The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about a lot of changes in the labor market. One of these changes has been the high demand for travel nurses. With a large number of healthcare organizations facing staffing shortages, they often have to turn to travel nurses. As skilled professionals, travel nurses can take on healthcare challenges in the most in-need areas.
If you are a nurse looking for new opportunities, you will definitely need a relevant skillset and expertise. However, on top of that, you will also need a strong application that includes a good cover letter and an efficient resume.
Today, we are looking into how to write a good travel nurse resume. However, first, let’s go over what the job of a nurse actually entails.
Nurse job description
The job of a nurse is to assess, observe, and speak to patients, ensuring that they feel comfortable. They record details of the patient’s conditions and their symptoms while keeping track of their medical history and current health. They also prepare patients for medical exams and treatments, administer medication, monitor patients’ reactions, and note down side effects.
The key responsibilities of a nurse include:
- Monitoring patients’ conditions and providing the best possible care and advice
- Observing and analyzing symptoms and communicating them to doctors
- Collaborating with other health professionals to create customized care plans
As of February 2022, the average salary of a nurse in the United States was $65,100, according to Salary.com. Salaries can range from $58,400 to $74,430 and depend on your expertise and experience.
To get a high-paying job in the field, you will need a strong resume. Below, we will look into how to create just that.
Let’s start by taking a quick look at the sample nurse resume. Note that it’s written in a functional format, which centers around skills rather than experience.
What should be included in a nursing resume?
As you can see the resume above consists of several key sections:
- Resume header
- License and certification
- Clinical externship and volunteer experience
- Professional associations
- Work experience
Below, we will go over each of these sections in more detail. However, before that, let’s look into how to choose the best format for your resume.
What is the best format for a nursing resume?
There are three main formats that most resumes are written in. These are:
Reverse-chronological format. This resume format focuses on your work experience, which you will need to list in reverse chronological format — starting from the most recent position. This format is most suitable for jobs where professional experience is of the utmost importance and would also be beneficial for high-level experts with a long career path.
Functional format. A functional resume, on the other hand, is more skill-based. It is centered around your skillset and expertise — which are used as proof that you are the best candidate for the position. These types of resumes are suitable for professions that require specific hard skills (IT, medicine, science, etc.) and can also be beneficial for new graduates who do not yet have sufficient work experience.
Finally, there is the hybrid or combination format, which brings together the elements of both formats above.
So, what is the best format for a resume if you are a nurse? Should you list skills on a nursing resume?
As we’ve mentioned, our sample nurse resume is written in the functional format to emphasize skills over experience. However, if you would like to explore other resume formats, learn more about them here — Top Resume Formats: Tips and Examples of 3 Common Resumes.
How do I write a nursing resume?
As we’ve mentioned, there are several key sections that you should include in your resume.
This is the easiest-to-write section of your resume — but it can also be very useful. A typical resume header includes the following:
- Your name and professional credentials
- Country, state, and city
- A way to contact you: phone or email
However, you can also use your resume header as a quick self-introduction by adding a link to your LinkedIn profile in the sample resume above.
This section probably needs little explanation. This is where you will include your highest degree and the educational institution where you have received it. Make sure to only mention relevant degrees and education. For instance, there is no need to include information on where you went to high school.
License and certification
As a nurse, licenses and certifications are among the key elements of your application and should come in one of the top sections of your resume. Include all the licenses and certificates you have received that are relevant to the position you are applying for. Make sure to interpret each abbreviation you use for the hiring manager.
Clinical externship and volunteer experience
Dedicate the next two sections of your resume to clinical externship and volunteer experience (if applicable).
When adding information about your clinical externship, describe your key responsibilities and stress the skills you have acquired in the process.
When it comes to volunteer experience, mention where and when you served as a volunteer. Elaborate on your duties, responsibilities, and key takeaways from the experience.
Membership in professional associations can be a great way to illustrate your commitment to the profession, skillset, and competence in your selected niche. Include all nursing associations that you are a part of, then elaborate on any achievements and awards that best showcase you as a medical professional.
In our sample nurse resume, this is the final section of your resume — but it doesn’t have to be. If you have substantial experience as a nurse, it would be beneficial to move this section closer to the top to make it more noticeable for the hiring manager. However, if you are writing a new grad nurse resume and don’t yet have sufficient experience in the field, moving this section to the end makes perfect sense.
Here are a few extra tips for structuring your resume:
- Try to keep your resume to one page. In a lot of cases, and especially in hospitals, hiring managers are very busy. This means that they simply don’t have the time to go over lengthy applications and fish out the information they need. Make their job easier by keeping your resume concise and highlighting key information. For instance, use bullet points. Naturally, if you are a highly experienced professional, a two-page resume can be acceptable. In this case, however, do your best to keep the most essential information on the first page.
- Add references. Most HR managers agree that references are a great way to improve a candidate’s chances. If possible, ask your previous employer or employers to write you a recommendation letter. If you don’t have previous work experience, ask for references from your externship supervisors or even professors. In your resume, you can then mention that you have references available upon request.
- Add a powerful cover letter. To complete your application, you will need a cover letter to go together with your resume. A cover letter is basically your professional introduction. The purpose of a cover letter is to get your potential employer interested in your application and explain why they should choose you over other candidates. In your cover letter, answer the following question: what is your greatest skill as a nurse? Learn how to write a powerful cover letter in our Sample Nurse Cover Letter and Advice from HR Pros guide.
Let’s sum things up
- A good resume should be informational but concise.
- Pick a resume format (reverse chronological, functional, or hybrid) that helps you make the best case.
- Make sure your resume follows a clear structure and includes relevant information like skills, experience, work experience, and more.
- Use bulleted lists and bold font to highlight the most important information in your resume.
- If you don’t have sufficient work experience, move this section to the end of your resume.
- If possible, add references from your previous work or educational institution.
- Add an effective cover letter that highlights your key skills and expertise.
We hope that our new grad nurse resume sample above has been helpful and you now have more ideas about how to best structure your application. If you need more general information, check out our article on how to write a resume.
Nurse cover letter
An ideal resume is a combination of content that would allow you to stand out and format that is
ATS-friendly, neat and comfortable to read. Learn more about writing the perfect resume here, and be sure to
check out expert tips on creating an effective Nurse cover letter to go with your resume.
Go to cover letter
Kristina Phelps is an HR specialist who loves sharing her experience. Her two biggest passions are helping people find a perfect workplace and writing about all things HR. Kristina grew up in Boston, MA. She likes big dogs and long walks. She also helps animal shelters find new owners for cats and dogs.