Having been a travel nurse for 4+ years now, I have mastered the art of putting together a travel nurse resume that allows me to stand out and has hospitals wanting to hire me. Although I don’t send my travel nursing resume directly to hospitals, instead I send it to recruiters who submit me for jobs I request. Below I’m going to tell you all of the information that you need to put on your resume and how to format your resume to make yourself a candidate that has hospitals dying to hire you too!
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How to Build a Travel Nurse Resume
Start With an Introduction
When you first build your resume, you want to start with a clear and concise introduction, basically introducing yourself! Start by stating your name and adding your credentials. I like to do this in bigger lettering than the rest of my resume so that my name stands out to whoever is reading. Under my name, I also add my phone number, email address, and physical address so that it’s easy to get a hold of me if anyone wants to schedule an interview. I do this in smaller lettering than my name.
What’s Your Objective?
After you introduce yourself, you want to list your objective. Think about it this way: If you walked right up to a manager at a job that you wanted what is the first thing that you would do? Shake hands and introduce yourself. Next, you would tell them why you want to be working wherever it is that you’re interviewing for. So your resume should reflect that. Introduce yourself and get to the point. When I write an objective I try to be specific as possible, point out some of my accomplishments, but get to the point in 1-2 sentences. An example might be: “To gain a position as a travel RN on the NICU floor where I can use my 5+ years of nursing knowledge and experience to work alongside the staff taking care of our most vulnerable population”. Right away they know that I am a travel nurse and that I have 5+ years of experience. Even if they didn’t read the rest of my nursing resume, they can tell that I have quite a bit of experience. I also point out that I “work alongside the staff” meaning that I am a team player and look forward to meeting the staff nurses.
Now, List Your Professional Experience
Now for the fun part! This is where you can brag a little bit and list some of your accomplishments. But remember, you don’t want to get too “wordy”. A resume should be easy to scan and only the most important points should be highlighted. To start, list the hospitals that you’ve worked at, how many beds were at that hospital, what city and state they are in, followed by dates. For example Overland Park Regional Medical Center, 343 beds, Overland Park, KS; Sept 2014-Dec 2016. Then list what your role at the hospital was: Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Overland Park, KS; Sept 2014-Dec 2016; Staff RN. Next, list anything that may stand out, patient to nurse ratio, computer charting system you used, and how many beds the unit had: Overland Park Regional Medical Center, Overland Park, KS; Sept 2014-Dec 2016; Staff RN; NICU – 70-bed level III NICU, 4:1 ratio, Meditech; Labor & Delivery – Crossed trained as “baby catcher”.
As you can tell, I’ve listed where I’ve worked and for how long. What my role was and which unit(s) I worked on while highlighting specific things about each unit. I made sure to point out that the NICU I worked in had 70 beds – which tells managers what unit size I’m used to; and also that it was level III meaning we took care of very sick babies. Lastly, I make sure to point out that I cross-trained elsewhere and have experience with “baby catching”. This is beneficial for me to add to my resume because it makes me stand out if there was another nurse to apply with the same experience and credentials that I have.
Tip: As a travel nurse you will be working at lots of different hospitals. Each time you complete an assignment make sure to update your resume so that it’s fresh in your mind. Also, make sure that your resume reads from the most recent job you’ve held to the first job you worked.
Next Up: Education
After you’ve listed all of your professional experience, it’s time to list your education. I like to list my experience before my education because I feel that it’s more relevant to the present day. Now that I’ve graduated over 5 years ago, my work experience is much more important than my education.
When listing your education, only include degrees that you’ve received after high school. It isn’t necessary to add your high school education here. Because I graduated with a degree in biology from Clemson and then got my nursing degree at a different school, I make sure to list both schools.
Like my work experience, I make sure to use the name of the school, city, state, and what years I attended. Then, I list my degree and anything that would make me stand out like an award or certificate. I also use my GPA only if it is above 3.5.
An example of my work experience would look like this: Emory University, Atlanta, GA; 2013-2014; Bachelor of Science in Nursing: GPA 3.63/4.0; Sigma Theta Tau International – Honor Society of Nursing 2013-2014; “Immersion” Program for Quality Improvement – St Thomas: Summer 2014. Now, whoever is reading my resume knows where I attended school, what my degree was in, what my GPA was, and awards and accolades that I accumulated.
Last (but Not Least!), Licenses and Certifications
Lastly, you’ll want to list out your licenses and certifications. I make sure to add my license number so that it is easy to look up, and when it expires. I also add expiration dates for when my certifications expire so that whoever is reading knows that I’m up to date on all required certifications.
Helpful Tips for Building Your Travel Nurse Resume
Now that you’ve gotten the “bones” of your resume written out, there are other helpful tips that you should be following. For starters, your resume needs to be concise and easy to read. Don’t add “fluff” words, only write out what is vital to your resume to get you hired. It’s okay to make lists on your resume instead of writing in complete sentences.
Make sure that your resume is easy to scan. Avoid using fancy fonts that are hard to read, and make sure that the font size is big enough. Keep everything similar so that you aren’t hopping from one crazy font to the next, distracting your reader. You want your resume to “flow” easily and not look too “busy”.
While you can use the popular site, Canva, to write a resume by using their custom-built resume template, I deter from this. You could browse the site to get ideas for resumes, but if you use their resume template make sure not to go overboard.
Try to fit everything on one page! Now that I’ve been traveling for 3+ years and have tons of experience from many different hospitals, it is impossible for me to fit everything on one single page. However, if you can, you should.
Remember, I send this resume to my recruiter and then they add necessary details such as references, etc. If there is a hospital that I want to work at and I know the email address of the specific manager to the unit I want to work on, I will email him/her my resume, bypassing my recruiter. If you want my exact travel nurse resume, sign up to the mailing list (below) to get my resume sent straight to your inbox! *Please note: The resume is best viewed from a desktop NOT from a mobile device*
If you’re interested in becoming a travel nurse, make sure to read these posts for my guidance in landing your dream job!