How to Make Your Nurse Practitioner (NP) Resume Stand Out
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Creating a unique resume as a nurse practitioner is lucrative to stand out from a sea of applicants. A resume communicates the brand of the NP and their qualifications. It helps the NP secure an interview and most employers will also use the resume as a guideline during the interview process.
The first aspect of a resume that a job recruiter notices is the layout. The resume should be concise, no more than one to two pages. Try to stick to one page unless the second page will add significant value.
There are several resume formats, but the most common format is the reverse chronological resume. This is when the latest work experience is listed first and the older jobs are listed afterward. It is great for NPs with plenty of work history and no gaps in employment.
Another format to choose from is the functional resume. This format highlights the skills sections and is a suitable option for those switching careers or having large gaps in their work history.
Additionally, there is a combination layout, which is a mixture of the reverse chronological and functional resume. It focuses on applicable employment experience, skill sets, and accomplishments. This format is ideal for NPs with experience in multiple specialties or travel nurses that have completed more than ten assignments.
When writing a resume, there should be clear section headings and ample white space around the margins. Choose an easy-to-read font and the right font size such as 12 pt for normal text and 16 pt for section titles. Use bullet points under professional experience to specify job descriptions. Microsoft Word is a common application used to create a resume. However, be sure to save it as a PDF file before sending it to recruiters to ensure the formatting is accurate.
Below are the different sections of a resume.
At the top of the resume’s first page, document the full name, address, phone number, and email address. Double-check spelling so that the recruiter has no issues contacting you. Nowadays, some people may include a link to their Linkedin profile in this section.
Objective or Resume Summary
This part is optional. An objective statement briefly outlines the NP’s career goals and may be a good choice for those with limited work experience, such as graduate NPs. A resume summary encapsulates the relevant professional experience and skills of the NP. An experienced NP can dictate how many years of experience they have here.
Under education, the NP should list both their undergraduate and graduate studies. This includes the name of the college or university, dates attended, and what degree was earned.
Experienced NPs can list their relevant work experience under this section. Each job should be listed in chronological order from the most recent to the oldest position. The NP should provide a brief summary of duties and accomplishments under each recorded position. For instance, the NP can dictate which electronic health record system (EHR) they used while working there. They can illustrate common skills they used during this job, such as suturing, incision and drainage, pap smears etc.
Try to avoid describing skills already required for the role of an NP, like interpreting lab results and diagnosing patients. These are a given, and the potential employer already expects the NP to be competent in those tasks. Be specific with achievements at the workplace. Examples of accomplishments during this employment experience can include achieving the highest patient satisfaction rate of 100 percent, or growing the practice to 3,000 patients, or starting a group therapy program at the facility.
For recent graduates and NPs without relevant work experience, they can list their clinical rotation experiences as a student NP. Similar to the above work experience, they can describe skills used during the rotation and anything they mastered during their time there. Examples include the number of patients seen per day independently, the EHR used, and became proficient in trigger point joint injections.
New graduate NPs may also incorporate some of their registered nurse (RN) experience that is relevant to the specific job. For example, if a new graduate NP is applying for a position in a cardiology practice, they could write their experience working as a cardiac nurse on their resume. Or if the NP is interested in working in the urgent care setting, they can list their relevant experience working in the emergency room as an RN.
This section attempts to use key words such as leadership, collaboration, mentorship, consultation, and documentation. For instance, “I led the Covid-19 precautions initiative at my clinic.” Recruiters and potential employers often skim resumes for key words that show the NP would be a good fit for their practice.
The format for writing the relevant work experience is as follows:
- Job Title or Position – This goes on top or at the beginning of each work experience entry. An example is: Family Nurse Practitioner or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
- Company Name, Location, and Description – Name the company of the former employer and the city and state it is located in. If it is not obvious what type of company this was, such as a hospital, feel free to describe what services the company offered briefly.
- Achievements and Responsibilities – Be specific about what tasks were done and accomplishments while working there, as explained above. Quantify achievements with figures and facts. This shows the recruiter the value the NP will bring to the new role.
- Dates Employed – Document the date you started the job and the date you finished working there. The standard format for listing the dates worked is in mm/yyyy (month and year).
Licenses and Certifications
Under this section, the NP can document relevant field-specific licenses and certifications. This section includes their multiple state RN/NP licenses and DEA licenses. Specify if the licenses are active and the expiration date. This allows employers to know that the NP is ready to start work as soon as possible.
The NP should also include their national certifications, such as in Family Practice, Psychiatry, or Acute Care, and the accrediting body. Any other certifications can be included here, such as BLS, ACLS, and/or PALS, with their expiration dates.
Briefly list the proficiency in each language with conversation, reading, and writing. Specify if the language known is specific only to medicine. Sometimes the job interviewer will utilize this section to ask the interviewee to say several sentences in another language. So make sure you are honest about your abilities!
Employers like seeing potential employees involved in their profession outside of working. Thus, NPs that are members or leaders in local and national organizations can document this information on their resumes.
The NP can join the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and American Nurses Association. There are local chapters of the above organizations that the NP can also be a part of. The NP should also specify on their resume if they are part of any committees.
This section includes past and current volunteer work the NP has done. It can also detail community engagement experience of the NP, such as serving at the homeless shelter or working with the public health department. Highlight any transferable skills that will be useful in the NP position. Having volunteer experience shows that the NP is well-rounded and may be a good fit for their practice. It indicates that the NP is willing to help others even without being paid and is devoted.
Honors and Awards
List any relevant honors or awards received over the past five to seven years. Examples of these include national honor societies, graduating cum laude, or any awards earned working at previous employers. An NP with numerous awards listed on their resume illustrates that they are ambitious and go above and beyond.
Common Resume Mistakes
Avoid the following common resume errors:
- Salary information
- Personal information: such as religion or children
- Including age or birthday
- Outdated: not including current and relevant positions
- Unprofessional email address
- More than two pages
When drafting a resume, keep it concise and ensure it is a wholesome representation of you. Employers often receive many applicants and are looking for someone who is qualified and stands out. The job of a resume is to get you to the interview and then facilitate the relationship between you and the possible new employer.
Proofread your resume and ask someone else to take a look before sending it off. Carefully review for any spelling or punctuation errors. Lastly, ensure the resume is relevant to the position being applied for.
Finally, check out this nurse practitioner resume example to see how these formatting tips look in practice.
Sophia Khawly, MSNWriter
Sophia Khawly is a traveling nurse practitioner from Miami, Florida. She has been a nurse for 14 years and has worked in nine different states. She likes to travel in her spare time and has visited over 40 countries.
Being a traveling nurse practitioner allows her to combine her love of learning, travel, and serving others. Learn more about Sophia at www.travelingNP.com.