Updated: August 19, 2021

Introduction to Nursing Resumes

Formatting a nursing resume after graduation from program can be difficult. Often times, students will not know what information to include. It might surprise you what information is necessary, and what you can leave out. That’s why we compiled this guide. It’s all about the basics of creating a professional nursing resume.

See our Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Nursing Resume.

Online Nursing Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Nursing Resume Essential Contact Information

We’ll start with the easiest part of the resume: contact information. Your contact information should be at the top of the resume. It should be easy to read, in a clear and simple font. You should always include:

  1. Your full name.
  2. A good phone number to contact you with.
  3. A professional email address, with no references to your personal life.
  4. Your physical home or mailing address.

Other optional contact information includes your website if you have one. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile.

Your email address should be as professional as possible. It should also be with a reliable email provider. For example, your school email may be reliable and professional. But you need to make sure that you still have access to it after you’ve graduated if you use it on your resume. It is perfectly acceptable to use an address from a public provider like Gmail. Avoid using inappropriate or irrelevant information. Use something like your name, or initials.

Guide To Nursing Resume Formatting And Interviewing

Objective & Summary

The objective section of your resume should summarize what you can do for your employer. Some call this the “elevator pitch” or the “handshake” of the resume. It’s the first thing your potential employer will look at to get a sense of you. Before you write this section you should ask yourself a few key questions.

What “benefits” can I give my employer?

These are specific things that you know you do well that your potential employer needs. An example could be “I can give my employer the benefit of a nurse with great patient interview skills”, or  “I love working with patients in a med/surge unit”.

What am I particularly good at?

As a nurse you should already know many of the nursing skills you’re good at. It’s easy to see how those skills will transfer to your RN job, e.g. “I am great at patient interviewing, and can often get the “true” story out of my patients”.

Why do I want to work with this potential employer?

“I want to work with this potential employer because I think that I will learn. I will get to use my “people skills” every day”.

Why did you want to become an RN in the first place? What inspires you as a nurse?

“I wanted to become an RN to work in a hospital setting. Surgery patients are what inspired me to become a nurse in the first place”.

What are you seeking out of potential employers?

“I am seeking for an employer who has an available spot in a med/surge unit for newly graduate nurses. I prefer to working the night shift schedule, if possible”.

After you’ve answered these questions, write down your answers. Keep them in mind as you write your objective. A good objective will convey all of your answers.

Program Education Credentials

As a recent graduate, your resume should include all of your relevant educational credentials. You will want to include where you got your previous education as well as where you got your RN education. Both of these need to include…

  1. The name of the school.
  2. The city and state where it is located.
  3. The date that you graduated.
  4. The specific name of the degree you obtained.
  5. Any certifications that you received after the degree.

You can also include your GPA if it is above a 3.0. If your GPA is not above a 3.0 you should not include it. Instead, focus on what you can do to benefit the potential employer.

You should not include your high school information. That information is no longer relevant to the positions they are applying to. Including it would only take up space where you could include other important information.

If you participated in school clubs, programs, or extra curricular activities, you should include that information. However, the clubs and programs should be relevant to the degree you obtained. For example, if the school is where you got your BSN, you would not put that you were a part of the chess club. You would, however, include that you organized a breast cancer awareness campaign.

Using Your Work Experience to Spice Up Your Nursing Resume

An LPN’s work experience is what sets them apart from other new RN graduates. As an LPN, you’ve likely already worked with patients, and you’re familiar with the healthcare process. This is advantageous when beginning to work as an RN. You will want to detail exactly what you did as  in your work experience section.

The work experience section on a resume includes…

  1. The name of the company you worked for.
  2. Your direct supervisor’s name.
  3. A way that the company can be reached for verification.
  4. The amount of time that you worked there.
  5. What your responsibilities were while you worked there.

When you detail what your responsibilities were as a nurse, you should include specific ways that you helped your team. Avoid being vague if at all possible. For example, instead of writing that you “helped patients”, write that you “took care of the comprehensive needs of 12 unstable patients over the course of many 13-hour shifts”, or something similarly impressive.

You should take extra care to highlight any responsibilities that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. For example, if you are applying to be an RN in a pediatric unit, and you worked in a family practice clinic recently – highlight the fact that you worked closely with children and families.

Optional Sections to Include

Once you’ve written all these required sections, you can choose to include some optional sections. These sections aren’t necessary to make your resume look good, but they’re great if you’ve done a lot of extra, related work.

Certifications: As a recent graduate, you probably haven’t had time to get extra RN certifications.  If these certifications are related to the work you would be doing as an RN, you can include them here.

Volunteering: Relevant volunteer work looks great on a resume. You may even want to start volunteering in a related environment to the one you are applying to. There are many pluses to volunteering. You gain relevant experience. It will show that you are truly dedicated to the position that you are applying for. And your community volunteer organizations will gain a great new resource: you!

Professional associations: There are many national and local nursing associations to join. By joining them, you can show that you are knowledgeable and active in your field.

Recommendations: After working as an LPN, you should have plenty of professional recommendations. Listing these recommendations on your resume make you a great candidate. If you are currently working as a nurse while seeking employment as an RN, now is a great time to network. You will find great opportunities and recommendations among your coworkers and supervisors.

Basic Recent Nurse Graduate Resume Formatting

Resume formatting is a delicate balance. Your resume needs to be eye catching, but not flashy. It needs to show that you are passionate about being an RN, but not over eager. You have to demonstrate that you’re worth a high hourly rate without directly asking for it. It’s no wonder that many recently graduated nurses find this difficult. However, as an LPN, you likely already have experience in the professional healthcare hiring world. Here are some pointers to guide the formatting of your brand new RN resume:

  • Make your name the biggest text on the whole resume, you can do this by bolding it or increasing the font size.
  • Don’t use more than one page – resumes should be a summary rather than a long winded explanation.
  • Highlight your academic achievements in your nursing program.
  • Have someone double check your resume for spelling or grammar errors.
  • Post your resume somewhere online (like AllNurses) for feedback on what you could do better.

By following all of this advice, your resume should land you an RN position in no time!

Sources: 50 State Boards of Nursing, University Websites, U.S. Department of Education, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Ranking Methodology.