession and exemplify a service attitude. The University of Arizona College of Nursing concludes that employers are increasingly interested in soft skills, including communication abilities and the capacity to relate to others.

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