Registered Nurse Resume Examples and Tips

A registered nurse needs to have plenty of both hard and soft skills. How can you create a nurse resume that really turns heads?

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Registered Nurse Resume Example

Registered Nurse Resume Example

How to use our Registered Nurse resume template

If you’re a registered nurse, you want to have an effective professional resume. To stand out from other candidates apply with a registered nurse resume that highlights your skills, experience and knowledge. Before you begin writing your customer service resume, follow this guide, which includes:

  • Expert free nursing resume templates and resume examples you can use as a foundation for your own resume.
  • Step-by-step advice for writing your own registered nurse resume.
  • Tips on formatting and writing a cover letter to accompany your resume.

What are employers looking for in a registered nurse resume?

Your certifications are very important in a registered nurse resume but a hiring manager also wants to see that you’re knowledgeable about patient care. Whether you’re planning to apply as a nurse practitioner, nursing assistant or another nursing position, you should showcase that you know how to provide nursing care for a wide variety of patients. Employers are also looking for skills in nursing candidates that show how you will perform nursing duties and interact with patients, their families, doctors, nurses and other health care staff.

It’s important that you read the job description carefully to match your skills and see the requirements of the position. Keywords, the words that describe skills and requirements, play a big role in whether your resume is scanned as a qualified candidate by applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATS is often used by busy hiring managers to select only the most qualified candidates for the role, based on specific job role keywords.

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How to pick the right format for your registered nurse resume

Depending on your level of nursing experience, you will want to select the resume format that will best highlight your career history.

The most popular resume formats are as follows:

Chronological resume

The chronological resume (also known as reverse chronological) is a popular format because it allows an experienced nurse to highlight work history and nursing-related skills. Simply list your most recent job first and go backwards to past nursing job roles. Your nursing skills combined with your work history while practicing in a hospital, clinic or medical office will show that you are qualified to perform specific job duties like assessing patients, administering medication, communicating, working collaboratively and adhering to safety standards.

Functional resume

A functional resume takes the focus off of work history and places it on a job candidate’s skill set, education and past training. A recent nursing program graduate, nursing student or a registered nurse that is rejoining the workforce after an absence, can benefit from following a functional resume format. In addition to highlighting your relevant skills, it is advantageous to include volunteer work that demonstrates nursing skills like multitasking, empathy, compassion, physical endurance and critical thinking.

Combination resume

A combination resume format (also referred as a hybrid resume), takes the best features from the chronological resume and functional resume formats. A nursing candidate can equally provide work experience and nursing skills to impress a hiring manager or recruiter. It’s an ideal nursing resume format for nurses in the process of changing careers or have indirect but relevant skills and experiences to pursue a nursing career.

More formatting tips

Whether you select a chronological, functional or combination resume format, you will want to present your information in as clear and easy-to-read fashion as possible. Using a professional font such as Arial or Verdana will ensure that your resume scans well in an applicant tracking system. Set up consistent line spacing in each resume section. Set your margins to one inch on all four sides and have a good balance between text and white space on the page so your information does not look crammed-in.

Our ResumeHelp Resume Builder can take the guesswork out of formatting your resume. It’s an easy step-by-step resume construction, using professional templates and providing expert writing suggestions.

How to write a nurse resume

Whether you select a chronological, functional or combination resume format, you will want to include the following resume sections:


Header and contact information

Your registered nurse resume begins with the header at the top of the page. Your most up-to-date contact information will be featured in the header so the prospective employer can easily locate your information on the resume to notify you for a job interview.

Contact information includes:

  • Full name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Social media profile links, such as LinkedIn

Resume summary or objective

Following your header will be a resume summary or objective. Experienced nurses with a few nursing jobs will want to write a resume summary. A recent nursing graduate or someone changing careers to nursing will want to write a resume objective.

A resume summary is two to three sentences long and offers the hiring manager a concise overview of your nursing work history and most proficient skills. This would include what types of nursing specialty you are experienced in.

A resume objective is the same length and provides an overview centered around career goals. In nursing, you would say how your skills were used on a daily basis in patient care (communication, empathy and dependability) and include future career goals, such as using your leadership skills to manage a team of nurses.

Registered nurse resume summary example:

Energetic pediatric nurse with more than seven years of experience in the high-volume pediatric unit of St. Luke’s Hospital. Looking to deliver patient care at North Shore University Hospital in the pediatric surgical unit. Received a 98% average rating by the St. Luke’s health care team for critical care, excellent communication skills, dedication, attention to detail and multitasking.

Registered nurse resume objective example:

Recent nursing graduate from Molloy College with four years of training in pediatric emergency care, looking to work in a hospital ICU department setting. Proven patient care experience with medical emergencies and a 5-star rating of excellent care from North Shore Hospital patients and families.


Skills section

When hiring managers or recruiters look at your registered nursing resume, they’ll want to be sure that your resume skills match what a registered nurse should possess. Here are a few resume skills examples to consider featuring on your resume in a bullet point format to stand out:

5 top nursing soft skills:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Empathy

5 top nursing hard skills:

  • Patient assessment and monitoring vital signs
  • CPR, Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)
  • Medication administration
  • IV-line placement
  • Infection control

An important fact to consider is that busy hiring managers use an ATS to scan for qualified registered nurse resumes. Be sure to include the skills required in the job description for the job you are applying to so you match the relevant keywords that an ATS is programmed to look for in a qualified applicant.


Work experience section

The work experience of your registered nurse resume shows the employer that you match the qualifications in the job description. Begin by listing your current or most recent nursing role and work backwards with your previous jobs.

