Top 10 new grad resume necessities
- New grad program applications are coming out in the next few months, and it’s important that you’ve got a resume that’s polished and ready to impress! Here are my top 10 must-haves for your resume.
- Your info – It’s the first thing they’re going to look at. Use your full name, no nick-names (unless you REALLY hate your name… and even then, just use it!). List one phone number your future employer can contact you at. If it’s your cell phone, make sure your voice mail is appropriate, and if it’s a home number, make sure everyone at home is prepared to take a professional message for you when you’re away. Also list your address and your email address. Don’t use your “firstname.lastname@example.org.” If you don’t have a professional email address from your school (make sure it’s one you check), then it’s time you login in to gmail or yahoo or hotmail and make yourself one. Just use your name or initials and last name. Remember, you’re representing your last three years of hard work!
- Education – Let them know where you’ve been. If you’ve only been to one college, and high school was right before that, you can list your high school as well. But if you’ve transferred colleges a few times, or it’s been a while, high school isn’t necessary. Include the FULL name of your school (ex: “California State University, Los Angeles” – NOT “CSULA” or “Cal State LA”). Also include the city and state, and the years you attended. If you graduated from that school, include the degree earned. If you are proud of your final GPA from that school, go ahead and include that too!
- Clinical Experience – This is something new I was told to add. Hospitals want to know what types of clinical rotations you’ve been through, and where you did them. For example: “Medical-Surgical Nursing I, JoeShmoe Memorial Hospital - Los Angeles, CA.” Some students have opted to include the grade for each rotation as well, but only do so if you are REALLY proud of it, and be consistent. Don’t include a grade for one and not for another. Remember, they will be looking at your transcripts too, so they’re going to see it anyway.
- Work Experience – Have you been working as a nurses aide? Put it here! Even if you haven’t been working in a hospital related setting, include your work experience here. Many jobs outside of nursing involve skills that can help you. If you’re a host or server at a restaurant, you’ve got people skills, prioritizing skills, and time management skills under your belt. Emphasize the fact that you’ve held down a job while in school. Include a brief job description that includes these traits that will help you as a floor nurse at the hospital.
- Certifications – As a student, you may not be a licensed nurse yet, but you are CPR/BLS certified! Include that on there, along with the name of the company who issued the certificate and the expiration date. If you’ve had to take a fire-life safety class, or first aid, include those as well. If you’re a licensed CNA (meaning you took the class) that counts too!
- Skills – Include computer skills that you have. Are you proficient at Microsoft Word? PowerPoint? Excel? List programs you can use well. I also listed hospital charting systems that I was very familiar with using (only if you really feel comfortable with the system). I also listed “Languages Spoken” in a subsection here. Don’t include English! But if you’re bilingual you’ve got a one-up, especially if you are in big-city areas where there are many people of different nationalities. Even if you aren’t a fluent translator, it may be helpful in your work environment. You can state “conversational” or “fluent” or whatever fits your description best, but BE HONEST, don’t tell them you can translate if you can’t!
- Memberships and Volunteer Work – NSNA? ATD? STT? Honors Society? If you’re a member of an organization, include it here with the dates of your membership. Volunteer work always looks good. If it’s volunteer work through a specific organization, list the organization here. If you have a lot of volunteer work that doesn’t have an umbrella organization to list it under, you can always create a separate section for “Volunteer Work” only. Always include the dates for which you were/are affiliated with that organization or work.
- Awards – Dean’s List? Scholarships? Appreciation for the volunteering you’ve done? List them here along with the name of the person/organization granting the award and the dates. DON’T MAKE UP AWARDS! These things have a way of coming back to you!
- References – You want it to be someone who understands your goals, your work, and the type of person you are. Clinical instructors, previous employers, volunteer coordinators are all good reference people. Never list someone as a reference without getting their permission first. You don’t want a future employer catching them off-guard and not prepared with the right answers. Also, don’t list your friends or your parents. Not good.
- Neatness and grammar – No, that’s not a title of a section, it’s an overall necessity for your resume. This document is representing the hard work you’ve put into your nursing career, and you want it to reflect that. If there are typos, chances are they will throw it out before considering you. Have someone proof read it and double check the information to make sure you’ve got it right. Print it up in black ink on a nice grade paper. Show them that you’ve put effort into your resume like you have into nursing school, and that you will when they hire you!
I'm a brand new, full-fledged, fresh-out-of-school RN! And better yet, I landed the job of my dreams working with children. I love what I do, and while everyday on the job is a new (and sometimes scary) experience, I'm taking it all in - absorbing everything I can about this amazing profession we all fell in love with.
By Ani Burr, RN