If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s taught us the importance of the work done every day by registered nurses, or RNs. If you’re a new grad hoping to work as a RN, you could have an amazing career ahead of you. As a RN, you’ll spend your working life helping those in need, improving people’s lives, and providing crucial public services in your community.
What’s more, the number of RN jobs available in the US is projected to keep growing. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that RN jobs will increase by 9% by 2030, which means that you can expect a long-lasting and stable career.
RNs enjoy consistent, full-time employment, with a great rate of pay and plenty of opportunities to use the education they have gained. But if you want to stand a chance of finding work as a new grad RN, you’ll need to make sure your resume is up to scratch. Thankfully, the VisualCV team has your back – we’ve prepared an in-depth guide to building a new grad RN resume that will give you an edge as you look for your first job.
Read on for advice and examples that will help you build your first resume!
A registered nurse is a critical part of the US healthcare system. RNs are licensed medical professionals who provide direct, hands-on care. They can be found working in a wide range of settings, including:
From day to day, RNs work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to deliver specialized medical care to patients. They might have to administer medicines or other treatments, analyze the results of patient examinations, record patients’ symptoms or medical histories, or develop comprehensive patient care plans. While some of these tasks can only be performed with a doctor’s order, RNs aren’t exactly subordinate to doctors; they have their own specialist training, and often need to make high-impact decisions under pressure.
As RNs progress through their career, they may choose to specialize in a particular field of nursing. Medicine is a wide world, and RNs can specialize almost anywhere. Some of the most popular options include pediatric nursing, emergency room or intensive care nursing, and medical-surgical nursing.
Further down the line, RNs may wish to specialize even further. If they choose to pursue a master’s or a doctoral degree, they could become an advanced practice registered nurse, or APRN. APRNs can specialize in even more focused areas, like midwifery or anesthesia.
But if you want to embark on this long and highly varied career path, you will need to start with the right education. Most new grad RNs have either a bachelor’s degree in nursing, an associate’s degree in nursing, or a diploma from an approved nursing program. They also need to have a nursing license, valid in the state where they want to work, in order to find a job.
As a new grad hoping to work as a RN, your resume needs to demonstrate two things. The first is that you have the qualifications and certifications needed to work as a registered nurse. The second is that you have the skills, both hard and soft, to thrive in the role of your choice.
Having only just graduated, you may not have much in the way of direct work experience. However, depending on your degree or diploma program, you should have acquired some combination of clinical training and residency- or internship-based experience. You may also have built some relevant experience through volunteering or hobbies while you were studying.
All of this should be included on your resume. But as a new graduate, employers may be less concerned about your experience than your education and training. Keep that in mind, and make sure that your qualifications are front and center.
In general, a RN resume written by a new graduate should contain the following:
When choosing your professionally-designed new grad RN resume template from our selection, think about what hiring managers are looking for from you. Because nursing jobs require a broad combination of education, skills and relevant experience, you may not need a resume format that prioritizes one element over another.
However, as a new graduate, you may want to consider foregrounding your education and certifications on your resume. Look for a format that will allow you to lead with your strongest assets – specifically, the training you’ve invested so much time and money into pursuing.
Later in your career, once you’ve acquired more direct work experience as a RN, you may want to consider a format that balances your education and training with your experience in previous roles.
It’s also important to remember that these days, many hiring managers use an applicant tracking system (or ATS) to sift through resumes. Although this helps companies streamline and speed up the hiring process, it does create some frustration for applicants – many of whom submit great resumes which are simply never seen by a real person. If your resume doesn’t make it past the ATS software, which usually looks for specific keywords based on the job description, it will usually be put aside.
Thankfully, all of VisualCV’s resume templates are built to beat ATS software. When you use one of our templates, you can be sure that your resume’s layout won’t confuse the software and undermine your chances of success. All that matters is the strength of your resume – and with our advice, your resume will be in front of a real hiring manager in no time.
When working on your resume, it’s a good idea to start with your summary – which needs to be a short, to-the-point encapsulation of your best qualities. However, it should also reflect the requirements of the job description, so you will need to tailor it for every role you apply for. Remember, this is the first thing a recruiter will see about you!
As a new graduate, your summary should focus on your educational achievements. Later in your career, you should focus your summary more heavily on your past experience and the qualities that experience proves you possess. 3 summary examples:
Your summary needs to be clear and concise, and it should be focused on what you have to offer. If your summary is too wordy or personal, it could jeopardize your chances of getting the job. You can use your cover letter to tell the story of why you want the job – your summary is about providing a snapshot of why you fit the requirements.
In fact, not all recruiters agree that a summary on your resume is necessary. If you’re struggling to write a summary that gets right to the point, it’s not the end of the world: you can choose to leave it out. Don’t Do This:
For non-entry-level positions, a resume objective is usually considered unnecessary. However, as a new graduate, your resume could benefit from the inclusion of an objective, as well as your resume summary.
