Dear NP Career Coach:
I am a new grad NP and I am in the process of job search. I am struggling to get even an interview. Could you help me with how to market myself so that I can get the recruiters to look at my resume?
Dear New Grad NP:
When crafting your new grad resume keep these points in mind.
Your resume needs to demonstrate that you have the skills the employer wants.
The only thing that matters is what the employer wants.
As a new graduate the most marketable experience you have is your clinical rotations.To be successful your resume must contain clear and easy to find information. You can’t get an interview if the recruiter can’t determine whether or not you meet the requirements. Your resume will have about 30 seconds to catch the eye of the employer, so it’s important to be sure all the info in your resume is easy to find. The reader shouldn’t have to strain or work hard to figure out who you are.In today’s market employers are expecting to receive a resume that is tailored to the position. When creating their first NP resume many new graduates get carried away and include too much extraneous information. Remember, your resume is just a snapshot to show the employer you are a match – not your entire life history.First, you must make it clear to the reader that you possess the appropriate educational preparation. Place your educational section at the top of your resume. Make sure you have included your degree and the dates it was earned (or will be earned). You can safely omit elements like your GPA, thesis, or doctoral project. This simply adds clutter to your resume without increasing your marketability. I know you worked hard for your GPA, but it doesn’t belong on your resume.Second, clearly indicate your certification. You will be seen as ineligible for the position if information relating to your certification status is missing. Identify the name your certifying body and note either “current” or the expiration date of your board certification. If you have not yet taken boards note “pending” or your scheduled test date. Also, be sure you list your RN licenses. This may seem like a no brainer but it is important that your nursing license(s) be on your resume.Next is your experience section. As a new grad your clinical rotations are your most pertinent and relevant experience. Take a look at the job posting and find the skills the employer has stated are a requirement. Then make sure you mention those skills in your student experience section. Avoid statements that reflect minimum entry levels skills. It’s a waste of space on your resume to say “manage acute and chronic conditions” or “history and physical exam skills”. That won’t set you apart. Give the recruiter some real data about procedures, specific conditions and populations. You should find this data in your clinical logs.Finally, take care not to focus on your RN experience. Employers like to see that you had RN experience but they are not interested in your RN duties. A simple entry indicating the department where you worked in will be sufficient. You are applying for an NP job and you are a new NP graduate, however, you are competing against candidates who have NP experience. To put it bluntly, what you did as an RN will not trump actual NP experience so it’s best not to waste the resume space because it won’t make you more marketable. If the employer wants to hear more about your RN jobs they will ask you about them in an interview.Oh, and a nice cover letter will help you get noticed too.I will send you my cover letter and resume guides via email.Good luck and keep me posted on your job search.~Renee