The frantic pace of studying and final exams is finally starting to wear off, and the thrill of graduation is, at last, a reality. As a recent nursing graduate, your next hurdle to clear is one that might just send your blood pressure skyward: putting together your new grad nursing resume. The first nursing job you secure after graduating is an important one – it will not only be the first place you’ll get to put all those hard-won skills to use but set the tone for the rest of your nursing career. Here’s how to write a new graduate nurse resume that will help you properly showcase your clinical experience and patient care skills and help you land the position you’ve been looking forward to since your very first semester!

Writing Your New Grad Travel Nurse Resume: A Helpful Guide

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that healthcare traveler jobs require a nursing resume. While this might seem obvious, many new graduates get stressed at the “blank space” under work experience and feel that listing stints in retail or food service are better than nothing. Any medical office or organization that’s considering hiring you as a Registered Nurse or Nurse Practitioner will know that you’ve been in nursing school. Your main resume objective should be showcasing your applicable nursing skills and knowledge base than your history serving food or folding shirts. 

To put it another way, after a full degree’s worth of nursing education, you likely have more vocational highlights than you may realize. Consider questions like these when writing your new grad nurse resume:

  • Did I achieve top-of-class honors in a particular exercise, test, or exam of importance?
  • Have I completed any classwork projects or specialized healthcare research modules I could mention?
  • Does my educational experience include any medical shadowing or volunteer work I could highlight?
  • While in school, did I show demonstrable interest or research in a specific niche medical subject?

Secondly, double-check all spelling and numbers. While a typo might not be a deal-breaker on a traditional resume, reversing numbers, misspellings, omitting words or other mistakes are a serious issue for potential nurses. To step into your interviewers’ shoes, if a nurse makes a numerical error on their resume, what’s to say they won’t make that same mistake in milligrams when dosing a patient? Your new nurse resume is your first opportunity to show your new employers that you can be trusted with attention to detail, so make sure you impress.

Finally, keep things straightforward and honest as a general rule. The old adage about those that tell the truth never struggling to remember what they’ve said holds true here. If you find yourself feeling like you aren’t good enough or don’t have enough experience, remember that every other nursing student out there is in the same boat – and that every nurse was once a new, uncertain graduate. Just stick to the facts and emphasize your strong suit(s) in terms of classes, previous positions, and certifications, and you’ll have a stellar result in the end.

How Do I Write A Good Nursing Resume?

While crafting a resume that asserts your talent as a nurse when you’ve just graduated is daunting, remember that even the most skilled nurses started exactly where you are right now. Be confident in your own talents, and remember that you earned your degree – and you deserve both recognition and consideration for that fact alone. This doesn’t mean an “easy in” to any position you want, of course, but it does mean you should consciously shake off any imposter syndrome before putting proverbial pen to paper.

Take your time writing your resume, and always double-check facts, dates, and spelling. Have a friend, ideally, a peer in the nursing community, look it over before sending it along to an interviewer. Fresh eyes can catch typos or errors you may miss, particularly after working on the same document for hours. 

Should I Put RN BSN On My Resume?

In a word: yes! Those initials represent years of hard work, late nights studying, and challenging exams – and this is everything you’ve been building to. Don’t tuck them in under your education header or mention them as a footnote. You should either put them right after your name, up at the very top of your resume along with your contact information. Your interviewer should know immediately that you’re qualified for the job you’re applying to, and that you’re ready to step into those professional shoes as soon as possible. 

What Are the Essentials for Creating A New Nurse Resume?

1. Follow the Standard Resume Etiquette

Don’t forget about the basics. Unless you are given specific guidance, stick to the general rules of creating a resume.

  • Keep the resume to one page.
  • Use “clean” fonts only, such as Time New Roman Arial, Or Calibri.
  • Stick to only ONE font on your resume. If you want to use variation use bold or italics.
  • Font text should not be smaller than 10 pt or larger than 12 pt (excluding the headers
  • Save and upload your resume as a PDF. This prevents your resume from changing formatting when it’s opened on another computer.

2. Layout is Important

Overall, the layout of your registered nurse resume matters and you want it to be structured well. To avoid your resume from looking sloppy or unappealing, be sure to find a resume template that is aesthetically appealing and sensible. Find a resume example that has a great structure and layout and use it as a reference.

  • Be sure your sections include the following (order you put them in is important. We encourage you to do something similar):
  • Basic Contact Information
  • Resume Objective
  • Licenses & Certifications
  • Education
  • Professional Experience
  • Activities

3. Choose Your Language Carefully

Be sure to use action words that show initiative instead of passive words. Avoid words that show you imply you are simply following orders. We recommended using Active Language and Quantifiable Words.

