How to Write a Nursing Resume

Completing the demanding requirements to become a Registered Nurse (RN) or secure a degree in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) is a great start to a successful and rewarding career. However, to make sure one gets started on the right path, learning how to market one’s self effectively is an essential tool.

Creating and maintaining a solid resume will not only help job candidates get noticed for the best available positions, but will help them to negotiate for a higher salary as well. Learning how to structure a resume for a nursing job is an important step in obtaining the best possible position.

Below are some helpful tips for creating a winning resume. These tips are here to get you started. Individual job candidates are encouraged to seek professional help with creating their resume.


This area of the resume is typically in the section under an applicant’s name and contact information. The objective is one or two sentences that include the position title of interest, preferred shift, the floor or unit where the position is located, and if the applicant is willing to relocate, if necessary. The objective helps to begin tailoring the resume for the position being applied for. The objective is very important as it sets the tone for the rest of the document and gives the potential employer the proverbial first impression of you. Emphasizing experience and education that pertains to the position will help get the applicant noticed as well.


This section is set aside for a list of degrees and where the applicant attended school. In chronological order, the applicant lists the type of degree, year completed, and any specialty areas where they may have gained additional knowledge. This is also a good place to list any relevant exam scores and any academic achievements, awards, scholarships, or fellowships. One should list an outstanding GPA or related coursework here as well.

Previous Experience

In order of the most recent job positions held, list past jobs including the title, place of employment and what skills were gained during the time of employment. Be sure to highlight any specialty experience that pertains to the job application and anything done that was considered above and beyond the normal job duties. If one has been out of the nursing profession for a while it may be wise to divide this section into two parts – Nursing Experience and Additional Work Experience. This will allow the applicant to showcase all of their nursing history and experience.

Professional Certifications and Licenses

Certifications are obviously very important to include on a nursing resume. These can be listed within the education section or on their own. List all certifications and the date when they were completed. When it comes to including licenses, it is important to list the state(s) where they were obtained and make sure to include the license number.

Specialty Skills

Ideally, these skills should have been stated throughout the resume already. However, this is a good place to reassert all of the individual skills that pertain to the job description, including any skills that you have yet to mention. Always list any applicable skills with patients or any classes and trainings given to either patients or to the community.

Cover Letter

A cover letter is where one can be more personal and highlight non-professional traits that she can bring to the position. This is where one can state personal career goals and how they relate to the job she is applying for. It is recommended to keep a cover letter relatively short, two paragraphs is more than enough. A cover letter can make or break a resume. Make sure it is not too long, remains on topic, and contains something that will catch the interviewer’s attention.

Professional References

Include a list of at least three top tier supervisors that the applicant has worked for, their telephone numbers and addresses. They do not need to be for recent positions. One should not submit a resume without adding all of the reference information.

No matter what nursing position a person is applying for, it is important to take the time to create an outstanding resume and cover letter, as this is truly the first impression that an employer will have of a potential job candidate. Once a “base” resume is created, it is much easier to tailor the documents to meet the needs of the various job positions being applied for. Taking the time to follow the suggestions and guidelines above can help you find a successful and rewarding position within the nursing field.

Start Advancing Your Career Today

Get program guide
YES! Please send me a FREE brochure with course info, pricing and more!