Searching for your next travel nursing assignment and need to strengthen your resume? Or maybe you are looking to become a travel nurse and do not know what to include on your resume. This article discusses ways to master building your resume and some additional tips.
Master the Applicant Tracking System (ATS)
If you have ever submitted your resume to an employer, chances are that it has been entered into an applicant tracking system (ATS). An ATS is software that scans key elements and qualifications of your resume that an employer is seeking. It reduces the time a recruiter spends on individually viewing resumes.
So why does mastering an ATS matter? Employers use ATS to identify keywords in a resume and if these words are not on your resume, it may never be viewed by the recruiter. This emphasizes how crucial it is to ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors in your resume.
When applying for your next travel nursing job, try to include the job title in your resume. The ATS typically uses the job title as a keyword search. For instance, if you work as an intensive care unit (ICU) nurse, include the acronym ICU in your resume as well.
Build a Strong Resume
Once your resume has matched with the employer’s requirements, then it is forwarded to the recruiter. Ensure that your resume is easy to scan and read. Add bullet points or bold job titles and certifications to grab the reader’s attention.
When detailing job timeframes, place them in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent experience at the top of the resume. This makes it easier for the viewer to read.
Having trouble starting your resume or need assistance? Google Docs and Microsoft Word offer free generic resume templates. For travel nurse resume templates, Job Hero has some great templates and sample cover letters to help you get started.
Travel Nurse Resume Sections
Next, let’s detail the sections that you should include on your resume.
The header section includes your name and contact information. Include your credentials and certifications behind your name such as RN, CCRN, RNC-OB, etc. If you want to place your address in the heading, only type the city and state. Make the font slightly larger than the other sections, but do not overtake the resume.
Summary of Qualifications
This section is typically after the header section. The purpose of the summary is to highlight your most important skills that make you stand out amongst other candidates. It should be tailored to the employer and position you are applying for. For instance, if they are a Magnet hospital, consider adding this to the summary if you have been previously recognized under the Magnet Recognition Program. Some other items to include would be receiving an award at work, high patient satisfaction scores, or participating in nurse committees.
Due to the nature of their work, travel nurses will have several job positions to detail under this section. Include at least your last three positions. Use bold font for position titles and units to make these pop when the resume is scanned.
Detail your employment dates and place them in reverse chronological order. When detailing your job responsibilities, a bullet list is the best format. Always use action words and the active voice. Keep your bullet points consistent with either sentence fragments or full sentences and use the correct punctuation. For example:
- Administered intravenous medications (fragment)
- I completed patient assessments, prioritized patient acuity, and administered medications. (full sentence)
This section details your most recent degree or education in progress. Include the name of the institution where you received your education. Place the education completion dates or if your education is in progress, include “expected graduation date” before the month and year.
List all licenses and certifications that you hold, including the expiration or renewal dates. This enables future employers to verify if you have any upcoming renewals or need to recertify during your assignment. It is best practice to renew licenses and certifications at least a month prior to their expiration.
As many travel nurses hold several state licenses, include the state license that pertains to the state in which you are applying. If you hold a compact nursing license, include it under this section, as many travel nurse recruiters will ask.
The skills section is an optional section and its purpose is to highlight your communication, interpersonal, or hard skills. As many travel nursing companies have you complete a skills checklist before applying to any assignment, sometimes this section is not necessary.
Now let’s go through some extra tips to help your travel nurse resume stand out.
- Include charting systems that you have used in the past. Many travel nurses have used a variety of charting systems and hospitals are seeking travel nurses familiar with their charting system.
- Do not use special fonts, colors, or non-standard font sizes, as these can be hard to read.
- Avoid pictures, graphs, or ClipArt photos.
- Include a cover letter with your resume. Your cover letter should detail why you are a qualified candidate for the position and highlight your qualifications.
- Address employment gaps in your cover letter. Most travel nursing agencies will excuse employment gaps of a week or two, but anything more needs explanation.
- Try to keep your resume to one page in length and no more than two pages.
Travel nurses have frequent opportunities to build and update their resumes while expanding their skill set. Make sure your resume reflects all your hard-earned accomplishments. Happy resume writing!
Amanda Marten NP-C, MSN has been a certified nurse practitioner for over three years. With eight years of nursing experience, she has worked in a variety of specialties including urgent care, travel nursing, post-surgical, and intensive care.