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How to Build Your Resume for a Nursing Career
Get resume advice for every step of your career path, using these employer-ready nursing examples and tips.
Career Track: Intensive Care Nursing
Intensive care nurses provide care for patients who have life-threatening medical conditions, working in areas such as life support care and invasive monitoring. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses will see a healthy 12% growth in jobs by 2028.
Licensed Practical Nurse $44,090 Median Salary
Resume Format: Functional
Use this format to best present your training and qualifications, particularly the skills you have that you can apply to the job, such as a compassionate and friendly demeanor, or superior knowledge of nursing and medical terminology.
Summary statement tip: In a few sentences, provide an overview of your key professional skills and achievements. Emphasize the skill sets you possess that would help in performing your nursing duties efficiently, such as exceptional communication skills or flexibility. Note any necessary certifications you have for the role, such as Also, list out any necessary training you’ve completed, such as LPN certification or CPR certification.
Skills to feature: Match your skill set with the job requirements in filling out this section. Most employers will look for abilities such as:
- Oral communication
- Care plan assessment
- Glucose checks and blood pressure monitoring
- PICC line care
- Patient and family education
Get to the next level: Fast-track your career by making sure you’ve had the following training under your belt, giving you an edge over other candidates.
- Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) certificate or diploma
- Associate degree in Nursing
- IV certification
- CPR and basic life support certification
- Courses in anatomy and physiology
Registered Nurse $73,550 Median Salary
Resume format: Combination
As this position usually requires a few years of nursing experience, use a combination resume, which features both your top related skills as well as highlights from your work history. Remember to focus on accomplishments rather than rote tasks (e.g., “Provided accurate and timely patient documentation for 300+ patients a week in a health clinic”).
Summary statement tip: Create an “elevator pitch” which explains to the employer why you’re a good fit for the job. Mention your best skills and experiences, as well as the formal training you’ve had. For example: “Certified Registered Nurse with 3+ years experience providing direct quality care at 1,000-bed hospital. Skilled in managing rotation schedules and interacting with patients of all ages.”
Skills to feature: List a combination of soft skills and hard skills that fit the registered nurse position, including:
- Critical thinking
- Record keeping
- Care and discharge planning
- Knowledge of emergency care
- Patient education
- Wound dressing
Get to the next level: To take the next step in your career, continue to gain experiences in managing processes and other team members, and further your education with more studies in specialized fields, such as:
- AIDS Certified Registered Nurse
- Certified Pediatric Nurse
- Oncology Certified Nurse
- Family Nurse Practitioner
- Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
Intensive Care Unit Nurse $74,988 Median Salary
Resume format: Chronological
For this position, a strong work history is an important factor, so use this format to show a solid career path. Focus on presenting a wide range of abilities in your skills section, and demonstrate how you’ve successfully deployed these skills in your work experience section (e.g., “Tested vital signs and managed I+Os to patients in ICU of 50+ patients”).
Summary statement tip: Make the right impression by presenting key achievements and attributes that fit the job posting. For example, if the job calls for “ability to communicate effectively with residents, families, staff, vendors and the general public,” address this ability: “Seasoned Intensive Care Nurse with 7+ years experience collaborating with doctors, patients and vendors to provide exceptional care in busy urban hospital.”
Skills to feature: In addition to matching any skills the job requires, you should consider adding these abilities in this section:
- IV therapy
- Pain management
- Nebulizer treatment
- Ventricular Assist Device patient care
- Seizure precautions
- Specimen collection
Get to the next level: To continue moving ahead, continue to take on management responsibilities, and take advantage of opportunities to help improve hospital processes. You should also continue expanding your knowledge base:
- Join a specialty nursing organization and obtain certification in a nursing specialty
- Make time to attend nursing conferences and other functions where you can network and keep up with industry trends
Career Track: Nursing Case Management
In nursing, case management calls for thorough, ongoing assessments of patient conditions and effective treatment planning. The need for case management will continue to grow: By the year 2060, the U.S. population in the 65+ age group is estimated to grow to 98 million, necessitating more case managers in this field.
Certified Nursing Assistant: $26,590 Median Salary
Resume format: Functional
This format allows you to categorize your skills, drawing attention to your abilities rather than work experience (or lack thereof). Be sure to review each job you apply to for the specific work requirements, and list abilities you already have that match these requirements, such as moving and cleaning equipment, or organizing and delivering samples.
