Career Development


Resume Writing Tips for Nurses

CONTACT INFORMATION: List clearly and visibly at the top of the resume your:

Name, Address, Phone Number/s (i.e. home, cell phone, fax), and Email address (optional)

Also, your name and the page number should be placed at the top of any additional pages.  A one page resume is appropriate for new grads with limited experience and can increase to two pages when your skills, qualifications, and experience become more extensive.

OBJECTIVE: Listing an objective is optional and can instead be incorporated in a cover letter.  If you do list one, keep it brief and customize it for each job you’re applying for. You may include all or parts of the following:

  • the position you’re seeking
  • your overall skills to perform the work
  • how you’ll be an asset to the organization

For example:
A position as a Clinical Coordinator in the Pediatric Special Care Unit at XYZ hospital where I can use my extensive experience in pediatric intensive care to improve the quality of patient care.
To secure a position as an RN where I can contribute my proven management and leadership skills as a young nursing professional, providing compassionate patient care.

EDUCATION, LICENSES, AND CERTIFICATIONS:  As a new graduate, your education is one of your greatest assets, so list this near the top and you can include:

Name of Degree/s, College/s Attended, Location and Date/s of Graduation
List GPA – If 3.2 or better
List any awards or honors
RN License – List what states you are licensed in and the dates of licensure
Certifications – List relevant certifications and dates certified, such as CPR, CNA, etc.
Educational Highlights (optional) – List research conducted, major papers written, or special projects related to your objective.

If you graduated more than 2 years ago and have worked as an RN, list experiences before education.

CLINICAL ROTATIONS and NURSING EXPERIENCE:  If you are a new RN graduate, prioritize your clinical experience by placing Clinical Rotations and any Nursing Related Experience (CNA, Nursing Home Aide, etc.) towards the beginning of the resume:

 Name of Health Care Facility (Hospital/Clinic/Private Practice)
 City, State, Dates of experience
 Type of rotation or position (pediatrics, obstetrics, med/surg, community health, etc.)

  • List major duties, responsibilities and/or populations served – type of tasks or activities engaged in such as “administered medications and feedings via gastrostomy tubes on a 30 bed floor of geriatric patients” or “prepared patients for phlebotomy” or “maintained strict adherence to safety regulations”
  • Mention significant knowledge gained or skill development, such as working with ventilators or learning tracheotomy suctioning techniques
  • Identify your accomplishments, achievements, and successes that set you apart from your competitors, being sure to place the most important ones first.  For instance, what did you initiate, design, or revamp? Were you recognized for special contributions…receive awards?  An example might be:  “Organized Health Fair, with much community involvement, and weekly health-related teaching sessions for children ages 5-10 at Anytown Recreation Center”

OTHER EXPERIENCE: If you are changing careers or have other kinds of work, volunteer, or practical experience that is not directly related to nursing, focus less on unrelated duties and responsibilities and more on your accomplishments in these positions.  Give potential employers a view of how your skills and knowledge are transferable to other environments.  For example, describe achievements which reveal:



Leadership Skills Information Gathering and Handling
Problem-solving Abilities Ability to Prioritize Multiple Tasks
Communication Skills Knowledge of Human and Group Behaviors
Interpersonal Skills Knowledge/Application of Science, Medicine, and Ethics
Data Recording and Reporting  Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills
Counseling or Instructing Teamwork and Collaboration Skills
Working well under stress  Assessment/Planning/Evaluation Skills

Remember, you are not required to list everything you’ve ever done, but rather focus on the highlights of your experiences.  You will make an impact on the employer if you describe what you learned, contributed, or accomplished in these positions.  Include:
Name of Organization, City, State, and Dates of Employment or Service
Title of Position

List achievement/accomplishment statements that highlight your transferable skills, for example:

Summer Associate/VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) – Boston, MA     2/2005 to 2/2006
• Researched several literacy assessment tools in order to select appropriate literacy experiences for 10th grade students considered to be at-risk.  Assessed impact of total summer school experience on these students and proposed program modifications accordingly. 
• Served as resource person for paraprofessionals and prepared resource materials for other tutors.

Customer Service Supervisor – Verizon Wireless, Nashua, NH     3/2005 to present
• Trained and managed 25 customer service staff
• Oversaw store operations to ensure customer satisfaction, operating efficiency, and compliance with corporate procedures.   


Qualifications Summary – Used at the beginning of the resume to condense an extensive work history or to highlight special or transferable skills that the employer is seeking.  Use brief keyword phrases to emphasize important qualifications.
Professional Memberships – List any professional organizations, such as The American Nurse’s Association, that you are a member of and include dates of membership and specific activities you have been involved in and/or leadership positions you have held within the organization.
Professional Development – List titles, dates, and location of workshops or conferences attended that support your job objective.
Other Skills – You can include a skills category outside the medical field if it can be used on the job, such as computer skills or a foreign language.

If you need help with refining the content, format, or visual presentation of your resume, please contact the Rivier University Career Development Center staff at: (603) 897-8345 or