Having written a number of nursing resumes and interviewing nursing professionals about what inspires them, one thing has become clear: nurses have a genuine affinity for helping people – and it shows.
Some expressed the desire to stay connected with patients on a more personal level, therefore passing up the opportunity to become a doctor. Others have been inspired by family or friends who are RNs or LPNs. One of my clients even went into nursing after overcoming a childhood illness and felt moved by the nurses who cared for her while hospitalized. Bottom line: Nurses’ number one driver is care and healing. But how do you effectively convey that in a resume?
While virtually every nursing resume states something to the effect of, “Enjoys helping patients…,” hiring managers are looking for proof and it is essential that you demonstrate your dedication in your resume in addition to displaying your technical aptitude, teamwork skills, etc.
Here are a few ways you can add some people-focused balance to your nursing resume:
Sell It in Your Introduction/ Objective Statement
Depending on your resume’s formatting, you should present a brief summary of your skills and experience at the beginning, setting the stage for the rest of your resume. This is a great place to tie in your passion for patient care. But, beware! It’s too easy to bore employers with overused or generic wording. A good way to avoid this is to scour the job description for your targeted job and select patient-related requirements. Then, use those specific words and phrases in your introduction – you can bet those are the ones they’re looking for!
Provided 2-3 Specific Examples of Helping a Patient
Under each job and in addition to your responsibilities and other achievements, briefly describe a couple situations in which you went beyond expectations to help a patient. The same can go for a situation in which you stepped in to help a co-worker handle a situation. This helps you stand out as a go-getter.
Add a Testimonial About Your Patient Dedication From a Fellow Nurse or Physician
You may feel comfortable asking a colleague for a statement or you can even use a quote from a letter of recommendation. Then, add it to the end of your resume with attribution to the person who said it. This shows hiring managers that the proof is in the pudding when it comes to your dedication.
Don’t Forget to Include Awards, Kudos, and Pats on the Back for Great Patient Care
It is easy to forget instances of gratitude from 10 or 15 years ago, but they can add tremendous value to your resume! Maybe you received a letter of thanks from a former patient, an award from a supervisor, or comments about stellar patient care in a performance review – all of these can be mentioned in your resume (usually under the specific position to which it applies). These communicate that you really make an impact.
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Like all healthcare-related resumes, it is easy to get overly technical in a nursing resume. However, remember why you became a nurse in the first place and prove to employers that you are driven in your dedication to patient care.