Summary statement tip: In this section, highlight both hard skills (such as your certification) and soft skills (such as your friendly, professional demeanor) that are crucial for a certified nursing assistant. If you’ve had any training or volunteer experiences that show your proficiency, include them. For example: “Certified nursing assistant with extensive volunteer experience developing excellent working relationships with residents and staff at 100+ bed nursing home.”
Skills to feature: Be sure to include important soft skills such as verbal and written communication, empathy, calmness and multitasking abilities. Create a separate category for practical or medical skills that showcase the knowledge you’ve gained through formal training, such as:
- Using a stethoscope
- Blood glucose monitoring
- Blood pressure metering
- Using thermometers
- Using defibrillators
- Using Hoyer lifts
Get to the next level: Continue to gain practical work experience, and obtain additional skills through training and certifications. The next step forward is to become a Licensed Practical Nurse or Licensed Vocational Nurse, focus on training in primary nursing care, medications and biology, with the goal of eventually taking a state exam for practical nursing.
Office Registered Nurse: $70,258 Median Salary
Resume format: Combination
This format provides a balanced selection of skills and work experiences, proving you have both the right abilities and work history for the job. Concentrate on a mix of practical and intangible skills, and feature specific achievements. For example: “Collaborated with intake, referral and quality assurance teams to ensure superior service for health clinic serving 500+ patients.”
Summary statement tip: Provide an overview of your abilities and work experiences that are most relevant to the job. For example, if the job calls for scheduling surgical procedures and ensuring completion of necessary forms, you could write: “Experienced office registered nurse well-versed in administering schedules and patient paperwork for medical office that serves 20+ patients daily.”
Skills to feature: Showcase the following skills in your resume:
- Attention to detail
- Nursing expertise
- Medical teamwork
- Interpersonal skills
- Collaboration with internal staff and vendors
Get to the next level: To grow your career, continue to gain experiences in managing office documentation, scheduling, and timely treatments, and document your successes in growing a patient base and showcasing excellent service (e.g., positive ratings on websites such as healthgrades.com). Also look into joining associations and attending conferences in order to build a strong network with other healthcare professionals.
Nurse Case Manager: $71,372 Median Salary
Resume format: Chronological
This position calls for experience, so call on a chronological format for your resume. Within this layout, you can provide more details on your work history and accomplishments, resulting in a full overview of your career progress.
Summary statement tip: To grab a hiring manager’s attention, present your best qualifications and work achievements up front, along with any certifications or training that fits the particular job. For example: “Registered nurse case manager with 8 years’ experience specializing in workplace injuries. Provides superior management in assisting insurance company adjusters, attorneys, physicians and other healthcare professionals.”
Skills to feature:
- Medication management and education
- Healthcare management
- Collaborating with healthcare providers
- Wound assessment and treatment
- Problem-solving and decision making
- Strong interpersonal skills
- RN state license
- Critical assessment skills
- Working knowledge of office software
- Knowledgeable in utilization review and medical terminology
Get to the next level: Look to take a higher-level graduate nursing program, as well as specialized courses in areas such as anatomy, clinical research and health policy.
Recommended Nursing Resume Templates
Get your nursing resume in perfect order using these three professionally-designed templates.
This crisp layout uses a band of color and a two-column layout to both present an eye-catching look and neatly organize your information.
This template uses a straightforward design and judicious use of bold fonts to easily distinguish section headings, with the job applicant’s name prominently featured.
This design provides plenty of leeway to customize each section of your resume, while its classy look and subtle use of colors makes it stand out.
Nursing Resume FAQ
1. How should you format your resume based on your career level?
A functional format emphasizes relevant skill sets rather than work history, and is a good choice for first-time job seekers. A chronological format is ideal for those who have a consistent work history of over five years in the field. A combination resume, as the name suggests, is a mix of the functional and chronological resumes, with both skills and relevant work experiences getting the spotlight. This format is good for those with moderate work experience, or are changing careers from another field.
2. What are the qualities and traits that employers are looking for in this industry?
Skills that are in demand for this field include:
- Communication skills
- Attention to detail
- Problem-solving skills
- Physical stamina
- Patient assessment and care
- Expertise in healthcare software
- Patient education
- Knowledge of medical terminology and tools
- Ability to handle crisis situations
- Good listening skills
3. What are other useful certifications and training for this job category?
Nursing activities and roles are constantly evolving — keep abreast of changes by taking courses and certification programs in specialized areas, such as diet therapy, COVID-19 care or dementia. Also look to get an advanced degree in Nursing or a related field