4. Tailor Your Resume to the Specific Employer & Job Posting

Remember that one resume does not fit all nurse jobs. It’s important to customize your resume for the specific job position you’re applying for.

5. Be Successful With Applicant Screen Software

Most hospitals use applicant screening software to weed out unqualified candidates before a hiring manager ever sees their resume. That’s why it’s important to use keywords and phrases you see in the job posting.

What Do You Put On A Resume For A New Grad RN?

As with a traditional resume, your nursing resume should contain four essential parts: 

1. Your Self-Summary:

This is in addition to, not replacing, any cover letter attached to your resume – it should be short, simple, and to the point – no more than 3 or 4 sentences, at most. Think of it as introducing your strongest attributes to your interviewer in roughly a minute’s worth of reading time. Because resumes are typically scanned top-to-bottom, and nursing positions are often extremely competitive, this is your chance to capture your interviewer’s attention and really shine.

Resume tip: Like a cover letter, this section should always be tailored to the actual position you’re applying for. It’s good practice to name-drop the facility –e.g., “I feel like I’d be an excellent fit for Smith Doctors of the Triad because…” as this will show you’ve given thought and consideration to that particular position, rather than blanketing every open job with a static nursing resume.

2. Relevant Work Experience: The key word here is relevant. As much as your non-nursing work experience should remain off of your new grad nursing resume, make sure you tailor your previous work to the position you’re seeking. For example, if you’re applying for a pediatric care position, you’ll want to note any volunteer work you’ve done in children’s wards prominently. 

Resume tip: As a general rule of thumb, it’s always better to list your actual duties of a given position than to claim a title you weren’t given. Better to say that you “helped supervise a floor of 100 patients and assisted with X, Y, and Z” rather than embellishing yourself into a supervisor if you were never granted the position. For obvious reasons, nursing position applicants are carefully researched, and even a little white lie can tank your chances before a second interview if references are contacted.

3. Your Educational Journey: While nursing degrees are meant to signify a core level of competency and knowledge, that doesn’t mean that all educational paths are the same. This section is your chance to highlight standout moments in your educational career; electives that you achieved a high grade in, advanced level classes you took to gain expertise in your speciality. 

Resume tip: When listing your educational facilities, always write out the full legal name of the school – e.g. “Smith-Caroline College of Nursing” rather than “Smith-Caroline” or “Smith-Caroline College.” As previously mentioned, attention to detail is crucial for anyone in the medical profession, and crossing your proverbial t’s on your resume will reassure them you’ll continue to do so in a clinical setting. Complete each school listing with the physical location (city, state) of the school, the year(s) you attended, when you graduated, and what degree(s) you graduated with. 

  • Licensing or Certifications: As a newly-minted nurse, some of the most powerful tools in your arsenal of being “hireable” are your certifications. These typically travel with you regardless of position, though you’ll want to make sure those you list are applicable in the state/county/area you’re physically applying in. 

Resume tip: Always include all licensing number(s) associated with your certifications, the certifying/governing body, and the periods in which your RN license or certification is valid.

Finally, be sure to include any special skills you may have, such as speaking Spanish or being fluent in ASL. While your nursing-related skills will bring you to the door, knowing how to communicate in two languages might just get it to open a little further. 

How Do You Write A Nursing Resume With No Experience?

The time-honored struggle of any long-term college student, lack of experience is an especially difficult hurdle for those entering the medical field. Because the demands of nursing school for all types of nurses are so rigorous, squeezing in a relevant job – unless, of course, it’s for a class or provides college credit – is nearly impossible. 

Again, any facility interviewing a new nursing grad should be well aware of that demanding schedule, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t emphasize work of other varieties. Carefully record any volunteer work, any shadowing work, and any work in the medical field in general: even if it was for a class, it was still a valuable, viable experience that can translate well on a resume.

While it’s tempting to inflate or embellish on a new grad nursing resume, don’t. It will be a smarter and more ethical move in the long run to be honest – that you may be short on experience, but you’re eager to prove your skills and pursue your nursing career. Once you’ve finished writing your resume, apply at Host Healthcare to find the perfect travel nursing assignment for you!

Sources Cited:

1)      “How to Write a New Grad Nursing Resume.”, February 4, 2020, Accessed July 21, 2020.

2)      Gibson, Angelina. “Ultimate Guide To Nursing Resumes.”, (no publish date), Accessed July 21, 2020.

3)      Carlson, Keith. “Avoid Three Common Nursing Resume Mistakes.” American, March 14, 2017, mistakes/#:~:text=1.,Flaunt%20Your%20Credentials&text=If%20you’re%20an%20RN,resume%2C%20right%20after%20your%20name!. Accessed July 21, 2020.