There are few things harder than submitting a resume when you have no clue what the employer is looking for. Add to that problem, the person who screens resumes (or the computer program) is not necessarily looking for the same things as the person making the interviewing/hiring decisions. It starts to get complicated. So, down below you can download a sample resume for new grad nurses, edit it as you please, PROOFREAD, and submit. (Do not forget to proofread.)
Here are the 7 things to remember:
- Your resume is not meant to detail every aspect of your life – it is only a tool to secure an interview. Hobbies, “Objectives,” and anything that reaches beyond 10 years back (unless you’re a second-career nurse with an applicable first career) – those will all land your resume in the “slush” pile.
- Your name, credentials, and contact information must be easy to find. The average resume has 5-10 seconds to make an impact. Concentrate the important things at the top. Degree, credentials, contact info. The initial screener who decides if your resume will be forwarded on will likely not read the whole resume. Make sure he or she sees what’s most important right away. (Have you passed NCLEX? Gotten your state license? Graduated?)
- Length is important. More than a page is only necessary if you’re looking for an upper level management job, and you have extensive experience to back it up. Less than a page makes you look, well, slow. Challenged. You get the point. If you’ve included what you think is necessary and it’s only half a page, find ways to expand. Volunteer service, other languages spoken, EHR programs you know (EPIC? Cerner?)
- Truth is truth. Don’t stretch it. Need we say more? Yes, fact checking actually happens. Nominated to run for class president? Don’t say “Class President” unless the title was conferred on you. Sat in on a Student Nursing Board meeting once? Don’t mention membership or participation unless you were a named member. Got it?
- Read the ads for jobs you’re applying for. They’ll tell you (hopefully) what is most important to the employer. For new grads, it’s often customer service, teamwork, willingness to learn. Highlight those characteristics in your resume for best results. And feel free to edit your resume for different positions. If you’re a member of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses but the hospital you’re applying for doesn’t have OB or pediatrics, delete that membership from your resume. It makes you look like you’re trying to check off an experience box so you can move on to the hospital you really want to work at. Hospitals want candidates who are going to stick around.
- What you did before nursing counts, but only if you make it count. Think: customer service, prioritization, organizational skills, teamwork, analysis… Include other jobs you’ve had, but only if you can find a way to make them relevant. If you were a lifeguard & swim coach, focus on your identification of safety hazards, not the fact that you taught kids to swim. Think about what is most relevant to the employer, and use that.
- Proofread. Then proofread again. Is your phone number typed correctly? Are there any misspellings? Ask a friend, family member, neighbor to proof it for you. Your eyes will often skim over your own mistakes because you read what you expect to see. Let someone else (or many someone elses) take a look.
If you need some help getting started, here’s a download you can start with and work from. Use it as a template, edit it to make it fit your experience and situation. And yes, you really should have a cover letter as well, but that’s a subject to tackle another day.
Download here: –> Sample New Grad Nurse Resume