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Nursing Resume Example & Writing Tips

Showcase your skills, experience, certifications, honors, volunteering and more with nursing resume examples specifically created to attract industry jobs.

Donna Wright Profile
By Donna Wright 5 minute read

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Nursing resume example

Here is an outstanding resume example you can follow to create your own compelling resume. You can build a resume in minutes using this example along with our ResumeHelp Resume Builder.

Nursing Resume Example

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What is a nurse resume?

It takes a special combination of knowledge, compassion, confidence and calmness to function as a nurse. Whether you are an experienced nurse looking for a new position, a recent nursing graduate or changing careers to nursing, a strong resume can get you noticed by hiring managers, recruiters and employers. ResumeHelp provides you with all the nursing resume examples and career resources you need to get your job search off to a great start.

On this page, you will find:

  • Tips on writing a professional, polished nursing resume to help you get the job you want
  • Expert nursing resume examples you can use as a base for your own resume
  • Step-by-step guidance for wording, formatting and structuring your resume

What are employers looking for in a nursing resume?

The key to getting your resume noticed is to highlight your strengths to potential employers to show why you’re the best candidate for the job. It’s a good idea to read the job description carefully to understand what employers are looking for in a qualified job candidate.

Consider these pointers when writing your nursing resume:


Understand your audience

Understanding who will be reviewing your resume for qualification. Once you get past an applicant tracking system (more on this below), the hiring manager is your next reader. Keep in mind, the employer must sift through dozens or even hundreds of resumes for a job opening. They may spend only seconds viewing your resume so make your words count. Be sure your resume includes the career-related information for which the employer is looking.

The best way to make a list of the requirements featured in the job description and check off the list to match your resume. Nursing hiring managers value resumes that demonstrate straightforward, detailed technical skills and experience, but also show evidence of success with patients. Nursing is a rare scientific field that also values your passion for helping and healing people along with your incredibly important technical credentials.


Getting past the applicant tracking system (ATS)

A hiring manager never even gets to see your resume if it doesn’t make it past ATS. An ATS is automated resume-scanning software that many large and medium-sized employers currently use in their application process. With hundreds or even thousands of applicants for a select few spots, an ATS is almost a necessity for employers to manage their workload.

The right format and keywords are essential to getting your resume seen by an actual human. The ATS is programmed by employers to search for specific keywords in resumes and reduce the huge pool of potential applicants. To get your resume past an ATS, two things matter most: how you format your resume and what keywords you use.


Using keywords in your nursing resume

To understand how an ATS works, imagine a system tracking specific words. The keywords are programmed in and each candidate’s resume is scanned for those words, with a match ratio or percentage listed at the end and a certain threshold set.

For example, all candidates might need to match 80% of keywords to move on to the next level, or candidates are ranked by the # of keyword matches. So you can see why it’s so important to feature keywords employers are seeking in your resume. The easiest way to do this is to break down the actual job posting, and note the particular skills, experiences and job requirements the employer lists. These will serve as your keywords.


Be neat and concise

You need to deliver a powerful yet easy-to-read message that hiring managers and recruiters quickly digest, in the language of your nursing field. Show your respect for their time by presenting a resume that’s clean, free from errors and easy to quickly scan in a traditional format. Use bullet points where applicable to make your qualifications and accomplishments stand out to a reader who may only have a short time to scan your resume.


Show your credentials in your nursing resume

The employer is no doubt looking for your nursing credentials so be sure they stand out. Candidates may list their credentials in various places on a nursing resume. You can list the credentials as part of a resume summary or objective, in the work experience section and in your education section. See below for more tips on each section.

Credentials may include your degrees MSN, BSN, etc., licensure credentials RN, LPN/LVN and state designations Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner. Nursing licenses have numbers that need to be included, too. Employers often use those numbers for verification. If you have many certifications, awards and honors, create a separate section below your education section.

The preferred order of listing credentials is:

  • Highest earned degree
  • Licensure
  • State designations or requirements
  • National certifications
  • Awards and honors
  • Other recognitions

For each certification you list, include the following:

  • The name of the credential or certification.
  • The company or organization that issued the certification.
  • If applicable, include the location where you earned the certification.
  • The date you completed the certification requirements.
  • If applicable, the date the certification expires.

