Do you have a lot of unrelated jobs on your nursing resume? You probably worked lots of different jobs in the lead up to graduating from nursing school. 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.
Nurses typically need soft skills and experience working for or with other people. They need to have good communication skills while being sensitive to the patient’s needs.
So what job history should you include on your nursing 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 the relevant experience section 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. Be sure to mention how many years of experience you have in the job description as well as how long you held each position.
You can also mention how these past experiences relate to the job at hand in your cover letters.
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.
4. Proper Resume Formatting
Use a proper resume format when applying to a job posting. Large chunks of text make it difficult for hiring managers to quickly make sense of your resume, especially when they are reading through thousands of documents per hour. Break up the text with bullet points to it easy for them to go through your experience. They should be able to get the gist in just a few seconds.
If you’re not sure how to format your resume, you can find dozens of free resume templates online.
You can also include a resume summary in your cover letter or at the top of your resume. Add a few scentences to quickly sum up your expereince as a nurse practitioner or aspiring healthcare provider.