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Resume Writing: An Overview

29 Oct

A resume is a marketing tool. It must convince potential employers to learn more about the applicant, and its immediate goal is that of securing an interview for the As a nurse, your resume must illustrate what you can do and what you have learned, as well as any experience or accomplishments that you have obtained. Remember, the hiring manager reading through your resume has a problem – they have an open position that they need to fill, and they need to fill it with the right person. Your job is to use your resume to show that hiring manager how and why you are that right person!

Most resumes will include the following:

  • Contact Information: Include your name, address, home telephone number, and personal email address. You can include a permanent and current address if you know or think that you will move during the application process. When including your personal email, make sure that it is professional! For example, you may choose over
  • Objective Statement: Clearly state what you want and what you can do. If you are applying for a specific position, you should note that position in your objective statement. For example: RN position in a pediatric critical care unit. If you are not seeking a position in a specific area, you do not need to include an objective statement.
  • Qualifications Summary: Provide a broad overview of any skills or qualifications that you possess, and highlight how they relate to the position that you are seeking. Recent graduates may omit this section if it repeats information included in the Education and Professional Experience sections. Remember, this is a broad overview. You can include specific details and examples when noting your Professional Experience.
  • Various sections (with headings) as needed: You may opt to include sections noting your Professional Experience, Education, Professional Organizations, Volunteer/Community Service, etc. Use headings to identify each section – keep these headings consistent throughout your resume.
    • Professional Experience: Use a heading to identify your section, and a headline to note where you worked and when you worked there. Begin with the most recent position and work your way back chronologically. Make sure to include the title of the position, the name and location of employment, and the dates employed. You may also include a bulleted list of specific skills, tasks, etc., completed while working in that position.
    • Education: Use a heading to identify your section, and a headline to note where you went to school and when you attended. Begin with the most recent institution and work your way back. You do not need to list high school education on your professional resume. Include the name of the institution, its location, the degree and major that you pursued, and your date (or anticipated date) of graduation. Include your undergraduate GPA if it is above a 3.5/4.0 scale, and your graduate GPA if it is above 3.75/4.0 (or if the job listing specifies that you should otherwise include it).
    • Professional Experience: Include all related experience in this section, such as work experience, internships, assistantships, research projects, etc. You do not need to include entry-level or unrelated positions. Include the title of your position, the name of the company or experience, its location, and the time you volunteered/served in years. Some online applications may also indicate that you should include your supervisor’s name and contact information.
    • Volunteer/Community Service: Include any volunteer work or community service only if it is related to the position that you are seeking, or if you held a leadership position. Include your title (Member, Team Leader, etc.), the name of the group or organization you volunteered or served with, its location, and the time you volunteered/served in years.  
    • Optional Sections: If relevant, you may include any of the following: professional memberships, publications, language skills, technological proficiences, honors/awards, etc.

Helpful Hints to Get Started:

  • Microsoft Office/Microsoft Word features a number of premade resume templates. Use a template to help you determine where to put different information and to maintain clear and consistent formatting throughout your resume.
  • It is best to gather your materials before you begin writing. Having the job posting or a similar posting in front of you as you write can help you to recognize things that you should include or emphasize in your resume. Making a list of all of your work experience and educational details can help you fill in these areas quickly and efficiently.
  • In the past, many resumes included the applicant’s references and their contact information. Now, applicants tend to include “References available upon request” on their resume. Be prepared, though, to submit the names and contact information for three professional, educational, or personal contacts who can recommend you!
  • Structure your resume around what you want to emphasize. No work experience but an abundance of education and research experience? Highlight this by placing the areas you want to emphasize at the beginning of your resume.
  • If you get stuck while constructing your resume, feel free to schedule an appointment in the Writing Center for help!