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The nurse's guide to a resume revamp

There are few components of a job search that are more dreaded than compiling a resume. There’s a lot of pressure in creating a one-page document that will not only effectively convey who you are as a person and employee, but convince a hiring manager that you’ve never met to call you in for an interview. Even if you’ve created a resume in the past, the document may no longer accurately represent your accomplishments, and choosing how to update the information can be almost as stressful as starting from scratch.

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As you finish your master of science in nursing degree, it’s time to revamp your resume before you send it out to potential employers. Use this simple guide to ensure that you represent your accomplishments well on paper.

Include a job objective.
Are you looking for a position as a nurse manager in a large hospital? Or maybe as a nurse practitioner at a facility with opportunities for professional development? Whatever you goal is, the American Nurses Association recommended spelling it out on your resume. A simple sentence or two will let potential employers know exactly what you’re looking for right off the bat. Avoid the temptation to go into too much detail. You have limited space on your resume, and you should dedicate most of it to listing your accomplishments and qualifications. Don’t take up a lot of space describing what you’re looking for when a single sentence will likely suffice.

Emphasize your accomplishments.
When creating a resume, it may be easy to simply fall into the habit of listing the responsibilities you had in previous roles. After all, that’s how positions are advertised. However, the American Nurses Association advised emphasizing accomplishments over simply listing the responsibilities that your job included. Rather than writing “responsibilities included caring for patients,” a more powerful statement would be “provided patients with top-quality care.” A little rephrasing can go a long way. And be sure to use strong action verbs, such as “managed,” “administered,” “developed” and “directed” to emphasize your abilities as a motivated, hard working professional.

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Edit for brevity.
As an accomplished nursing professional with multiple degrees and certifications to your name, your resume can understandably start to get a little long. But short and sweet may serve you better in your job search. You have to keep in mind that the hiring manager at the health care establishment that you’re applying to is likely reading dozens of resumes, perhaps even dozens in a single day. By keeping your resume short, but informative, you’ll have a better chance that the reader will read the entire thing. In an article published on LinkedIn, Google Senior Vice President Laszlo Bock reported that a good rule of thumb is to keep your resume to one page for every 10 years of work experience. So if you’re a seasoned veteran with two decades of experience, you might be able to get away with that second page. But if you’re relatively new to the field, a single page should suffice. Be succinct, but persuasive, in laying out your educational and professional history.

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