Frequently Asked Questions about Resumes for Nursing Students

Crafting a good resume is a foundational skill, since you are essentially “pitching yourself” to your future employers. For nursing students or fresh graduates, the prospect may seem intimidating as there is a lot of ground to cover. 

It is never too early to get started planning for your future job prospects. To give you a headstart, we will go over the most commonly asked questions regarding nursing resumes. 

What kind of experiences should I include?

Although nursing students typically do not have extensive clinical experiences to cite, you can still build a healthy portfolio while you are studying. For example: A number of non-nursing experiences like writing, budgeting, people management and more have a number of skills that are transferable to the nursing profession. In addition, it shows just how flexible you are in a professional setting. 

Clinical rotations are another great item to add to your nursing resume. Be sure to go into detail regarding which departments you worked under, the skills you built, and notable achievements during your tenure. 

Consider picking up volunteer work, when you can. Whether you are working with blood banks, shelters or other outreach programs, adding this to your resume emphasizes your generosity and your commitment to your profession. 

What kind of content should my resume include? 

If you can help it, your resume content must be directly relevant to the position you are applying for. If you are applying for cardiology, you should emphasize skills and prior work experience directly related to that field. 

Keep in mind that you do not need to scratch for each new application. You can write a “base”resume that you edit and tweak, according to a hospital or field’s specifications. 

Do I really need to write a cover letter? 

At first glance, cover letters may seem like a waste of time. It is additional work and many facilities do not strictly require one. 

In actuality, cover letters provide nurses the opportunity to express to facilities your passion for the role you are applying for. You can also stress the unique skills and traits that you bring to the table, as opposed to other applicants. 

If a facility strictly states that they only want the resume, then you can hold off on this. For every other submission, cover letters are well worth considering. 

How long should my resume be? 

Per the Yale School of Nursing, it is recommended that your resume is at least one or two pages, “depending on your level of experience.” You also want to make sure that the formatting (capitalization, font, punctuation, spacing, etc) is consistent throughout the document.