Include technical nursing skills on your nursing resume

While a nursing resume follows traditional resume guidelines, the difference is that nursing is a technical job with a huge human component. Nursing hiring managers value resumes that demonstrate straightforward, detailed technical skills and experience but also show evidence of success with patients. Be sure your experience matches the job requirements so you can show that you can perform the job tasks effectively and efficiently.


Show the ability to work with patients

Nursing may be considered a scientific field but it’s a necessity to show your passion for helping and healing people in your resume. You want the employer to know that you have empathy, compassion and communication skills in addition to being emotionally strong, confident and optimistic. Teamwork is another important skill as it shows your ability to work well with others.

Pick the right format for your nurse resume

There are three standard resume formats you can use to create a professional nursing resume:

Chronological resume format

The chronological format (also known as a reverse-chronological resume) places emphasis on your work experience so it’s ideal if you have many years of relevant work experience in the nursing field. This is the most common resume format, where your work experience is listed with your latest or current job first, and moves down to your oldest experience.

  • It’s the most common resume format in the U.S., so most hiring managers and recruiters are familiar with the reverse-chronological format. This is the format they trust.
  • Most applicant tracking systems are configured to expect this organization of content. With other formats, you run a greater risk of an ATS being unable to read your resume, and rejecting it.
  • This format enables you to show your career progression easily, with your most recent positions getting the most attention. 
  • You can show your job commitment and years of experience in the field, as well as how you’ve broadened your expertise or taken on special roles. 

Functional resume format

The functional resume format is ideal if you have less work experience, have recently graduated from nursing school or are changing careers. This format places emphasis on your best and most relevant skills over work history, so it clearly shows your best qualifications for the job. Functional resumes are organized by skills or pieces of experience, rather than dates and a linear progression.

  • Functional resumes were designed to deal with special circumstances — career changes, lack of experience, gaps of unemployment, short-tenured job hopping. They’re more flexible.
  • This format may work for smaller companies without an ATS and have an open-minded hiring manager.

Combination resume format

Also known as the hybrid format, the combination resume format combines both the chronological and functional resumes. It provides equal emphasis on relevant skills and work history so it’s ideal for any job candidate with a few years of work experience and a good skill set.

Here are some other helpful resume formatting tips to think about when creating your resume:

  • Set your resume to have 1-inch margins on all sides.
  • Use a professional font like Helvetica, Arial or Verdana.
  • Set your spacing to be readable, such as 1.5 spacing between lines.
  • A nurse resume template helps you create ready-made professional resumes that are easy for recruiters to read.
  • Proofread your resume to ensure there are no typos or grammatical errors.
  • Refer to the job description for the preferable file format — PDF, MS Word or another.

How to write a nursing resume

When you’re crafting your perfect nursing resume, there are typical resume elements that you want to include to highlight your qualifications as best as possible. Whether you select a chronological, functional or combination resume format, you’ll include these sections:

1. Header and contact information

Your header includes your full name, phone number, location (city and state) and email address. You can also include your links to your social media or job networking profiles including LinkedIn.

2. Resume summary or objective

Below the header you will feature an abbreviated introduction into why an employer should hire you. This powerful paragraph is called a resume summary or resume objective. While both are two to three sentences and will summarize your career, each is used by different types of job candidates.

A resume summary gives an overall view of your work experience and best skills. A resume summary is ideal for job seekers with two or more years of experience in the nursing industry.

Resume professional summary example:

Skilled RN with more than eight years of experience in the fast-paced emergency room setting, equipped to improve hospital patient wellbeing in critical care. Assists health care team of three doctors and three nurses in triage, diagnosing ailments and administering treatments. Repeatedly recognized for quality of service in Patient Satisfaction Surveys.

A resume objective is ideal for job seekers with less than two years of experience, career changers or recent graduates. The objective provides a brief career overview and includes your career goals.

Resume objective example:

Dedicated nursing student nearing completion of bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) promoting four years of health care experience during schooling. Monitors patient vitals and reports abnormalities and changes in status. Demonstrates consistent quality of care with firm understanding of medical chart management. Excited about the opportunity to take the next career step at a hospital or medical center.

