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The Ultimate Guide to Nurse Resumes: Examples, Template, and Practical Tips

Audrey McCollough, RN, BSN
June 21, 2023
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Resume writing can stir up anxiety for most, and it can be difficult to find resources that speak specifically to nursing resumes. Our profession's unique nature, combined with its varying clinical and non-clinical roles, often makes it challenging to structure our experience to fit the guidelines of a standard resume. 

So, how do you effectively capture the depth and value of your experience as a nurse on your next job search? Whether you’re a travel nurse looking for your next travel nursing job, a new grad nurse seeking your first role, or a nurse looking for your next staff role, this guide has got you covered with tons of helpful tips - you can even download a version of your resume, ready to submit! 

Let’s get started! 

How Travel Nurse Resumes Are Used

To really understand how to write a great travel nurse resume, you have to know how it’s used in the application process. The traditional image of a hiring manager with thick-rimmed glasses leafing through an endless stack of papers no longer applies to the general job market, let alone travel nursing. Recruiters primarily dissect your resume, and the hiring manager typically gets only the pertinent info of the candidates the recruiter has passed through to them.

Moreover, the use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) is becoming increasingly prevalent in most industries, including healthcare. An ATS is a piece of technology that can quickly screen applications to filter out those without the qualifications that the position needs- before your resume even gets to the recruiter! While this system might seem impersonal, it's absolutely possible to have them work in your favor- you just have to work the system!  The key is making sure that you have designed your nursing resume to be readable by the ATS and to include key qualifications for the role you’re applying to. Follow the information outlined in this guide and you’ll be good to go! 

The Importance of a Strong Resume

Despite the nursing shortage, the most sought-after positions remain incredibly competitive, so it’s important to make a strong first impression through your resume. Even though hiring managers may not spend much time reading your resume, it’s still one of the best ways for a company or recruiter to quickly have a sense of what you bring to the table. Having all the information about your professional qualifications and work history succinctly summarized in one place will allow your recruiter to quickly determine which positions will be a good fit. By creating a solid resume base, you can easily add on and adapt it to each role you apply to in the future, so let’s get started! 

Ideal Format and Length for any Nurse Resume

Before writing your resume, you’ll need a foundation to build upon. That's where your travel nurse resume outline comes in: it's a skeleton that organizes all the information you’ll need into neat, streamlined sections. Whether it’s seen by a recruiter, a hiring manager, or an ATS, the general rules that should guide the way your template looks and how it is written remain the same.

Formatting Your Nurse Resume

When it comes to formatting your nurse resume, always remember to keep it simple. Because your application will likely go through an ATS at some point, you want to make it as easy for the tracking system software to read as possible.  So while we’re all for aesthetics, you’re going to need to leave the pizzaz for the actual interview. 

Here are some tips to keep your resume ATS-friendly (and reader):

  • Avoid fancy headers or footers.
  • Avoid special fonts. We recommend Arial, Trebuchet MS, or Times New Roman. 
  • Keep font size easy on the eyes.  For headers, aim for 28-35pt, individual section headers 14-16pt, and body content: 10-12pt.  Don’t go smaller than 10- no ones likes reading fine print! 
  • Don't insert pictures, videos, graphs, or any other visuals.  Using a straight line is the only acceptable graphic. 
  • Keep it black and white (no fancy font colors or backgrounds).  Do this and you’ll get to show your true colors when you are given the opportunity to speak with the manager. 

Ideal Length of a Nurse Resume

When it comes to nursing, especially travel nursing, having a longer-than-normal resume is okay.  In an industry where it’s common for nurses to switch jobs as frequently as every one to three months, it’s actually expected by hiring managers that your resume will exceed one page! However, for in-person networking, it may be wise to have a short and sweet version with only your most recent and/or relevant work experience listed​.  

A good travel nurse resume concisely details your professional accomplishments, and grammar and vocabulary play a huge role in that. Focus on including a skimmable list of your professional accomplishments, not writing a long essay about them. Structure your entries as bulleted lists, and keep your bullet points as straight-forward as possible, beginning each bullet point with a verb or adjective to avoid writing full sentences.  

Nurse Resume Template

Every nurse resume, whether you’re a new grad nurse, an experienced nurse, or travel nurse resume, should have these key sections:

Contact Information: 

Include your full name, phone number, email address, and location.

Professional Summary: 

A brief, compelling statement about your career goals and value proposition.  Ideally, you should optimize this section to include as many relevent keywords you find in the job description as possible.  Doing this will set off bells within the ATS that you are a good match for the job! 

Licenses and Certifications: 

Be sure to note if you have a license in hand for the job you’re applying to! Also, highlight your certifications- all of them! Everything from the basics required for the role, like BLS, all the way to where you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty, like CCRN.  

Work Experience: 

Detail your professional experience with a focus on achievements, not just duties. In this section, it’s great to include your facilities trauma level, number of beds, and any magnet certification.  This helps to paint the picture of what that experience was like for you!


Finally, be sure to list your educational background, with your most recent education listed first.  If you were a scholarship recipient or received any special awards or honors in school, be sure to include that too.  

Bonus sections: 

You want to be sure to include anything that makes you stand out, so if you have volunteer experience, speak multiple languages, received a Daisy or another award, or led any research or major projects, be sure to create a section for those as well! 

New Grad Resume Advice

As a new grad, you might feel like you don't have much to put on your resume, but that's not true. Here's a few things you should incorporate in order to create a standout new grad nurse resume:

  • Focus on Clinical Rotations: Even if you don't have paid work experience, your clinical rotations during nursing school provide valuable experience. Detail the skills you've gained and the types of medical settings you've been exposed to.
  • Make Your Education Section Robust: Put more weight on your educational background. In addition to your degree, include any relevant coursework that may have been outside of the normal track, any projects you took lead on, or any research you contributed to.

Travel Nurse Resume Tips

Travel nurses face unique challenges when crafting their resumes due to how frequently their experience is changing. Here's some advice to create an impressive travel nurse resume:

  • Highlight Your Adaptability: Travel nurses need to adapt quickly to new settings and teams. Include examples of your adaptability and teamwork in your work experience section by noting floating assignments you took or other ways you went above and beyond to be flexible and helpful. 
  • Detail Each Assignment: We know it may grow to be a long list, but for each of your travel nursing assignments, include the location, facility type, unit type, and dates. Be sure to highlight any specific achievements or challenges you overcame.  Managers hiring travelers are looking for someone who is confident and experienced- ready to hit the ground running! 
  • Show off Your Leadership and Curiosity: Travel nursing requires confidence and lifelong learning.  Show that you’re committed to being the best nurse you can be through continuing education opportunities and roles where you can contribute to the education of others, such as taking a charge or preceptor role. 

Download Your Perfect Resume Template! 

Creating a resume, especially a travel nurse resume, can be a daunting task. That's why at Trusted Health, we're committed to helping you ease the burden. When you sign up for a Trusted profile and enter your work experience, we'll do the heavy lifting for you. Our platform will organize your professional journey into a sleek, ready-to-go resume.

No more worrying about formatting, keywords, or what to include and exclude. With Trusted Health, you get a resume just like the one above that's tailored to your career, designed to impress, and ready for download as a PDF. All you have to do is create a profile and enter your information! We’ll do the hard work for you. 

So why wait? Sign up for a Trusted profile today and conquer your nurse resume worries! Get ready to step into your next adventure with confidence.

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