Whenever we’re asked, “How do I find the perfect role?” or “What’s the golden ticket into the facility of my dreams in XYZ city?”—we always answer the same way: resume, resume, resume. That’s because the successful positioning of your unique skills and background is a primary driver in how facilities see you. Some staffing professionals make rapid decisions when they review a resume—while others like to dive deep into experience and knowledge. So, building a thoughtful, cohesive resume makes all the difference.
Here are some of the Do’s, Don’ts, and everything in between when considering how you show up on paper.
Why does my resume even matter?
Good question! Think of your resume as a first impression—the first thing a facility will see about you. Therefore, it’s important that you are putting your best foot forward.
Our expert team has worked with thousands of healthcare professionals and their resumes. Submit yours today for an initial review and suggestions to improve your chances of getting hired.
But can’t my recruiter just fix my resume for me?
Maybe. But no one knows your experience like you. Your recruiter may have to ask you several questions in order to produce an accurate resume that best reflects your strengths. Your recruiter is always there to provide any assistance you may need, should you have questions about your resume, but you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish on your own.
Additionally, you want to factor in speed. Say your recruiter spends 30 minutes updating your resume before they can submit you. In that time, 10 other nurses could be submitted to the position you had your eye on, ultimately costing you a position.
So what elements does my resume need to have?
1. Each facility you have worked at should be listed.
If you worked at an agency for 5 years, it’s not enough to list “Agency X.” Facilities you are submitting to need to see which facilities you worked at. Even if it’s 10 facilities, each one needs to be listed individually.
2. For every job listed, you should include months & years of employment.
It is not enough to only list years. With years of employment, you could have worked at a facility for 2 months or two years and we wouldn’t be able to tell.
If you tend to switch facilities frequently, we recommend updating your resume with each new contract. This way, when you need an updated resume you are not struggling to remember dates and other employment details.
3. For each position, your specialty should be clearly listed.
The person reviewing your resume should not have to dig to figure out your specialty. Specialty should be clearly listed with other key information such as job title, not below in the description of your duties.
4. Any jobs which were part-time or per diem should be listed as such.
Facilities considering you for a contract may see it as a red flag if you have overlapping dates of employment unless one or both jobs are listed as part-time or per diem. This also allows facilities to see which position was your primary one, which could factor into their decision.
5. Explain any gaps in your resume 3 months or longer.
You do not need to go into great detail, but facilities will inquire about these gaps so it is best to answer the question before they ask it.
6. Your resume must go back at least 7 years of the entire length of your healthcare career (whichever is shorter).
You want to show all of the wonderful experience you have!
7. Order your resume in a way that makes sense.
After your name and contact info, the first section should be your employment (unless you have chosen to include an objective statement.) Employment should be listed from most to least recent. Next goes your education (with months and dates of graduation). Lastly, if you include any special skills, certifications, etc., those can go at the end.
Failure to include any of these elements will likely cause facilities you are submitted to push back your application until these resume items are resolved. As we discussed, time is everything! Work with your recruiter to make sure your resume is right the first time, so you can be the first submitted to your top-choice job.
Now I understand what to include, but what shouldn’t I include?
1. Keep it brief.
We know what a L/D nurse does. No need to include a lengthy job description. Keep any description to things you did that went above & beyond typical duties for your specialty and highlight your strengths. It is also recommended to include which Electronic Medical Record (EMR) you used.
The same goes for any special skills or certifications. We know you have your BLS, so don’t list it. Only include exceptional skills and certifications. If you choose to list certifications, ensure they are not expired.
In most circumstances, you can skip that objective statement as well.
2. Spelling & grammatical errors.
Ensure you proofread your resume and correct any mistakes.
We submit your references to facilities in a separate document. No need to include “References available upon request” because if we’ve gotten to the point of submitting you, we have already collected references.
4. Salary details
Just don’t do it!
Your Recruiter will work with you to build the best pay package possible; based on the facility, level of experience, and your individual drivers (such as bonuses, health insurance, or paid time off packages)
At the end of the day, your recruiter is always there and happy to assist with any and all of your needs, including resume help. Never be afraid to reach out with questions, concerns, or just to say, “Hi!”
Happy resume writing!