Do you have a lot of unrelated jobs on your nursing resume? Many job seekers — mostly young nurses and career changers — worry that having dissimilar work experience can hurt potential job prospects. But is having several unrelated jobs on your resume really an issue? According to interviewers and hiring managers, the answer is not really — especially if leaving it off means having a gap in your employment history. More importantly, employers aren’t just looking for evidence of relevant experience, they want transferable skills — skills that hold their value across a variety of nursing specialties, environments, and positions.
So what job history should you include on your resume and what’s better to leave off? Here’s our cheat sheet for quick reference!
What You Should Include:
1. A “Relevant Experience” Subsection
Because many of your past nursing positions have required different skill sets, it’s a good idea to group the most pertinent in a subsection at the top of your resume. Use this segment to spotlight the skills and accomplishments most applicable to the potential employer’s needs. Excel at patient care? Expert at handling young, cranky patients? Mention it! Doing so won’t only win the employer’s attention; it will position key words at the beginning of your resume, bringing you to the attention of automated resume scanners.
2. Focus on Interpersonal Skills
These are abilities like work ethic, problem solving and communication skills. So why are these important for your resume? Because good qualities like being an excellent problem solver or time manager are universal — despite the difference between the job you’re applying for and your previous positions. Plus, nursing is a hands-on career, and dealing with frustrating families, sick patients and all that hospital bureaucracy isn’t easy! Employers find value in nurses who hold both relevant experience and comprehensive abilities like analysis and efficiency skills. Candidates who demonstrate these all-encompassing traits will impress employers, no matter what their past experience is.
3. Include Related Hobbies or Projects
If your nursing resume is deficient in related work experience due to a career change or relative newness to the healthcare job market (perhaps you just graduated from nursing school), it’s a good idea to include volunteer work, hobbies and non-work-related projects you’ve participated in on your resume. Just make sure it’s relevant! This shows employers where your interests lie, plus that you’re passionate and driven to attain employment in nursing, even in this challenging job market.