Type to search

How to write a winning resume: New Nurse Practitioner edition

Cover Stories Money & Career NP Graduates

How to write a winning resume: New Nurse Practitioner edition


Making the change from the ease of landing RN jobs to the struggle of snagging NP jobs can be a challenge. Many people will dejectedly say there are no jobs for new NP s. The resume is the first step to catching a manager’s eye. Here are some important tips for writing your first resume and accomplishing your goals.


            Some people are intimidated by the thought of writing a cover letter. Don’t be. Take this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and describe yourself formally. Have the first part explain why you chose to be a nurse practitioner in the specialty certification you chose. Everyone is passionate about patient care – but what specifically drives your passion? Describe how many patients you saw in a month during clinicals. Describe what type of disease processes you helped diagnose and treat. Write a second paragraph about your nursing experience. In what type of environment did you work? What kind of patients were in your population? Did you certify or train in extra procedures such as PICC placement or endoscopy lab assisting? Lastly, describe your community involvement in or out of your profession and how that reflects on your personality. It’s easy to say, “I am a hard worker.” or “I am a fast learner.” It’s not easy to say, “I have demonstrated those traits by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity” for example.


            This is one of the most important parts of your resume. It is usually one or two sentences at the beginning of your resume after your cover letter that describes exactly what you are looking for. Be clear that you are looking for full-time, part-time, or a prn position. Describe what environment you want to be placed in. You may want to also describe why you are looking for this position. Do you want to be performing procedures? Analyzing data? Or connecting with patients? This is where you get to be specific on what you want. If what you are looking for doesn’t match the job then the manager will stop reading. Therefore, be clear but also tailor your objective to whatever job you are applying for. You don’t want to write that you are looking for a cardiology position when applying for a dermatology position. An example objective may read as, “I am searching for a full-time position in an urgent care practice that will utilize the skills I have learned during my clinical rotations.”


            The format of your resume is paramount to catching and then keeping a manager’s attention. You want the words to fit on the page in a way that is comfortable to read. This means avoid multiple font types, sizes, or odd margin lines. You may want to use something more eye-catching than Times New Roman font like Calibri. But don’t use Calibri, Lucida, and Liberation serif mixed throughout your resume. Instead, use bold, underline, or italics to emphasize sections. Dividing sections such as Clinical Placements, RN Experience, Education, Certifications, and Volunteer Positions is a good place to start. Don’t write your resume in paragraph form. Using bullet points in columns is a cleaner way to get your message across. Be specific with months and years in a column on the left and your clinicals, jobs, experiences in a column on the right.


            In the body of your resume, be as specific and succinct as possible. List your clinical placements and how many hours you did. It is helpful to note your patient population and on average how many you would see a day or week or month. Note if you shadowed for extra hours. The manager reading your resume may know someone at one of your clinical sites and that can be a foot in the door. Be sure and note if you did any volunteer work with your school as an NP-S. Where did you work as an RN and for how many years? When you were an RN, did you precept or teach a class? Did you help implement an evidenced-based practice on your unit and then throughout the hospital? Bullet points that include your accomplishments is a great way to let people know you aren’t just looking to be a warm body. List your certifications past and current. If nursing is a second career then it is a good idea to also put one word or one line that addresses your former careers. You don’t want to leave any holes in a timeline of work if possible. Also make bullet points for your professional accomplishments such as large presentations or papers. Absolutely list any publications you may have done in APA format. Finally, note any volunteer positions or community service you may have performed. This is important because it will let the manager know you are a “go-getter” and not just performing lip service. If you have not volunteered lately then ask your instructors what they would recommend.


            Proper grammar is always important. Get a friend or colleague to proof-read your resume in case you missed anything. Be as unemotional as possible in your writing. Avoid punctuation that is anything other than a period such as an exclamation or question mark. Apply this to your emails or other communications as well. If you do not represent yourself professionally during the application process then the manager may never get to read how professional you are in your resume.

Overall, the job market for the new graduate NP is tough. But with the right tailoring of your resume, you can be sure and get noticed! Feel free to leave your comments or feedback on what has worked for you. Do you have any tips on resume writing? Then contact us! Good luck!