A Guide to Writing Your RN Resume

Updated on November 4, 2022

By Liz Hogan

There is no doubt that nursing is the largest occupational group in the healthcare sector. And in the near future, the demand for nurses is expected to far exceed the number of nurses currently in the workforce.

This means as a registered nurse, your job prospects are in excellent shape.

But you’ll need a resume that proves that you’ve got the right combination of skills, experience, and potential to fill one of those vital positions you’re seeking.

Whether you’re looking to switch jobs or you’re a new nurse graduate entering the nursing profession, a powerful resume is your best chance to land an interview.

We’re sure you’ve already proudly added “RN” after your name at the top of your resume, so let’s dive deeper into writing the rest of your RN resume.

Choose the right layout

Use a professional template that will catch the reader’s eye. On average, a hiring manager receives about a hundred resumes for a specific position and it’s time-consuming to go through all of them.

The most common (and best) resume format for RNs is the reverse chronological format. It lists your work history and achievements starting with your current job or the most recent position you’ve held. It also demonstrates how you’ve grown your skills. 

This format is generally preferred by hiring managers because it’s easy for them to review what positions you’ve held and for how long. Prioritizing the most recent information helps ensure your nursing experience gets noticed.

Write a compelling, purposeful summary

A resume summary is a brief statement at the top of a resume that should tell a concise story about who you are as a nurse. A well-written professional summary ensures that your experience and skills fit the job description.

This is your best chance to make your nursing credentials shine. A highly targeted summary section can give you a competitive advantage over other candidates. So, rather than tell the recruiter what you want, tell the recruiter what you have to give.

Typically, the summary should be no more than five lines that provide a brief overview of your critical skills and competencies. It allows you to quickly and clearly advertise your education, experience, and certifications.

List your educational qualifications

Now that you’ve got an impressive professional summary, it’s time to move on to the next important thing–your educational qualifications. It’s important to include a full history of your education in nursing and highlight your academic qualifications.

You want to include your college education. If you’re a recent graduate, add specific school-related projects, scholarships, clinical rotations, or any relevant nursing specific activities you have completed. If you graduated with honors, put that in your resume.

Remember that you should list your education in reverse chronological order, starting with your highest degree first. List the month and year of graduation and what degree you received, if any. If you have any degrees other than nursing, you don’t need to include those.

According to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), after detailing your degrees, add licensure followed by any state requirements and national certifications. ANCC also suggests adding education before work experience if you’re a new graduate.

Show your relevant work experiences

The next thing is your employment history. The hiring manager will want to see your summary backed up by your educational qualifications and past experiences. This helps a potential employer determine whether you are a suitable candidate for the nursing position or not.

New RN grads have clinical rotations that count as work experience. So, you should include that. But if you have experience in a few full-time RN roles, it is not necessary to list clinical rotations. If you worked as a CNA or a patient care technician, or held any administrative role in the healthcare field, that is relevant experience.

List your current or previous employers, position held, dates you began and stopped working, and a brief description of your responsibilities. Remember to list those roles in reverse chronological order, meaning that the most recent one goes first.

Do not list experience that is not relevant to the position you’re applying for (i.e. Starbucks barista). Do not list more than ten years of your employment history because it can get really long. To make it as clear as possible, include facility and unit-specific information in bullet points.

Tailor your resume to the job description

A successful career in nursing requires specific skills and qualities such as teamwork, interpersonal skills, flexibility, empathy, and the ability to work under pressure. So, pay attention to the nursing skills listed in the job description.

Hiring managers often list the desired skills on the job description as necessary or preferred. So, make sure to look at the job description and use that information to your advantage by selecting keywords noted in the description.

List your skills in a dedicated skills section as this is probably the first place employers will look. This shows that you’re qualified to do the job. Don’t forget to add your hard skills, which are the technical ones that nursing employers look for in job applicants.

If you have received recognition for special skills or volunteer work, you may want to include that in your resume. You may also include any scholarships you have received. 


So, you’ve just created a resume with all the key information that shows why you are the right fit for the position. But before you go, the most important thing to note is to keep it short and to the point. Unless you have tons of relevant experience, it’s best to keep your resume to one page. And make sure there are no typos or other mistakes before you submit. Good luck!

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The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.