Include the following:

  • Company name
  • Your position title
  • Years worked in that role
  • Brief description of your accomplishments

Whether you list experience as a registered nurse, licensed nurse, nursing assistant or nurse practitioner, describe your work highlights using action verbs. Also, try to quantify your nursing achievements by highlighting accomplishments rather than simply list routine job tasks. Read the job description carefully to match the specific responsibilities of the job that you are applying for.

Here are a few examples of work experience to consider for your registered nurse resume:

  • Executed detail-oriented patient care plans and medication administration with 100% accuracy.
  • Demonstrated critical-thinking skills when performing assessment skills to patient care.
  • Prepared 20+ patients daily for tests, procedures and surgeries as well as performed post-operative care.
  • Monitored continual patient lab work, reporting abnormal lab tests to physicians.
  • Provided health education to patients and families from admission through discharge.
  • Maintained direct communication and a professional rapport with 10+ staff physicians.


As a registered nurse, you already know the importance of presenting your education and credentials to the potential employer. This includes nursing school, licenses and certifications. To work as a registered nurse (RN), you will typically be expected to complete either two or four years of an accredited nursing program. It’s important you clearly and accurately list your education and include the following information:

  • Degree
  • Licensure
  • Name of the school
  • Graduation year
  • Academic honors and awards
  • Unless requested, don’t include your gpa

Here are a few examples of certifications on a registered nurse resume:

  • RN-BC: Ambulatory Care Nursing
  • RN-BC: Cardiac-Vascular Nursing
  • RNC-NIC Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing
  • OCN: Oncology Certified Nurse
  • TCRN: Trauma Certified Registered Nurse
  • AWCC: Advanced Wound Care Certification
  • CPR

Additional sections

To rise above the competition and create the most impressive registered nursing resume possible, consider additional resume sections that highlight your volunteer activities, additional training, awards or other certifications. Be sure to mention the organization name, location and time of involvement. This helps your professional resume demonstrate that you not only have the right work experience and skills but you have other special qualifications.

Here are some examples of awards:

  • North Shore Hospital Emergency Room Student Nurse Award
  • Smyrna Community Center Volunteer of Year Award
  • St. Peter’s Church Volunteer Service Award

Here are some volunteer activities that would benefit a registered nurse resume:

  • Volunteer – American Red Cross blood drive
  • Volunteer – American Heart Association health screening event
  • Volunteer – Smithville Homeless Shelter, first aid rep
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Write a nurse cover letter to accompany your resume

To complement your resume, a well-written cover letter can help you stand out among other job candidates. ResumeHelp features plenty of cover letter writing tips and nurse cover letter examples to help you create an effective professional cover letter.

Nursing Student Cover Letter – Discover our tips for a cover letter that will make a difference.

Cover letter examples – Follow examples and tips for a quick start to writing a nursing cover letter.

Cover letter builder – No need to write from scratch! Use our builder to create a professional cover letter in minutes.

How to write a cover letter – Get expert cover letter writing tips and examples to write a letter that will impress hiring managers.

Registered nurse cover letter example – See firsthand how to create a cover letter specifically for the nursing industry.

Nurse practitioner cover letter example – Here’s a great reference to write a cover letter for a nurse practitioner job.

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The big takeaways

  • Select a resume format: chronological, function or combination.
  • Carefully read the job description of the position you are applying for to tailor your resume.
  • Fill your resume with your best and most relevant work history and skills.
  • Describe work experience with action verbs to show how you demonstrated your nursing abilities.
  • Include measurable accomplishments to allow your achievements to be recognized.
  • Highlight your best nursing hard skills and soft skills to show you are qualified.
  • If necessary, add additional resume sections to feature volunteer work, awards and certifications.
  • Hiring managers will appreciate a quick to read, one page resume so keep it concise.
  • Before you submit your resume, take the time to proofread for typos and other errors.
  • Create a job winning resume in minutes using the Resume Help Resume Builder.

FAQ: Registered Nurse Resumes

Have questions? We’re here to help.

When preparing a registered nurse resume, a job candidate will want to include the most impressive work history as possible. This will include a powerful mix of relevant work experience, proficient soft and hard skills and measurable accomplishments. Resume sections should include contact information, summary or objective, work history, skills, education, licensing and certifications, and additional sections for awards and volunteer work. Refer to our resume template for a registered nurse as your guide to creating the best resume.

All registered nurses (RN) are nurses but not all nurses are registered. A RN is a graduate from an accredited nursing program and met the state or national requirements to receive a nursing license. A licensed practical nurse (LPN) has a two year degree and passed the nursing licensure exam. An RN is licensed to perform more nursing duties than a LPN. A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a good starting point for aspiring nurses.

A registered nurse resume should be kept to a single page. Busy hiring managers may not have the time to review a two-page resume. If you’ve worked multiple nursing positions, list the most relevant nursing work history to showcase that your experience matches the level, qualifications, education and required skills of the position that you are applying for.

It’s always a good idea to include a cover letter for any job application, even if the application doesn’t specifically state that it requires one. This puts you ahead of all the other job seekers. You can find a nurse practitioner cover letter example at ResumeHelp and use our Cover Letter Builder to create your own.

If you don’t have a lot of experience in the nursing field, emphasize other types of experience. For example, if you did an internship or you did volunteer work, you can include this as part of your experience. Just because the resume templates for nurses say “work experience,” that doesn’t mean you have to stick to paid experience where you held a specific job title.

Resume keywords are the most important thing to pay attention to when you’re trying to apply to a variety of different jobs. With resume keywords, you’re essentially tailoring your resume to whatever a specific recruiter is looking for. It’s an effective way to make sure that your resume looks great for every job search. By looking at a registered nurse resume example, you will see how to change your resume to apply to different nursing positions.

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Ho Lin is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and editor with two decades of experience in content strategy, creation, and development. He holds a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University and his background includes experience aiding military veterans as they transition to civilian careers.

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