MISTAKE #1: INCORRECT CONTACT INFORMATION
The first travel nurse resume mistake is not providing correct contact inforamtion. The medical facility you are applying to must have updated information. Part of a travel nurse's job is moving often; therefore, you must ensure your contact information moves with you. If you change your phone number, the first thing you should do is update your resume. The same goes for your email or physical address. Your travel agency and future employers will need to know this information.
MISTAKE #2: TRYING TO FIT TOO MUCH INFORMATION ON YOUR RESUME
Suppose you’re a travel nurse who has 10 travel assignments under your belt or held a staff position for over 10 years and cycled through a few different departments while mastering them all. In that case, it is tempting to try to include all this information on your travel nurse resume. However, these details will make your resume look cluttered and disorganized. If possible, tailor your resume to each nursing job you’re applying to; give employers the highlights and expand on details in your interview rather than overwhelming your prospective employer with too much information.
Try grouping your different experiences and skills under the same employer. If you have been with the same travel company for a while, list your travel agency as your employer and create bullet points explaining the different hospitals and units you have worked with. Medical facilities like to see longevity and your ability to stay with the same travel company. This history shows you are reliable and will be more likely to complete your travel assignment.
MISTAKE #3: USING THE SAME RESUME FOR EVERY POSITION
While your resume should not include TOO much information, you also don’t want to be too general. If you’ve been a nurse for a couple of years, you should have enough relevant information to tailor your nursing resume to different roles and facilities. Look at the job description, pick out a few key terms, and then explain how your professional experience meets the description. For example, if you’re applying for a Level 1 trauma center, bring your knowledge of dealing with acute patient conditions and high-paced environments. If you’re applying for a rural facility, mention your working relationships with others and bedside care, as these will make all the difference to a self-reliant hospital without access to medical facilities nearby.
Also, use a cover letter to highlight your skill set. This letter will allow you to show you meet the requirements of the job description without cluttering your resume.
MISTAKE #4: MAKING SPELLING/GRAMMAR ERRORS
There’s no worse way to throw away your chances at your dream travel nursing assignment than with a simple spelling mistake. Nurses, as a profession, are detail-oriented and meticulous regarding treatment, medication, and check-ins, so a nurse who doesn’t exhibit these behaviors on their resume will raise a few red flags. Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re putting your best step forward with your spelling and grammar:
- Read your resume aloud — this is one of the best ways to catch mistakes and awkward grammar.
- Use a grammar and spell check tool – Grammarly is a great free online tool, and Microsoft Word’s spell checker can now catch awkward wording and unnecessary words.
- Send your resume to a few friends to look over. No matter how closely you check your work, there’s always a possibility of missing something. Send your resume to friends to get more eyes on it and catch anything you might have missed!
MISTAKE #5: USING FORMATTING/FONTS THAT CONFUSE THE APPLICANT TRACKING SYSTEM (ATS)
For better or for worse, hiring managers don’t have as much time to screen applicants as they used to. This process is often automated in businesses today, and an automated system will probably filter your resume before a pair of human eyes do. If you’re an excellent fit for the job, you’ll likely be fine, unless your resume is formatted in a way that makes it hard for the system to understand. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you don’t get locked out of the application process by an Applicant Tracking System (ATS):
- Keep your document simple: don’t use any headers or footers, don’t embed any images in your resume, and use basic fonts (nothing fancy or hard to read). Keep your document as simple as possible, and stick to plain text and bullet points.
- Use keywords from the job description and agency’s website: as you tailor your resume for the specific position, try to mirror some of the terms used in the job description.
- Use standard headings: avoid getting fancy with the headers of the different sections of your resume. Just use the simple “work history,” “education,” and “relevant skills.”
Important Med-Surg Travel Nurse Tips
Let's look at how to use this tip when applying for a Med-Surg unit. Med-surg units can see various patients, from knee replacements to simple or complex abdominal surgeries. When writing your resume, showcase your ability to care for these types of patients. It does not have to be a novel, just a few bullet points under one of your previous employers. Medical facilities like to see flexibility and broad skill sets. It makes you more employable. Use the following example as a guideline:
Job Description: 12-hour day/night in a med-surg nursing unit. Majority of patients arrive post-surgery. RN could float to other units; therefore, experience caring for all types of med-surg patients is preferred. Candidates must have two years of experience, be BLS certified, and have an active professional license within the state of practice. Med-surg certification is encouraged but not required.
Here is how you could outline your resume:
Health Carousel Travel Nursing Dates of Employment
3805 Edwards Rd.
Cincinnati, OH 45209
Travel Agent’s Number
- Medical Facility Name Date of Contract
Nurse Manager Contact Information
- Post-surgery unit. Cared for 5-7 patients.
- Types of patients included knee replacement, hip replacements, hysterectomies, gallbladder removal, etc. (choose examples listed from the job description).
- During the contract, floated to several other med-surg units caring for patients ranging from flu to pancreatitis, etc. (Show your willingness to be flexible.)
- (Repeat with next medical facility)
- (Include previous hospitals before travel nursing)
- BLS certified - Date
- Med-surg certified - Date
(Here include the different types of electronic health records you have used.)
Creating a resume that is clear, concise and easy to read will go a long way.
As more nurses turn to travel nursing, getting the most desired travel locations could become more difficult. Make sure you are putting yourself a step ahead of the pack with these resume tips.