The job market today is a brutal place for anyone looking for work, but it is particularly troubling for nurses looking for a job.
With the recession, older nurses are staying in their jobs, newer nurses are finding that facilities are cutting back, and it just doesn’t seem there are enough jobs to go around.
When looking for a job, your resume is your calling card, your ticket into the game. Nurses are not particularly known for their abilities with computers and resumes, but knowing how to navigate the waters of proper resume form can help.
Human resources and hiring managers look for certain details when they examine the resume of the nurse.
With 300 applicants for one job, any of the following gaffs can get your resume tossed aside.
Attention to Detail
A nurse on the floor has to pay close attention to detail to ensure their patients don’t get hurt, and this tendency should reflect in the resume you send to a prospective employer.
Yes, grammar, spelling, and formatting do count, especially when the jobs are so competitive.
Most nurses aren’t writers, though, so this can present a problem.
Although you can use word processing programs to catch the most glaring errors, you really should have a friend, spouse, fellow nurse, or relative read over the resume for mistakes.
Explain Gaps and Job Changes
Gaps and job changes can send up a red flag in the mind of a hiring manager, and it is often stressful figuring out how to address them. Instead of ignoring the issue or fudging the numbers, it is best to tell the truth.
Make gaps part of your job history with an explanation next to them, such as recovering from surgery, taking care of small children, or whatever circumstances has kept you from nursing.
With rapid changes, you should simply state when you changed jobs and possibly indicate why.
When you meet with the hiring manager, you can explain that you intend to stay on the job longer than six months.
Many facilities don’t want to put the money into training you if you are likely to leave within a few months.
Highlight Technology Skills
Most of healthcare is now moving into the digital age, and you should strongly consider making a place on your resume that highlights your computer skills.
You need not be Microsoft certified in the Office suite, but it would help to know that you can find your way around the main programs.
Even if you used computers in your former position, such as a scanning mechanism, it will help to mention it.
Computer skills are vitally important in the emergence of electronic medical records, and you will set yourself apart if you can demonstrate comfort in a technologically advanced atmosphere.
Include Related Experience
For new nurses or those reentering the job force, you may feel like your resume is a little light on experience.
However, you are a person who has done things with your life, and you can use these unofficial experiences on your resume.
If you took care of an ailing relative, worked as a CNA, volunteered in a hospital, or raised your children, you need a section of your resume that addresses these hidden assets.
Someone who has experience in juggling multiple real world problems is more attractive to an employer looking for someone with that x-factor that will make them successful nurses.
Use an Expertise Section
Finally, we live in an era of keywords, and resumes are no different. In fact, most hiring managers use a search program that will mine your resume for the particular skills they are looking for.
This is why an expertise section is important. In two words or so, you should describe what skills you have in bullet form.
For instance, telemetry, ICU, ventilator experience, and supervisory role are all great keywords to include in the expertise section.
This is a part of the resume for the computers, and it just may mean that your resume hits the right keyword and gets your document in front of the hiring manager.