If you’re not sure about the difference between the two, it’s simple! A summary is a short description of the qualities and skills you have that make you suitable for the job you want. An objective is an even shorter statement about your career goals, like the industry or the type of job you’re hoping to work in. New Grad RN Resume Objective Example:
New graduates are often intimidated by the Experience section on their resume. But as a new grad RN, you actually have an advantage over new graduates hoping to enter other professions. You’re much more likely to have received relevant clinical training – as well as opportunities for volunteering work or even internships – as part of your degree program.
All of this can and should form part of your new grad RN resume.
Even when writing about experience that doesn’t come from direct employment, make sure you approach it in a way that reflects the effort you put into it. Don’t just list the tasks you carried out! Write about what you accomplished while carrying out those tasks.
In general, recruiters look for hard facts about your success in any given role – even a volunteering role or an internship. What did you do that made your work stand out? If you can show that you were able to succeed in the past, recruiters are more likely to believe that you can do it again. New Grad RN Resume Experience Example: Volunteer Care Assistant, Shady Pines Nursing Home | 2018-2019
The worst thing you can do when describing your experience on your resume is write a simple list of the tasks you performed. Hiring managers are likely to know what you did in your previous role! Your job is to show that you were able to do it all well. Don’t Do This: Volunteer Care Assistant, Shady Pines Nursing Home | 2018-2019
Knowing which skills to list on your resume can be a challenge. While the job description can act as a useful guide, there are some skills that recruiters will expect you to have by default – and those skills may not be included in the job posting.
For general information about skills on your resume, check out our resume skills guide here!
|Hard Skills for New Grad RNs||Soft Skills for New Grad RNs|
|Wound care||Time management|
|Retaining information||Attention to detail|
|Medical administration||Active listening|
Certifications can be a great way to help your resume stand out. They show hiring managers that you can take the initiative to further your career, and that you take your work seriously. In the medical field, it’s vital for hiring managers to have the confidence that you can perform the tasks necessary to help your patients – certifications are a way to show that you’re truly capable.
With a certification on your resume, you may be able to aim for more specialized positions with higher salaries. Here are a few common certifications for RNs!
This certification proves your ability to perform CPR, as well as your ability to use Automated External Defibrillators. It’s valid for two years at a time, and will need to be renewed after that point has passed. However, it’s a fairly straightforward certification, and you can obtain it from a variety of sources – including the Red Cross.
This certification is recommended for new graduates looking to enter the world of nursing. It builds on the foundation laid in the BLS certification, and will confirm to a hiring manager that you can recognize and respond to a cardiovascular emergency.
Whether or not you’re planning to specialize in pediatrics, the PALS could be a great addition to your resume. It certifies your ability to resuscitate and stabilize infants and children in critical condition.
Most of what you’re taught during your nursing degree is likely to focus on hard skills. However, hiring managers are likely to be interested in your soft skills, too. These skills will help you out during your day-to-day work as a RN, and will enable you to perform more technical tasks more effectively. And for new graduates, who may be lacking in work experience, soft skills are further evidence that you can do the work you will be asked to do if you get the job.
Here are some of the most important soft skills to include on your new grad RN resume!
Can you talk to practically anyone? Can you explain complex information in a way that people can understand? Can you take the right tone for the situation at hand, to ensure that people listen to what you’re saying?
If so, you have a vital skill that will help you immensely as a RN. You’ll need to communicate complicated and potentially upsetting information to patients, as well as liaise effectively with other medical professionals. Strong communication skills will make these challenging tasks a breeze for you.
First and foremost, working as a RN is about helping patients. If you’re the kind of person who cares about the wellbeing of others, or who is prepared to step in to help those who need it, you will find that the work you do is incredibly rewarding.
On the other hand, if you prefer a job where you don’t have to take responsibility for others’ happiness and comfort, nursing may not be the career for you.
As a RN, you will be asked to balance multiple competing responsibilities every day. Between maintaining medical records, responding to emergency situations, delivering routine patient care, and keeping up a liaison with other medical staff, you’ll always be busy as a nurse! Being able to stay on top of yourself and your workload is a crucial part of the job.
If you highlight your organizational skills on your resume, you’ll be showing hiring managers that you understand the rigors of the job. It’s a good way to show that you’re prepared for the demands of nursing, and it will improve your chances of making it to interview.
Nursing is considered to be a respectable and stable career path, with great earning potential. But how much can you expect to make as a new graduate RN?
According to Indeed, new grad RNs can expect to make an average of $38.72 per hour. But check out how you can expect your salary to increase over time:
RNs do incredible work day in, day out. As a new grad RN, you’ll be embarking on a career that will change your life – as well as the lives of all your patients. If you thrive on helping others and relish working under pressure, consider training as a RN!
And when the time comes to start applying for jobs, VisualCV has you covered. Help your resume stand out from the crowd with a VisualCV Pro membership, which will allow you to customize every aspect of your resume. However you choose to present yourself, we’ll give you the tools you need to do it right.