Each travel nursing contract you complete means you gain valuable experience and new skills. It also means it is a good time to take a look at your resume and make any updates necessary to your experience, certifications or skills. As recruiters, we see hundreds of resumes a month and know what leads to hires and what gets passed over. Here we have compiled our top tips for improving your resume and helping it stand out.
Keep the main thing the main thing in your header
The header is placed at the top of your resume and is the first thing a recruiter will look at. You have a limited amount of space to get the key details across, so keep your personal info concise and clear. Your name, email and phone are essential. It is also recommended to put your nursing credential initials after your name to give the recruiter an immediate idea of your experience level (RN, BSN, MSN, CRNA, etc.)
Nail the “Objective” section
Instead of a standard resume objective section (one that usually starts with “seeking a position that…”), consider the selling points that will show the depth of your healthcare skills. For example, bullet points indicating years of experience as a travel nurse, Level I Trauma experience, Charge nurse experience, Flexible shift consideration, preference for contact time or method, etc. These are things that help a facility looking at the resume to quickly move you to the top of the list at a glance. Nothing too wordy, though. Stick to bullet points.
Include states you are licensed in
Even with all the changes in the eNLC compact states recently, there may still be states that you can’t work in or it could be that your recruiter doesn’t operate in certain states. Be sure to indicate clearly which states you are licensed in to save everyone time.
Travel Nurse-Specific Resume Checklist
- Hospitals with Bed Size
- Trauma Level
- Type of unit/floor worked
- Computer Charting used or EMR experience
- Agency names should be under the actual facility worked
Avoid long paragraphs about duties
Avoid long summaries about nursing duties. Keep in mind that the people reading your resume know what is required for whatever unit you are applying for or have worked. For example, an ICU manager looking at an ICU resume will know that an ICU nurse on an eight-bed ICU at a trauma center is different than an ICU nurse as a rural critical access hospital that is a fraction of the size. However, you DO want to include anything that is outside standard duties that might set you apart, such as charge duties, precepting or assisting with bedside procedures.
Don’t add “References upon request”
For recruiters, this is pretty much a given. If recruiter wants them, they will ask. Be sure to give your references a heads up that the call may be coming – and for certain always ask their permission first! Recruiters will normally tell you they will be contacting your references.
Update your resume frequently
As a rule of thumb, you should always update your resume at the end of each contract you work to include your new experience and to keep it timely. You will also likely acquire new skills, certifications or achievements as you complete each contract, so be sure to update those where appropriate as well. Also, remove any expired certifications so that there are no errors in matching to requirements for a position.
List both agencies and hospitals
As a travel nurse, you may technically work FOR an agency, but work AT a hospital or other healthcare facility. When creating your resume, it is important to include both companies and demonstrate the relationship between the two for each contract. Recruiters will need the employer or agency to verify your work history, but will need the hospital or facility name to determine experience.
Create and manage your resume in Word
Microsoft Word is the gold standard for word processing and it is safe to assume nearly anyone reading it will have access to this program. Saving it as a .docx will ensure there will be no issues opening and reading your resume. For recruiters, having it in an editable format means they can keep it updated or add missing information they may have forgotten.