A resume can open doors or it can close them shut. The goal is to peak an employer's interest enough to win a face-to-face interview. Concerned that your work experience isn't traditional enough, that perhaps it requires a little explanation? Here are 7 tried and true ways to get yourself noticed on paper!
1. Pick The Best Type of Resume For You
Chronological Resume (click here for example)
The standard resume format. This document begins with an objective that demonstrates your goals are highly compatible with the position for which you're applying. Next comes a list of recent employers starting with the most recent or current. Also included are related accomplishments, educational information, certifications and special skills.
Functional Resumes (click here for example)
This document highlights demonstrated skills and aptitudes. It is useful for minimizing work history gaps or as an aid to making a career transition. This format allows the prospective employer to clearly see how well you can serve their organization’s needs.
2. State Your Accomplishments (click here for example)
Relate your successes in a problem-action-result format to emphasize the most important qualities you bring to the table. List examples of how you managed challenges in your career, explaining the actions taken (emphasize whether they were independent or team decision). Provide the outcome of your efforts in quantifiable terms: percentages, cost savings, numbers or before-and-after comparisons.
3. Do not Load Your Resume with Industry-Specific Initials
Your resume may pass through several hands, not all of whom may be familiar with nursing or your particular medical specialty. When referring to things such as a hospital unit, a certificate or an association, spell out the term the first time it’s used, followed by the abbreviation in parentheses; for example: Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). After that initial definition, you’re free to simplify future references by using just the abbreviation.
4. Show Diversity of Experience On Your Resume
Many jobs embrace more than a particular specialty. You’ve probably exercised accounting, administrative or other skills in your current or past positions. Tell your prospective employer about it! Include experiences such as creating budgets or schedules, supervisory or charge responsibilities. Mention committee work or special projects that resulted in cost-cutting or downsizing. List quality management activities as well as interdisciplinary committees in which you participated. Include teaching or training, including acting as a preceptor to new hires, working with students and giving an in-service presentation. Such diversity will make you stand out as a flexible, well-rounded, capable asset to any organization.
5. Agency Work and Travel Nursing
Summarize in a sentence or two rather than listing every facility where you've worked. This will show consistency of work rather than making you appear unstable.
6. Continuing Education Courses
Remember, a resume is a summary of your work experience. In order to keep it brief, mention any continuing education programs completed by simply stating "Continuing education specifics provided upon request" if you wish to reference them.
7. Use Catch Words and Phrases!
Fill your resume with action words to emphasize your role as achiever and contributor to your organization's success. Include words like developed, revitalized, organized, initiated, negotiated, enhanced, completed, produced, expanded, succeeded, improved, implemented, accomplished, surpassed, utilized, global perspective, or effectiveness. Utilize resume building resources in print or online to capture keywords that make employers take notice. Update your resume with them regularly!