Resume writing 101

Even nurses, with their excellent job prospects, can have difficult job searches.

A decent resume can get you in the door for an interview. A poor one can sink an otherwise promising relationship with an employer.

Through our experience at PSN, we know what works and what does not for applicants seeking direct hire or temporary staffing opportunities in the health care world of a registered nurse, especially in the specialties of case management, utilization review, and medical record review jobs.

Here is our list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for nurses seeking direct hire or temporary staffing employment with some of the best clients locally and nationally. It all starts with a resume…


…use a cover letter – A cover letter allows you to introduce yourself, summarize your abilities, and make the statements that support your resume. Proper use of a cover letter shows a level of professionalism that our Nurse Recruiters look for.

…make sure your objective is relevant – We just “love” getting resumes for case management positions where the resume objective is to find a position with a caring company as an obstetrics nurse. You may want to use a short professional summary in place of the objective. This would be similar to the information in your cover letter, but more clear-cut and to the point. Avoid the use of personal pronouns such as I, me, my, in your summary.

…check your spelling and grammar, we do! – Check for spelling errors and misuse of language. Nothing stands out more to a hiring manager than misspelled words, especially if it’s the name of the school you graduated from. Make sure your verb tenses are consistent throughout the document. These types of mistakes can make you appear careless with your work.

…get your degree and credentials right – For instance, there is no such thing as a “Bachelorette” degree in Nursing. If your credentials or certifications have expired, they should not appear after your name on your resume. If you are a licensed registered nurse it is also helpful to indicate your state of licensure.

…keep it short and to the point – Your cover letter is for extolling your virtues. Your resume should be concise, and no longer than absolutely necessary. No need for you to tell us all about the waitressing job you had in high school if you are applying for an academic position 30 years later. Provide details for the past 10 to 15 years. You can list older, relative, positions under the separate heading of “Additional Work History,” without all of the detail.


…use an unprofessional email address and voice mail – You can have a great cover letter & resume, but an email address such as “partygirl2” can tarnish your image before you even get the interview. Why not set up a separate account for professional use only? Yahoo and Gmail are free. The same can be said for your voice mail. It’s always fun when we call someone to arrange an interview and hear a voice mail message that starts out, “Yo yo yo, wassup?”

…leave out dates of employment – Include these dates on your resume. Leaving them out may seem to us as though you are trying to hide certain information.

…include personal information such as age, gender, picture, etc – This type of information should not be included on your resume unless you are applying for an acting job. We don’t need to see the glamorous head shot you just had done. And using special paper to get our attention doesn’t help matters either. Though your floral scented pink resume will make the rounds to different departments, it won’t be for the reason you had in mind.

…use abbreviations or contractions -If you are going to take the time to write it, take the time to spell it. Your resume is a formal document; do not use abbreviations or contractions in your words or sentences.

…have just one version of your resume – Your resume should be tailored to the position you are seeking. You may have several different versions depending on the type of jobs you are going after.

Professional Services Network, Inc. (PSN) works with clients nationwide in the search and recruitment of experienced healthcare professionals in managed care and clinical roles for temporary assignments and direct hire opportunities.  Additionally, PSN’s consultants work with organizations and providers seeking accreditation or re-accreditation with URAC or NCQA. For additional information regarding our services contact us at 301-460-4089 or email us at [email protected].