Getting a nursing job after graduation requires a great resume. However, new graduate nursing resumes are not like other resumes. There are some specific things you'll want to include that differ from regular resumes. In this guide, we'll discuss the differences between a new grad nursing resume and other resumes, provide steps you can follow to create your own and an example of what a new grad nursing resume looks like.
How is a new grad nursing resume different from other resumes?
A new grad nursing resume is a resume that recent graduates can use to apply for their first nursing job. This resume differs from others in that you will likely need to focus more on your education rather than work history and include specific details related to your nursing education. Formatting your new graduate nursing resume correctly is essential for getting your first nursing job after graduation.
How to write a new grad nursing resume
Writing a new grad nursing resume requires a certain structure and details. Below are seven steps you can follow to write your own new grad nursing resume:
1. Structure your resume.
Start by creating the structure for your resume. Like all resumes, yours should begin with your name and contact information listed on the top. Include both your phone number and email address so that employers have multiple ways to reach you.
Besides the contact information, your resume should have the following sections:
- A summary or objective
- Licenses and certifications
- Clinical rotations
- Work experience
- Volunteer history
- Additional skills
Since you're a new graduate, some sections like education will have more details than others, such as your work experience. As you go along you may need to change the structure based on how much you can fill out in each section. For now, simply choose a format you like for your resume and add in the section headers.
2. Write your summary.
The first section underneath your contact information should be a summary. The resume summary is where you will introduce yourself to employers clearly and succinctly. Most employers only spend a short amount of time reviewing each resume. You want to make a good impression from the start and your summary is an excellent place to do this.
In your summary, you want to describe who you are, what your experiences are and why you would be a good fit for this particular position. Keep your resume summary to a few sentences. Talk about how you are a new graduate and why you're interested in nursing. Also briefly mention any clinical rotations you have or special skills. The goal is to start your resume with your best strengths, then use the rest of the resume to get into more detail.
3. Include your licenses and certifications.
A big part of your new grad nursing resume is the licenses and certifications you have. You should list each license or certification you have received with the following information:
- The full name of the certification or license
- The full name of the body that issued the certification or license
- When the license or certification expires
- Any license or certification number
- Whether this license is part of the Nursing Licensure Compact
List as much information as you are able about each certification or license, as this will save the employer time from having to find out this information later.
4. Add in your education.
The other major part of your new graduate nursing resume is the education section. Since you are a recent graduate, you likely don't have much work experience yet, meaning you want the emphasis to be on your education.
In your education section, list each college you attended. For each college, you'll want to include the following information:
- The full official name of the school
- The location of the school
- The dates you attended
- The name of the degree you achieved
In this section, you may also want to list your grades or GPA, as long as they were good. You can either list the specific courses you took and the grade you received or list your overall grade point average. You should only list this information if the courses are relevant to the job you're applying for or if your grades will help your resume.
5. List your clinical rotations.
Employers place a great deal of importance on your clinical rotations. Some places will even require them before considering your application. When listing your clinical rotations on your resume you should include the following information:
- The type of experience (a clinical rotation or senior preceptorship)
- The dates you worked this rotation
- The total number of hours you completed at this rotation
- Where you completed the rotation (hospital/institution and the city/state)
- Name of the unit/department you worked in
As your clinical rotations will likely be the majority of your work experience, you should include as much detail as you can. Besides the basic information above, you can also talk about the type of patients you worked with, the nurse to patient ratio, the facility's trauma designation and the grade you received at the end. Do this for each clinical rotation you completed.
6. Add work and volunteer history.
If you have any work history that applies to the job you're applying for, you can list that as well. The job doesn't have to be directly related, but you should highlight the related skills you had to use. For example, if you worked in customer support at a retail chain, you could talk about your problem-solving skills and your ability to deal with customers.
The same goes for any volunteer experience. If you volunteered at a nursing home in your spare time, this is a great thing to list on your nursing resume. Any volunteer work you did is great to list, but if you can relate it specifically to the job you're applying for in some way, that's even better.
7. When to change the order.
Everyone is different and so your resume may need to follow a different order than the one listed above. For example, if you actually have a lot of related work experience, you may want to list that higher on your resume to emphasize it. You should list things in the order that makes you look best. Decide where your own strengths lie - whether it's your education, your certifications or your work experience - then adjust the order of your resume sections accordingly.
New grad nursing resume tips
There are a few final things you can add to your resume to help it stand out. One thing you can add is any special skills you have that can relate to the job. For example, people who speak multiple languages are highly sought after in nursing. If you speak more than one language, you'll want this on your resume.
Another thing you can add is any affiliations you have. Employers want to see if you're affiliated with groups like the American Association of Critical Care Nurses or the Student Nurses Association. List these in a separate section at the bottom of your resume.
Finally, you should include any related awards or honors you received. You can do this either in its own section, or include the information throughout the resume. For example, if you received an award for excellent care during one of your rotations, you can either include it along with the rotation or in a separate section at the bottom of your resume.
New grad nursing resume example
Below is a sample resume a new graduate could use to get a job in nursing:
Recent graduate looking to join St. Claire's Hospital as your newest registered nurse. I have a proven ability to handle medical emergencies, strong communication with patients and a passion for helping people. I recently completed a clinical rotation at New York Medical Center and I am fluent in both English and Spanish.
Registered Nurse, New York State Board of Nursing
Received January 2019
New York University
B.S in Nursing
Preceptorship Nurse / New York Medical, New York, NY - 2017 to 2019
- Kept organized files on patients, including their medications and conditions
- Ordered diagnostic tests based on observations of patients
- Worked with other healthcare professionals to create treatment plans
Office Assistant at Hoboken Associates / Hoboken, NJ - 2015 to 2017
- Provided general assistance to a small doctor's office
- Answered phones and provided information to patients
- Created and maintained schedules for doctors, nurses and patients
- Learned to keep accurate information in regards to medicine and patient care
Community Blood Drive Volunteer / Hoboken, NJ - 2015 to Present
- Helped donors fill out paperwork before donating
- Monitored donors after donation to ensure they were comfortable
- Kept a record of donors and their contact information