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Resume Preparation

The average resume receives 28 seconds of review. How do you make your resume stand out from the crowd? How do you get past this first step to an interview? What are employers scanning to find? How do you put a lifetime of experience on one or two pages (I have seen 20 page CVs)? Find the answers below.

Start with a summary of professional accomplishments: Remember that every employer wants to know what you can do for them. What have you accomplished? Tell them! List accomplishments that outline your ability to perform. Have you created revenue, saved money, decreased average length of stays, increased employee satisfaction, become skilled at complicated procedures, taken a burden off someone else's shoulders? How many beds or patients were under your care? How big was the unit? Did you do anything special there? Let the employer know about the good things you have done.

Education: If you have an MSN or BSN and are nationally certified as an advanced practice nurse, lead with your best foot forward. Put your education and certification information towards the top. You have invested thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into your credentials. Let your light shine!

Professional Experience: Start with your current position and work back to your first position out of school. Use a picture of an upside down pyramid to guide you. Devote more time to more recent and more responsible work, and less time to the job you had 10 years ago. Account for any potential gaps in your resume (raising children, pursuing advanced degrees, illness, etc.). Provide accurate information that can be supported by references. List your title, and the city and bedsize of the hospital, or clinic. Go beyond duties and responsibilities. Expand upon duties to relate what you achieved. If you have been productive up to this point, prospective employers can reasonably expect that you will continue in your track record of accomplishment.

Things you should include: Check your spelling. There can be no errors. Have someone who is objective take a look at your resume. Sometimes you cannot see errors, because you are too close. Focus on relevant professional information. If you have a leadership role in the community, list that in community involvement toward the end of the resume. Remember the context. Who will be reading this CV? Use esoteric or industry language that can impart your knowledge and expertise in your field. Use action words to stress your accomplishments. Keep things simple and easy to read. A well structured and cohesive resume can reflect on your ability to organize your professional activities. Most of all remember your objective, which is to get an interview. Ask yourself if the information you are providing will lead an employer to want to meet you personally.

Things you should not include: Do not provide references or salary information. Do not give reasons for leaving a previous position. These are all questions that can most appropriately be answered in your interview. See separate web page on interviewing skills. Do not supply false information. Even if you get the job, it can be grounds for dismissal when it is discovered. Do not supply personal information. The employer is interested in your professional background and experience and in whether or not you can do the job. Do not expect a resume to get you the job. Employers hire people, not paper. Your credentials may get you in the door, but that is just the first step.

Action Words: Lead with action words that let people see what you can do. Built, doubled, tripled, achieved, expanded, reduced, increased, directed, served, generated, established, consolidated, created, transformed, saved, designed, developed, conducted, initiated, maintained, improved, worked, wrote, invested, created, redesigned... the list goes on and on. Try to think of action words that apply to you.

Some Final Points: Use quality paper and a matching envelope if at all possible. If you are faxing a resume, and can fax it directly from the computer you will bypass the scanning and reading stages and it will look much better. Remember, first impressions can make a difference, so think about all you have to offer, and do a great job of selling yourself and all you have to offer.

Interviewing Skills was authored by Ted Young, the President of HealthCare Consultants, a search firm which is dedicated to nurses and which is primarily devoted to helping Advanced Practice Nurses. HealthCare Consultants, as a firm, insists on making you the star of the show. More information on HealthCare Consultants can be obtained by writing:

Ted Young
919 North Sunset
Olathe, KS 66061
Phone: (913) 326-3600


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Copyright 1994-2003 NP Central

Content copyright 1996 Ted Young

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Last updated: September 3, 2019