3. Skills section

Here you’ll present the skills that demonstrate your best qualities and performance as a nurse. Using bullet points, include a combination of 8-10 hard skills and soft skills. Here are some resume skills examples to consider on your nursing resume:

Example of nursing resume skills:

  • Checking and monitoring vital signs
  • CPR, Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Starting peripheral IV lines
  • Electronic Medical Record (EHR)
  • Ventilator care
  • Communication
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Time management

4. Work experience section

The experience section is usually the second section in a resume, unless you’re a recent graduate. This section may be titled: Work History, Work Experience or Professional Experience. This section is more than just listing your jobs and the tasks you performed. You need to highlight accomplishments and specific responsibilities that match the nurse job description of the nursing position that you are applying for. Use action verbs to describe what you did and quantify achievements using numbers or percentages. Bullet points will allow the hiring manager to quickly scan your work experience.

The standard elements for each work experience entry are:

Job title

  • Place of employment
  • Dates of employment
  • Brief description of your accomplishments and responsibilities in the job, as well as skills gained and used in that piece of experience

Here are some key guidelines for work descriptions:

  • Don’t use personal pronouns. Instead, as in the examples above, start with a verb (“Managed”) and leave off pronouns, especially “I”.
  • For past jobs, use past tense verbs. For any position you currently hold, use present tense verbs.
  • Use bullet points, one for each sentence or phrase. You can end your sentence or phrase with a period or leave it off. Just be consistent — use one method or the other.
  • Avoid superlatives. Nursing isn’t a sales role and exaggerating does not fit the culture. But use adjectives and adverbs that show your level of performance. Be concise and stick to the facts.
  • Generally, use 2-4 bullet points per job. For jobs where you stayed many years and had several important components, you might use up to six or seven bullets.
  • Quantify, quantify, quantify! Anytime you can tie in data, measurable results or specific numbers, do so.

Here are some work experience bullets you may consider for your nursing resume:

  • Handled patient intake to document vitals, symptoms and make initial diagnosis.
  • Treated an average of 22 ICU patients daily.
  • Observed pediatric patients and reported observations to the RN or physician on duty.
  • Improved outcomes by educating patients and families regarding health care.
  • Consistently scored over 90% in patient satisfaction surveys.
  • Assisted with laboratory diagnostics, collecting and preparing samples for testing.
  • Carried out medication administration according to facility policies and proper nursing practice.
  • Shadowed medical staff to analyze patient conditions and learn hands-on skills.
  • Consulted with physicians to understand diagnosis and necessary care plans.

5. Education

Nurses require a college education and must prove their nursing credentials to prospective employers. For most job seekers, however, the education section will come last on a resume and will be very brief. It is also important to include licenses and certifications as well. You can include your GPA if it was particularly favorable (3.5 or over). Many people remove their GPA and even graduation date from their resume when it was a long time ago, such as more than 10 years. The most common way to list your education is with your degree or certification title first, followed by its acronym and then the institution name.

Examples of education on a nursing resume:

Bachelor of Science: Nursing
Adelphi University, Garden City NY

  • Graduated magna cum laude
  • Dean’s Award 2017 – 2021
  • President’s Award 2017 – 2021
  • Nursing Student of the Year – 2021

Examples of nursing licenses and certifications:

  • RN, State of New York, License #00000
  • CNA and CPR – American Red Cross
  • BCLS, ACLS – American Heart Association
  • Basic Critical Care Certificate

6. Additional sections

If you have awards, volunteer work or attended nursing conferences, you want to include those accomplishments in additional sections on your nursing resume. These attributes can help you stand out among the competition so you certainly want to highlight them.

More examples

ResumeHelp has plenty of other resources and guides for writing a solid nursing resume or cover letter.

Write a nurse cover letter to accompany your resume

Along with your impressive nursing resume, it’s advised you submit a professional cover letter as well. That means, even if the job posting does not require a cover letter, you take the time to write a cover letter anyway. The cover letter is your opportunity to expand on the information presented in your resume. It’s not a replica of the information on your resume but instead a thoughtful summary of your career highlights. You can also explain a career change or any gaps in your work history.

Consider these guidelines to writing your nursing cover letter:

  • Mention your interest in the specific role, organization or industry.
  • Do your research on the health care facility that you’re pursuing and mention an aspect that genuinely appeals to you.
  • Highlight 2-3 particular relevant skills and areas of nursing expertise.
  • PIck out highlights from your work experience section of your resume and provide more details.
  • Share examples, even a story, to personalize your cover letter for the reader. 
  • If necessary, explain any extenuating circumstances that make your resume look unusual.
  • Address the cover letter to the hiring manager’s actual name.
  • Write a cover letter between half a page and one page, three to four paragraphs.
  • In the final paragraph, close by mentioning how you’re a good match and request a job interview.

