10 Resume Tips for Nursing Jobs

If you are looking for nursing and allied health jobs, use these tips today!

resume tips for nursing jobs

If you are looking for a nursing job or a job in the field of allied health, your resume is the first thing a potential employer will want to see. Whether you are applying for a job online, emailing your resume to someone, or handing a resume directly to a hiring manager, you want your resume to stand out.

Remember, a resume is your way of marketing yourself to employers, so you want it to emphasize your most important work experience and clinical skills. And as much as possible, you want your skills to match the skills that appear in the job ad.

Help, I don’t have any job experience to put on my resume!

Some people who are just starting out their careers, or who are currently in training for nursing and allied health jobs, are concerned that they do not have any work experience to put on their resumes. This is a valid concern, but there are things you can do to make your resume as strong as it can be. One suggestion is to write a skills-based resume that emphasizes your clinical skills rather than your work experience. See a sample skills-based resume to give you an idea of what we mean.

Below are 10 suggestions for writing and strengthening your resume for nursing and allied health jobs.

(1) Select a resume template. Make a plain, unformatted version too.

  • Resume templates: Look for the resume templates in your Word program. Most programs have professional-looking resume designs that are easy to use. Use a designed resume if you know a person will be reading your resume (not a computer).
      • Pick a business-like design. Avoid too many frills and colors.
      • Use a basic font, such as Calibri, Helvetica, or Garamond.
      • If you know a computer won’t be reading it, submit it as a PDF.
  • Plain, unformatted resumes: Plain resumes don’t look as nice, but they are necessary for online job applications where a computer scans and tracks your resume.
      • Use a basic font, such as Calibri, Helvetica, or Garamond.
      • Do not use any graphics, fancy fonts, or horizontal lines. These may confuse the computer. To separate the elements of your resume, you can use these symbols: equal signs (=), tildes (~), hyphens (-), and boldface.

(2) Include the right contact information at the top.

  • It sounds simple, but it never hurts to check that all your contact info is correct:
      • First and last name
      • Mailing address including zip code
      • Full telephone number (all 10 digits), both landline and mobile
      • Email address
      • LinkedIn address (a shortened address is best)
  • Consider your voicemail greeting. Is it professional? Would you want an employer to hear it? If not, re-record it.
  • Consider your email address. Is it business-like? If not, it’s time to get a new one. Keep your address simple, with your first and last name in it. Avoid funny or inappropriate addresses.

(3) Write a brief objective statement.

  • An objective statement should explain your short-term immediate career goal and how you will bring value to the employer.
  • For example: “I am seeking a Licensed Nursing Assistant position in a nursing home. My strengths are my work ethic, professional attitude, and clinical skills.”

(4) Write a summary statement (optional).

  • Summary statements are optional. They tend to be used by people with long careers and many professional accomplishments. People who are newer to their fields often do not include a summary.
  • For example: “A practical nurse with over 20 years of experience in caring for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, physical disabilities, and terminal illnesses.”

(5) Create a skills-based resume if you are new to the field.

  • If you are just completing your nursing or allied health training, and have not had previous job experience, you can write a skills-based resume.
  • List all of the clinical skills, patient procedures, administrative skills, and customer services skills that you have learned in your job training program.
  • Don’t forget other skills or certs you may have completed, such as First Aid or CPR.
  • If you worked in a paid or unpaid internship or externship, you can use this as job experience. Explain your internship title, the facility where you worked, what job skills you used in the internship, and the number of hours you completed. Make it clear that this was a temporary unpaid position.
  • Review the keywords: Remember that a computer may be reading your resume, and computers scan for keywords. Be sure to use the same terminology as the job ad uses. For instance, if the job ad for a practical nurse says you will need to “record health history” and “deliver lab specimens,” be sure to use these actual words. A computer might not catch it if your resume says “take patient history” or “handle laboratory samples.”

(6) Frame your job experience using powerful language.

  • First, gather up your information about past jobs. For each job, you should include the name of the company, your job title, and when you worked there.
  • Next, for each job, you should write 1 to 3 brief sentences describing how you benefited your employer. Use strong verbs. Use numbers where possible to quantify what you did.
  • For example, let’s say you worked at Target. Even though this job is not in your new field, you can highlight skills that will transfer to your new field of nursing and allied health.
      • Example of a weak job description: “Worked as a cashier.”
      • Example of a strong job description: “Served an average of 150 customers every day with a positive, helpful attitude. Exhibited professionalism while handling customer questions and complaints. Volunteered 5 hours for company-wide community service project. Received strong employee evaluations.”

(7) Highlight your education and training.

  • Potential employers in the field of allied health will want to know where you received your training. Put your most relevant training at the top of this section.
  • For each degree/certificate, write the name of the school, the program you completed, and the year you completed it.
  • Remember to include any awards or honors. If you had a high GPA, you can include that too.

(8) Contact your professional references.

  • Most employers will want a list of professional references. Sometimes you need to supply this list at the time of application, and other times you won’t need it until after a job interview.
  • Ask three to five people if they will be your references. Make sure they are people who know your professional skills. You could ask your teachers, school administrators, internship or job supervisors, or former co-workers. You should not use any friends or family members as references.
  • Make a list that includes their full names, job titles, and full contact information, including accurate phone numbers and email addresses.

(9) Do some final polishing.

  • Your resume should be one page long, using 11- or 12-point type. If it’s longer, try to shorten the words, or adjust the margins or point sizes slightly.
  • Ask a respected friend or colleague to read your resume. Ask him or her to tell you if anything needs improvement, and also to check for spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • Ask an expert. If you attend a school with a Career Development department, ask an adviser for help. These professionals are trained to help students create winning resumes.

(10) Make it public on LinkedIn!

  • Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Most employers expect applicants to have a LinkedIn file, where they can read more about you. LinkedIn is like an online version of your resume, with a lot of added features. You can use LinkedIn to network with others in your field, search for job openings, and get a feel for what is happening in your career field.
  • You can copy most of your resume into your LinkedIn profile. Then use LinkedIn’s prompts to create additional content that employers may want to see. Try these tips for creating a LinkedIn profile.

There, you’ve made your way to the final tip! We hope these suggestions are useful to you as you start your resume and begin your journey toward a new job!


The Salter School of Nursing and Allied Health in Manchester, NH, offers career-focused training for Licensed Nursing Assistants, Practical Nurses, and Patient Care Technicians. Our blog features job-related articles and advice, and is available for free to our students and the public. For more information about our school, contact us with our simple online form.

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