Nursing school taught you everything a nursing student needs to become a professional healthcare provider, except the first step – writing your resume.
To help you secure your first nursing job, you need to create a compelling new graduate nurse resume that will highlight your training, skills, and potential in the healthcare industry. You need to ensure that all the information you include in your application is updated and relevant to the job you’re applying for.
That’s why we created a breakdown of a nursing resume example for newly licensed nursing students to help you write a new grad resume, get your file right on top of the applicant’s list, and kickstart your nursing career.
When writing nursing resumes, new grads should ensure that their content is concise, to the point, and relevant to the position they’re applying for.
Have attention to detail, look for keywords in the job search results, and include them in the resumes your send out.
Ensure that all the information in your resume, including your email address, professional social media profile, and telephone number, is updated.
If you don’t have any work history, you can use a resume objective section instead of a professional summary.
Focus only on relevant information, licenses, education, work experience, skills, and training in your resume.
You can use a template or a resume builder to get you started, but be sure to customize the content for the position you’re applying for.
Never lie about your work history, education, or in any other part of your nursing resumes or cover letter.
Don’t write your RN resume for yourself; instead, write it for the person who will make the hiring decision. As such, you should make each part concise, to the point, and relevant. Furthermore, it should be easy to read. The people who will consider your application are busy professionals. So if you make their job harder, they might skip over your file altogether.
Each specific heading should be clear – preferably marked in bold or other colors to stand out and make for easy skimming. Font style should be clean and simple: try to use a san serif font like Calibri with font sizes between 11 and 14. Also, keep the spacing at 1.15 to 1.5 so that it won’t look like a drug insert. Also, try to keep it on one page.
Your resume should be broken down into specific sections. This makes it easier to skim through and allow the respective personnel who will review your application to focus on relevant info. As a new grad nurse, the sections below are crucial for you.
This part should contain your name, professional designation, contact information, plus professional social profile. You don’t need to include any photo here, but if you want to, make sure that it’s a formal nursing student profile, not your usual social media pic.
Also, set your name as H1 or Title to make it stand out. Make sure all information here is updated, so you could be quickly reached via email or your phone number.
Here’s an excellent resume example for the header section:
Mary Jane Watson
Also, make sure that you have a professional email. An address like firstname.lastname@example.org might be a turn-off for some HR specialists, so it’s better just to use your name.
As you’re a new grad nurse with no work experience, a professional summary or resume objective would be more appropriate than a professional summary. In this section, you can focus on what you aim to achieve in your career. However, if you have relevant experience, you can bank on writing a professional summary instead.
Take a look at this professional objective resume example:
Required Licenses and Certifications
This is the most important of your resume if your applying for a licensed position. If you skip this, your file will immediately head to the out bin because this is a requirement for all nursing positions.
If the job further requires relevant certifications, like Critical Care, Emergency, or Pediatrics, be sure to list them down as well. You have to be careful that everything you listed in this section is updated, current, and valid.
Since all nursing degrees require clinical experience, you need to be smart about writing this section in your nurse resume. Always start with your most recent position. Be sure to include your job title, facility name and location, and the inclusive dates, as well.
You also need to write a short description of your role and at least three one-line bullet points detailing your relevant achievements. As much as you can, be specific with the information shared here. Always check the job description to customize your resume and make you the perfect fit for the position.
For example, if the job description requires a surgical department nurse with the following experience:
- working with imaging equipment;
- managing patient transfers; and,
- ensuring post-operative care.
Princeton-Plainsboro Training Hospital & Medical Center
Princeton, New York
June 2020 – March 2021
- Prepared patient document before transfer from pre-surgery to the surgery ward
- Ensured availability and operation of OR imaging machines
- Listed all post-operative doctor’s orders
- Updated patient data through the central database system
- Helped manage at least two operations daily throughout the training period
- Received a 99% evaluation from the head preceptor during surgical rotation
- Able to work independently on patient data management within a week duty
All the keywords detailed in the job opportunity are listed explicitly in the sample entry. This proves to the hiring manager that you are fit for the required position, thus giving your file a better chance of securing an interview over other applicants.
This section details your official school name, location, attendance dates, and degree earned. If you have exceptional grades and received honors, you should include them too. Again, relevancy is important, so only include relevant coursework in this section.
Relevant Skills & Related Certifications
If you have competencies not listed in the previous sections but are significant to the position, be sure to include them here, too. These can be hard skills like basic life support or soft skills like patient empathy.
You can include certifications not required by the hiring company, but are relevant to you as a registered nurse, like training on specific medical equipment or credentials on new patient care techniques here. When you are trained for relevant skills and positions, that could make you the default choice for the hiring manager.
This part would usually contain your volunteer experience, organizational affiliation, and more. Again, relevancy is key in every resume, so if it’s not related to your desired position, do not include it.
These are the other sections found in many resume examples that you could include in your nurse resume:
Source: US National Archives
- Volunteer experience. Relevant experience, including working as a volunteer in medical facilities, medical missions, or other health-related positions.
- Organizational affiliation. If you are a member of the Red Cross, American Nursing Association, or any student nurse group, this would be a good addition because they show your commitment to the career.
- Leadership positions. If you held a position of influence or management, don’t forget to include it. This can help your application by showing you have organizational, interpersonal, and teamwork skills.
- Languages. if you’re applying in a medical center located in a major urban area or near the country’s border, speaking relevant languages is definitely a good plus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do You Put on a Resume for a New Grad RN?
Besides writing down your name and professional summary or objectives, the most essential parts you should include in your resume as a registered nurse should be your nursing licenses and certifications, clinical training, relevant coursework & educational records, and relevant skills & certifications.
How Do You Write a Nursing Resume With No Experience?
If you don’t have working experience as a new grad nurse, your next best option is to focus on your license and certifications, clinical rotations, practical training, and preceptorship. You can highlight your performance in these positions – be sure to list down your responsibilities and achievements here.
How Do New Grad Nurses Stand Out?
The most crucial thing you need to do when sending your application is to customize your resume for every position you desire. That means ensuring that you get all the keywords in the job post of your prospective employer and include them in your resume.
Be specific in your details and only include relevant portions of your experience and training. If you have achievements, like outstanding grades, Latin honors, or even excellent clinical rotations, then be sure to include them!
Also, membership or leadership in nursing, medical, or other relevant associations would greatly benefit your application. If you’re affiliated with the Red Cross, Red Crescent, or any other organization, include them in your resume as well.
What Skills Should I List on My New Grad Nursing Resume?
Aside from certifications and training by professionally recognized bodies, you can also include your hard and soft skills in your nursing resume. These skills should be relevant in your nursing job, so choose them wisely.
Hard skills should consist of technical specialties and knowledge, like basic life support, patient care, and assessment, use of hospital machines and software, standard operating procedures like infection control, and hospital code checklists.
Soft skills, on the other hand, non-technical abilities which can improve your performance as a registered nurse. These include building interpersonal relationships, communication, workload management and prioritization, and even patient empathy.
Get Your New Grad Nurse Resume on Top
Whenever you’re writing your nurse resume, you have to pack as much information as possible in the least number of sentences. However, keep in mind that it still has to have good readability and format. Plus, you also need to write top-rate cover letters to go along with your RN resume.
If you’re having a hard time writing your nurse resumes, you can always look at resume templates or use a resume builder to get you started. You can use the generated example to create a professional resume.
When done correctly, your new grad nurse resume would have better chances of securing that nursing job and building your career at your dream medical center. Remember, always be truthful! Lying on your professional resume will not only cost you the position, it could also blacklist you in the hospital’s network too.