ResumeHelp has plenty more cover letter writing tips like these, in addition to helpful nursing cover letter examples that you can use to write a professional cover letter. In fact, our Cover Letter Builder will help you create an eye-catching cover letter in minutes.

The big takeaways

Here are 10 key tips for creating a nurse resume that will get you noticed by hiring managers:

  1. Be sure your contact information is up-to-date and your email address sounds professional.
  2. Write a memorable resume summary or resume objective that highlights your career.
  3. Include your best skills and achievements relevant to the nursing position.
  4. Use a combination of softs skills, hard skills and transferable skills.
  5. Include additional resume sections to feature awards, certifications and other achievements.
  6. Choose the resume format that best shows your experience — chronological, functional or combination.
  7. Format your resume with a professional and easy to read font like Arial, Helvetica or Verdana.
  8. Set one inch margins on all sides and ensure line spacing is consistent throughout.
  9. Save your resume in the file format requested in the job posting, typically PDF or MS Word.
  10. Craft an impressive nursing cover letter to accompany your resume and job application.
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FAQ: Nursing resume examples

Have questions? We’re here to help.

The duties of a nurse will depend on the type of nurse and which specialty and health care system the nurse will be working for. Duties may include:

  • Provide direct patient care to patients using critical thinking skills
  • Perform assessments, diagnosis, treatments and procedures
  • Monitor patient condition from admission to discharge
  • Handle accurate, efficient documentation and record keeping of patients
  • Demonstrate a professional demeanor while maintaining patient confidentiality
  • Offer leadership skills to improve quality of patient care
  • Build meaningful relationship with patients and their family

A nursing resume will include the most relevant work experience, skills and accomplishments to show qualifications for the position. Resume sections will include:

  • Header with your full name and contact information
  • Resume summary or a resume objective summarizing your best skills and experience
  • Work experience that highlights your nursing career to date
  • Combination of hard skills and soft skills relevant to the position you are applying for
  • Nursing education, nursing certifications and appropriate state licenses.

Should you put references available upon request on the resume? Adding an “upon request” line is merely using up page space needlessly. If your potential employer requests them, send them in a separate document.

The best resume format for nurses will depend on your nursing experience.

Chronological format: Best for experienced nurses, this allows you to focus on nursing jobs from the most recent to the oldest.

Functional format: Recent graduates, entry level or career change candidates will focus more on skills and accomplishments and less on actual work experience in this format.

Combination format: This format combines features from the chronological and the functional resume formats, with extensive skills and work experience sections.

Title this section in your resume as: Work History, Work Experience or Professional Experience. Fill this section with specific achievements and incorporate relevant keywords from the job description in a natural way. For each work entry, include job title, place of employment, dates of employment. List employment history in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent job at the top and working your way backwards through the years. Include 2-4 bullet points per job. Use action words that emphasize your level of performance, e.g., “led,” “managed,” “oversaw”. Use quantifiable achievements that tie in data, measurable results or specific numbers.

In addition to highlighting your best accomplishments as a nurse, you can also identify any specific nursing specialties on your resume. Take extra care to read the job description carefully to confirm it’s the nursing role for which you are looking.

At ResumeHelp, you can try our free resume templates in our Resume Builder and download them for free in text or PDF format. Our Resume Builder offers you expert suggestions and easy-to-fill questions regarding your nursing skills and your nursing work history. If your resume is not to your liking, simply choose a different template and the builder will use the same information you’ve already provided. If a job application requires a Microsoft Word resume template, our resume templates and CV templates can be downloaded in Word format.

When it comes to writing a resume, you don’t need to include every job that you ever held. Instead, stick to the work experience that is most relevant to the job that you are applying to. In the work experience section of your nursing resume, include up to 10 years of work experience and be sure to highlight the relevant skills necessary to meet job requirements and demonstrate that you can perform the job effectively.

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Donna Wright Profile
WRITTEN BY Donna Wright

Donna is a career expert with extensive experience in the fields of Marketing, Publishing, Direct Mail and Communications. She’s witnessed firsthand the importance of a powerful resume and cover letter to a job search, so she takes great pride in helping change the lives of job seekers by sharing expert career advice and tips to help land the perfect job.

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