Resume

6 Improvements You Can Make Now to Your Nursing Resume and Cover Letter to Land That Interview

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A resume and cover letter are integral parts of getting a job. As dull and seemingly redundant as a resume and cover letter may seem, take them seriously. A lot depends on them and on your getting them right. Applying for jobs now takes place almost exclusively online rather than in person. That means that the decision to interview you (or not to) is determined by how well your resume and cover letter are written. As a result, resumes and cover letters need to be on point to take you from applying for a job to interviewing for that job. Utilize these tips to help you land that interview.

1. Research the job and organization and incorporate important elements into your resume/cover letter
Researching the organization you’re applying to is essential to show that you care about their organization’s values, vision, and mission. Then incorporate the organization’s values, vision, and mission into your resume to show you took time to get to know the organization and that you personally align with their values and mission. Additionally, you will be able to incorporate how your personal and professional traits align with the organization’s culture. Taking a thorough look at the job posting is crucial, too. Pull out keywords from the job description and duties and incorporate them into your resume and cover letter. Leveraging keywords in your resume allows you to showcase how your qualifications will directly fulfill the needs of the position.

2. Make the most relevant and recent information stick out
As you acquire experience, eliminate some of the earlier jobs you had that won’t influence the decision-making process. That fast-food or city worker job might help you in your application for a new grad position, but it won’t help your case after you have ten years of nursing experience under your belt. Ensure that relatable job positions and experiences are the first thing to catch readers’ eyes. Depending on the job you’re applying for, you might want to rearrange information accordingly.

3. Ensure formatting and readability make your resume easy to read
Readability is essential for written communication. Avoid overly long or complex statements. Run-on sentences should also be avoided. If you’re not familiar with how to avoid run-on sentences, learn more about them here. Utilize bullet points and short, concise sentences with keywords. You might not be able to say everything you want in your resume and cover letter, but be sure to get the vital information in there. You can always share the details that didn’t make the resume/cover letter in the interview.

4. Add performance measures
Organizations and leadership positions love performance measurements. They want to know what you did and why. The outcome is crucial to share in order to showcase your skills. Mention any variables that were improved. How did your intervention affect the quality of care or patient satisfaction? Give as many specifics as possible and do not neglect to mention any performance measures.

5. Include action verbs
Advanced Practice Nurses typically fill roles with significantly higher responsibility than BSN-prepared nurses. Therefore, it’s a good idea to incorporate action verbs into your resume and cover letter to highlight this advanced skill set. Since this is the case, you want to add action verbs into your resume and cover letter. Action verbs could be considered keywords for resumes. Be as specific as possible with your verbiage. Avoid generalities like “I helped the patient understand their medication list.” Instead, insert an action verb and say something like “consistently educated patients to perform medical administration.” Vague words like “help: and “said” can be replaced with meaningful words like “consulted” and “acknowledged.” These words not only make your application sound better but showcase your talents.

6. Have references on hand
Despite being less important now than they have been historically, references are still important parts of obtaining a job. Linda Jodrell is HR director at Citation, a provider of employment law, HR, and health and safety solutions. She’s had plenty of experience dealing with references and views them as a vital parts of the recruitment process. If you are applying internally within the organization you currently work for, you probably don’t need a list of references. Most organizations will have standard processes of contacting your current supervisor before conducting an interview. If you apply to a new organization, you should (at a minimum) put a line under a references tab labeled “references available upon request.” Make sure to have contacted your references before applying in case your interviewer asks for them.

Make your job application the best it can be. Before you can interview well, you need to secure an interview. You do this but putting together a concise and thoughtful resume and cover letter. Including these six steps will help your application stand out from the rest.

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About the Author

Tyler Faust is a full-time registered nurse and part-time freelance healthcare writer. He has his BSN and master’s degree from Winona State University and has worked at Mayo Clinic for over 5 years. Tyler is a creative thinker, strategist, and passionate about leadership.