One of the best ways to differentiate yourself from all other nurse travelers is to fine tune your nursing resume in order to help your recruiters submit you for assignments in a faster, more effective way. Unlike staff nursing – where you are your own representative – in the world of travel you will most likely make a connection with a travel nurse recruiter who will then represent you to secure those premier travel nursing assignments.
So, are you ready to find your dream travel nursing job?
The rules for building a travel nurse resume are a bit different so common resume-builder tips and tricks won’t cut it.
Let us show you what we mean.
5 Keys to a Top-Notch Travel Nurse Resume
Obviously, your resume will include where you’ve worked prior and the details of your formal education, but a travel nurse resume will include so much more.
1. Create a Summary
It may sound like a lot of work, but it’ll also be a lot of wasted time if you do not tailor your resume to the position you’re applying for. It’s not as hard as it seems. Study the position listing. What sorts of buzzwords does the hospital or facility use? These are very likely the qualities and skills they’re looking for so make sure to include them in your resume.
Just as importantly as what we stated above is to make this section short and sweet. Do not write long sentences explaining your experience. Instead, provide stats and highlights of your experience. These can include things like the units your willing to work in, certifications and years of experience. Think of it like this: the hiring manager is going to receive dozens of resumes and scan each one – what will they take away with a 5 second glance at your summary?
Pro Tip: One way to do this is to create a revolving “experience/qualifications” header at the top of your resume that can be customized for each individual position you’re applying for.
2. Defeat the Applicant Tracking System
What you may or may not know is that before anyone even lays a single eyeball on your resume, it’s gone through a computerized applicant tracking system (ATS) that is designed to only push forward resumes that meet specific criteria.
While the folks at Next Move do actually read every single resume that comes through our system, many of the larger agencies will use an ATS to streamline their hiring process. So how can you beat the computer and get through to a real-life human being?
Make sure your resume mirrors the job description as much as possible: If the position listing is asking for “experience with adults and pediatrics within an ICU environment” make sure to include something along the lines of “2-years’ experience within an ICU environment.”
Make sure your highlight relevant experience: If the position is asking for 2 years of float experience, make sure to include a highlight on your resume that says something like “several years of float experience”.
Keep it simple and save fancy for tonight’s dinner: ATS systems treat everything like data – including fonts, bullets, colors, etc. The simpler you keep your resume, the easier to read your resume will be. So, skip the fancy fonts and bullet points, abnormal line breaks, uncommon characters, text boxes, columns, tables, and images. In addition – you’ll want to stick with the common language used in most resumes:
· Summary: for a summary of your experience
· Experience: for a rundown of your work experience
· Education: for a summary of your education
· Certification: for a summary of your certifications
Speaking of certifications: Make sure to not only include all your licenses and certifications on your resume but also the fine details:
· Full title of license or certification and certifying body
· License certification number
· Date license was obtained & date it expires (if applicable)
· Significations and state of licensure (unless it’s a compact license)
3. The good. The bad. The obvious.
Make sure you’ve spell, and grammar checked your resume as over 50% of hiring managers will toss that resume straight into the trash if they see any basic errors. Use a service like Reverso, Grammar Check, or Language Tool to check your work.
4. Be selective with your words.
Whenever possible, chose action words to make your resume more impactful. Instead of saying: Three years of experience as the leader of a team of four Med/Surg nurses, say: Supervised four Med/Surg nurses for three years. Some powerful words to include could be:
Advocated, Certified, Coordinated, Influenced, Regulated, Volunteered, Consolidated, Delegated, Initiated, Overhauled, Restored, Spearheaded, Bolstered, Demonstrated, Improved, Modernized, Upgraded, Arranged, Documented, Systemaitized
5. Forget the 1-Page Rule.
It’s time to get down into the details. Never has there been a travel nurse resume that was considered to long. Travel nursing is a unique career and you will have many “short-term” positions that will not be viewed negatively. Make sure to encompass as much detail as you can for each of your positions. This includes things like: qualifications and awards, managerial experience and style, and if applicable, statistics that quantify your success.
What to include: Most travel nursing resumes have six sections: a summary, speciality, licenses & certifications, professional expereince, computer skills and education.
For ‘professional expereince’ (which should be included just below your summary and before your education and certficiations) make sure to include the names of your employers, city and states, the position you held, the length of your assignment and a description of your responsibilities including any awards, statistics that might be applicable.
Pro-Tip: Make sure this section is very clean and the header for each work experience includes the unit you worked in.
For ‘computer skills’ try to be as detailed as possible by listing the official name of the system(s) (not the acronym) with which you have expereince with, length of time you worked on each system, any training you received, and any key functions with the system you might have performed.
Pro-Tip: The main thing hiring managers and recruiters are looking for are under each facility you’ve worked at is your specialty (make sure it’s bolded), trauma designation, float experience, charting system used, and number of beds in the unit. If you have a BSN, make sure it’s included in your title. (e.g. Janet Johnson, RN, BSN)
A Real-Life Travel Nurse Resume
Our own Caleb Skyles, RN, BSN, CCRN was kind enough to share with us his travel nurse resume. Caleb has over 5 years of travel experience. Click below to review his resume.