How to write your Nursing Resume to secure your dream nursing job!

So you have spotted your dream nursing role, in a dream location with awesome perks and now the daunting task of updating your Resume begins… I feel you, It’s time consuming and where do you start! HELP I hear you shout! There is so much resting on your ability to stand out from the growing pile of applicants and you don’t know where to start to smash out an awesome Nurse Resume.

Well my friend, you have come to the right place! Over the years I have helped many nurses and midwives secure their next health role via my “Resus Your Resume” coaching package with awesome success! Although my package covers ALL components of the application process, I wanted to dive deep into the first component of your application – your Nursing Resume – lets begin! 

  1. Keep your Resume to 3-4 pages maximum

Did you know that Elon Musk’s Resume (Tesla Founder and all round Billionaire) is exactly one page long? You read that correctly – one page! Yes, I know this might seem a little restrictive and we may not have a global corporation background to support such a stance, I do believe we can learn from his ability to be succinct and tailor our application accordingly.  Evidence suggests that your Resume will have around 1 minute to impress the reader upon selection. Seriously, the one page approach is already a bit more appealing! 

I would strongly suggest using the following tips to maintain on 3-4 pages maximum: 

  • Use narrow page margins, 
  • Use smaller font size (within reason), 
  • Optimise your header and footer space usage, 
  • Remove any wasted space, 
  • Consider using a table (with borders removed) for your 2-3 professional references to optimise space. 
  1. Connect with a Resume Coach instead of a Resume writer.

Both will provide you with your final outcome, a polished resume and I can appreciate there will be times where one may be preferred over the other,  but there are significant differences to be noted in what services are provided overall. 

I’ve done the research so you don’t have to – you’re welcome! 

Resume Writing Services

Such services are typically provided by larger HR agencies who “specialise in writing resumes on a daily basis. They usually charge significantly more for a finished product and it is a transactional experience. You secure their services, you tell them about yourself, they create a resume and send it back to you. Contractual agreement finished. Positives are that you will have a polished resume. Negatives are that it may have cost your hundreds of dollars for your Resume, Cover Letters or Selection criteria usually cost more and you may find the finished product doesn’t have that “healthcare/Nursing” focus you were looking for. 

Nurse Resume Coaching 

Of course you think I am biased and I am to an extent, however I have experience of delivering both services and I can tell you that Coaching is so much better. Here’s why. Coaching involves a comprehensive review of your CV, CL and SC (for the inclusive price), plus a 1:1 60 minute coaching session where I discuss my changes and provide rationale to support, plus I tailor your Resume, Cover Letter and Selection Criteria to match not only the position description but the job advert also. By collaborating with each other, my aim is to intentionally equip you with the skills, knowledge and tools to be able to “Resus Your Resume”  for all future applications at zero cost. Then I leave you to make the changes suggested to ensure your resume is a representation of who you are at all times and I provide ongoing support, reviews and feedback until we are happy with our final products. As nurses most of us learn by doing and that is what coaching encourages, you learn by collaborating with me and then putting in the work – I can tell you the reward is so much more satisfying!

Need a little more convincing about coaching? Check out my blog discussing the “power of coaching” – I promise you it is a game changer.

  1. Target your Resume content for a  nurse reader, not a HR team member. 

A common misconception is that your nursing Resume is reviewed  by a member of the Human Resources team sitting in an office somewhere away from the clinical world of nursing. Well, that is not the case. Nurse Managers, Directors of Nursing and nurse educators are actually the ones who read your resume. So why is this important? It’s very important, let me tell you why. If your resume is not “nursing/healthcare” focused as it has been developed by someone who may have limited knowledge of nursing or is simply not a nurse, it may not resonate with the nurses reviewing it, leading to no callbacks. Big Problem and this is common.  It is vitally important to ensure you weave throughout your resume nursing terms and phrases, the organisation’s vision, values and mission as well as the words used in the position description so that it speaks to your reader, who is a nurse. 

  1. Present your best accomplishments not your previous position descriptions.

On many occasions I have reviewed applications whereby each role outlines what I deem to be the “expectation” of the role better known as the position description. This is something you must avoid. For example: 

Registered Nurse  – Medical Ward 

  • Provided nursing care to patients in accordance with the organisational policies. 
  • Administered medications to patients with complex polypharmacy requirements. 

Instead consider something such as; 

Registered Nurse -Medical Ward

  • Delivered exceptional nursing care to patients presenting with complex acute medical conditions such as; Congestive Cardiac Failure, Community Acquired Pneumonia and Diabetic Ketoacidosis utilising internal policies and procedures to guide my practice. 
  • Developed competence in managing complex polypharmacy in an acute medical setting, partnering with the consumer and their families to promote positive health outcomes. 

Were you able to spot the main difference between the two? The first is simply a list of previous ‘job expectations” – avoid this at all costs. The second considers the national standards, it is more specific and less broad. It also is tailored to the position description by using keywords taken from the job advert. As you grow in your career naturally these accomplishments become easier to write as you have a broader experience base to draw upon. My Resus Your Resume coaching package comes with two handbooks (Resus Your Resume and Interview Prep) to support and consolidate your coaching – your welcome!!

  1. Seek honest and impartial advice from an independent reviewer.

Although working with a coach provides you with honest, timely and ongoing impartial advice it is good practice to have a new set of eyes review your work at the final stage prior to submitting. This could be a spouse of a nurse friend who can ensure your application is ready to submit. My top tip would be to be open to any feedback provided and to work with your coach to incorporate all feedback to ensure a well rounded application is submitted. 

So you hopefully are feeling a little more ready to secure that dream role! 

Having sat on both sides of the job application process on numerous occasions I have a lot of additional insights and experiences to help you secure your next nursing or midwifery role that I would love to share! I hope the above tips are useful and help you to kick start your new job application. If you would like to discuss exploring my “Resus your Resume” package I would love to be of assistance to help you land your next role. Please check out my services here or alternatively book in a time to have a chat with me! 

Check out some of my “Resus Your Resume” Nurse testimonials here!

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Yours in nursing, 



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