Common Mistakes Nurses Make in Their Resumes

common mistakes nurses make in their resumes

While all the resumes require a certain level of efficiency when writing, nursing resumes have an additional layer to work on. Nurses have to consider many professional and general resume tips. Although you might have a qualified education in nursing along with an experienced background, you will not be able to succeed unless you are first able to sell yourself. An employer spends only about a minute or two on your resume. You will have to stand out from the crowd with proper planning and refinement of your resume. It is especially important when considering the small mistakes in a nursing resume. Avoiding common errors can keep you ahead in the race to landing a great job.

In this article, we will discuss a few common errors seen in a nursing resume so that you can avoid them to make your resume stand out.


Optimization is a tricky process of matching your content with the job requirements or qualifications. Many nurses tend to miss this particular aspect of a resume when perfecting it. The right content for a nurse’s resume includes contact information, education, certification, licenses, professional affiliations, employment history, accomplishments, and honors. You can also volunteer in many places that will give your resume a boost and make you feel satisfied with the career you have chosen.

Today, many employers use an applicant tracking system to filter out candidates that may not match the job description. Adding your hobbies or personal information not related to the job is not preferred and may take up a lot of space.

2Scripted Text

Using scripted text has been a big problem in recent years. No matter what job a person is applying to, using a scripted text or a functional resume is probably one of the most frowned upon mistakes that people continue. While using a functional resume sounds simpler and less time-consuming, it can have many negative effects in the long run. The employers have a high qualification and hence can immediately recognize the format as well. The phrases included in the functional resume can be applicable only for a select number of jobs, especially for a nurse. A resume needs to be customized based on a job description that is why using a scripted text cannot personalize it according to the job requirements.

3Poor Execution/Description

When employers look at a resume, they expect to get a decent idea about your experiences and adeptness. However, most nursing resumes do not contain proper or enough details about their professional careers, which brings negative imagery to the employer. To perfect any resume, using the correct action words and keywords is a must. A simple trick is to include the action words from the job description that you are applying for. Do not be vague and deliver your descriptions prescription such that your potential employer can get a clear idea of you and your experiences. You can also focus on a nursing resume summary based on the requirements. Following this step will help you not miss out on the perfect job opportunity.

4General Resume

Most professionals in any field generally tend to make a big mistake of using one general resume for all. It is a mistake that nurses cannot afford to make. One of the biggest reasons is because of the uniqueness of any job requirements. The job description can vary strongly even within the same hospital, let alone in a big pool of job applications. Different departments might use varied equipment or different computer charting systems. Optimizing a resume is not enough, but being able to optimize specific resumes based on individual jobs is crucial. Although you do need a general resume, make sure to perfect it based on the job requirements before applying to them.

5Flaunting Credentials

Most nursing applicants seem to show some hesitation when indicating or highlighting their accomplishments. Many applicants think this could be perceived as bragging and end up being too modest. While they believe that self-promotion can hurt their chances of getting employed, it generally goes the other way. With all your hard work in earning your credentials, you can flaunt them even if you are an RN, BSN, MSN, or DNP. Using credentials will also help the employer assess your level of proficiency. If you are a male nurse, flaunt your ability to serve people by going against the stereotypes! Make sure to quantify your accomplishment wherever applicable, be it through your GPA or patient satisfaction scores.


It is common practice to include a “Reference Available on Request” at the bottom of your resume. However, this is not something a nursing resume needs. It is generally not appropriate to include detailed information from your previous jobs. If you write the details from all the faculties you have worked with, it can also take up a lot of space from your resume. Instead of writing this, invest your time on something worthwhile such as your skills and your accomplishment. You can also spend this time perfecting yourself on interview questions so that you are better prepared once you get an interview.

7Reviewing and Formatting

Many people in different professions generally tend to forget this particular step. While this tip is not just limited to nursing, it can have many negative implications that can make your resume look bad. In addition to the many tips that you may find, some other ways you can focus on formatting a resume are:

  • Grammar and Spelling: There are always small mistakes and errors that you might come across. Spell-check can never be enough since you are bound to miss things like “an” with “and” and “form” with “from.” These errors are not even caught by spell-check software.
  • Dates: When describing your experience, you have to make sure the date format is correct. A way to combat this is to list items based on importance. Whatever you do, make sure not to list the dates first.
  • Bullets instead of paragraphs: Bullets are always the best way to list anything when it comes to resume. A paragraph can take a long time to get through that discourages employers.
  • Abbreviations: There are many abbreviations in healthcare. While you will have to use them whenever needed, be mindful of the tracking system since they might not pick up on some of the abbreviations.

A resume is a document that expresses you as a professional. The job industry has not just gotten competitive but needs people who are creative as well as proficient. Understand feedback and spend your time perfecting your CV to stand out in a pool of applicants.

Author Bio

This article was written by Laura Garbers, who is an accomplished professional nurse resume writer at CraftResumes. As a nurse resume writer and a career coach, her assistance will ensure a level of professional touch to perfect your CV so that you stand out and land the job of your dreams.