Generally speaking, when hospitals evaluate a travel nurse or a per diem nurse, they initially focus on three things: resume, skill inventory, and professional references.
Some nurses write a resume simply because they know they must have one to be presented for the nursing job. They write their resume grudgingly to fulfill this obligation - a necessary evil. To these nurses, writing a resume ranks right up there with the fun of having your blood drawn.
Other nurses realize, that with a little extra effort, they can write a resume that makes them stand out as the superior candidate for the job they are seeking.
Travel nurses should realize that although there is a national nursing shortage, there is intense competition for travel nursing jobs. Quite often, there can be up to 10 candidates presented for each opening.
The Number One Purpose Of A Resume:
Your resume is a tool with one specific purpose: To win an interview. A resume should be an advertisement for you. It should stimulate interest in learning more about you. It should cause the hospital to visualize having you working there.
Blow Them Away!
Understand that your resume will most likely be scanned vs. read. Ten to 30 seconds is all the time you have to persuade the hospital to read further.
You must focus on the hospital's needs, not yours. Imagine you are the unit manager at the hospital reviewing several resumes. This person cares deeply how well the job will be done by the RN selected. You need to write your resume to appeal to that unit manager.
Two Sections To A Great Resume
In section one, you need to make assertions about your abilities, personality traits, and your achievements.
In section two, you need to back up your assertions with evidence that you have actually done what you said you have done and can do what you said you can do.
Examples of specific equipment and procedures you have performed may be useful once you've gotten their attention with the initial scan. Be sure to list and explain any large "gaps" in your professional background such as time off for maternity or other personal endeavors.
Your resume should outline why you are the perfect candidate for the job. In addition to abilities and personality traits, hospitals look for competent nurses that can "hit the floor running" and help them fulfill the service promise they made to their patients.
A Sample Format:
TOP: should include name, address, & phone number, perhaps even an email address
OBJECTIVE: Your objective should be written to gain interest.
Ie: A Registered Nurse position in an organization seeking an experienced RN that delivers extraordinary patient care and enthusiastic public relations.
SUMMARY: Your summary should consist of several concise statements that focus the reader's attention to the most important qualities and skills you have.
Ie: Over 8 years experience as a critical care RN with a track record of excellent attendance and top notch performance reviews. A RN with a commitment to quality patient care and enhanced public relations. A RN that is an energetic self-starter with superb organizational skills.
SKILLS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS: List here what you are experienced at doing.
EXPERIENCE: This starts the backup to your assertions. List your experience in chronological order. Start with your most current and work back. List years, not months unless the job was held less than 1 year.
EDUCATION & LICENSES: List your college/ universities attended. Degrees received and years attended. Licenses held and expiration date.
AWARDS: List any awards you might have received post high school.
PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS: List only current professional affiliations.
Who Are We To Tell You How To Write Your Resume?
Expedient Medstaff was founded in 1997 by Registered Nurses and is a nurse travel company servicing health systems and Fortune 500 companies across the United States. Over the course of years, it has become clear to us that a sub-par resume can often keep otherwise dynamic nurses from getting an assignment offer. If your resume doesn't shout "I am a great nurse and you would have to be a fool to pass up on me", then by default the reader will develop the opinion of what that resume represents...usually blah, blah, boring, nothing really spectacular. So, if you decide you want to secure a position as an agency nurse, then we advise to design your resume to reflect the "true you". We wish you the best success in landing the assignment you want!