With time, the healthcare sector is evolving. Since most hospitals now understand that burnt-out employees lead to poor patient care, they take measures to ensure that they hire temporary staff who can handle the extra burdens in hospitals.
The above situation leads us to the rising need for travel nurses across the US. Luckily, this need has translated into higher salaries and better packages for active travel nurses. If you’re a qualified nurse, you’re probably hearing of your peers making over double your salary because they’re travel nurses.
If hearing of all the perks and the great wages makes you want to apply for a travel nurse position but don’t know where to start, you’re in luck!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to write a travel nurse resume that will dazzle your interviewers! So, let’s dive in!
Tips To Write The Best Travel Nursing Resume Ever
The one thing hospitals and agencies alike value in nurses is their experience. Their level of experience tells you how well they will handle the new patient workload, what kind of cases they’ve worked on previously and what type of hospitals they’ve worked at.
The purpose of a resume is to list your entire educational and work history. More importantly, the resume should explain exactly how your experience makes you a valuable addition to the agency or hospital.
So, let’s find out what you need to know to write the perfect resume!
Don’t Worry About The Length.
If you’re worried the resume is too long and no one will read it, you need to know an important thing about nursing resumes. The agencies expect your resumes to be long. If they’re not long, the agency will automatically think your sparse work experience will result in poorer performance.
So, the longer it is, the better. However, do not elongate your resume by writing unnecessary information. Doing so will hurt your chances more than it will help them. Just stick to the facts and go into detail where you need to. Don’t worry; you’ve got this!
Make Sure You Get The Knock-Out Questions Right.
Most hospitals and agencies use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to help in the hiring process. If you’re filling out an online application, pay close attention to the details because most agencies use ATS to search for some keywords in the candidate’s resume. This software also uses some ‘knock-out’ questions to weed out the unsuitable candidates, which helps the agency create its shortlist.
To make sure you’re on the shortlist, you’ll need to ensure your knockout questions are answered truthfully.
An example of a knock-out question is:
“Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” or
“Have you ever violated the terms of your nursing license?”
Answering any of these two questions with a yes will result in your application getting knocked out. Remember, the travel nursing agency is quite competitive! You need to have an immaculate work history to score a job in this arena. But hey! Don’t lose hope. You’ve already come this far, and we’re sure you’ll be able to get a travel nursing job with the right agency.
Don’t Customize Your Resume.
You need to amend your personal statement, cover letter, and objectives to match the job description with other jobs. However, when you work with a travel nursing agency, the agency will do that work for you. If you’re a suitable fit for a particular hospital, the agency will compile the appropriate points from your resume and send it to the hospital.
So, just make sure to enter all the facts correctly with as much detail as possible. It’s very likely that a human won’t even read your resume cover to cover because the Applicant Tracking System will parse the resume for the content the agency needs in a resume.
Take Care Of The Formatting.
Imagine this. You’re applying near the last date for applications, and the system tells you that your file type is not supported in this software! What will you do? Make sure to check the agency’s website to see any particular details about the resume that you’ll need to remember before you start working on it. You’ll be happy to learn that nearly all of these websites accept resumes in DOC and PDF formats.
In addition, you should make sure that the rest of the formatting is also per the industry standards. Calibri, Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Cambria and Verdana are some clear fonts that most agencies like to see their resumes in. Don’t use funny-looking cursive or calligraphy fonts in your resumes.
Another thing about formatting that you need to take care of is the size of the font. While 12pt is the standard for fonts such as Times New Roman, 10pt is also widely accepted. Since the size varies in every font, make sure that the 10pt in your chosen font is not too small.
Lastly, don’t be lazy when you’re naming your resume. You may only have one file by the name of resume on your computer, but the agency will have hundreds if not thousands of those files. Make sure your file is easily distinguishable by listing your first name, last name and credentials with the word ‘resume’ in its file name.
Separate your first name, last name, credentials and the word ‘resume’ by using underscores.
Most people think it’s okay to write a resume the night before the final date of submission. While the agency might accept your hastily-written resume, there’s no guarantee that it will make it into the shortlist.
Writing a resume is hard work, especially with all the details you must include in a nursing one. Start well in advance, so you can spend the last few days checking it for grammatical or factual errors. It’s important to get all the details right on your resume, as even a single inaccuracy can result in a strike against you.
All in all, it’s important to remember these all-important tips when you sit down to write the nursing resume that will change the course of your career!
Things To Include On Your Nursing Resume
The previous section talked about the dos and don’ts of writing a nursing resume. This section will discuss all the details that you’ll need to include on your resume. Make a checklist with these sections to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Before starting your resume, keep all of your degrees and licenses close by. Doing so will ensure that you get all of the dates right on the resume.
So, what are things that you need to include on a nursing resume to make sure it ticks all the boxes? You’re about to find out!
This section should leave a lasting impression on the person reading it with its attention to detail and bulk of information. You’re not just supposed to write the name of the hospital where you worked as a nurse in this section. Instead, there is a checklist of things that you need to cover for every institution that you’ve worked for.
So, what comprises this checklist? Let’s see.
- The name of the hospital.
- The job title you held.
- The duration of your job.
- The exact start and end dates of your job.
- The type of the hospital such as children’s hospital, trauma hospital or teaching hospital.
- The unit you worked in.
- The number of beds in that unit.
- The types of computer software you used in the job.
- References, their job titles and their contact information.
- If you’ve previously worked as a travel nurse, list the agency’s details and contact information.
These are the essential aspects of your work history. Go through this checklist for each institution you’ve worked in, and you’re good to go!
If you’re working as a nurse, chances are you have more than one degree. You need to cover all the details of each of your degrees in this resume.
Here are some important details that you don’t want to miss when filling in your education history!
- Name of your degree.
- The name of the college/university where you completed your degree.
- Exact start and end dates of your degree.
- The institution’s contact information such as email address and telephone number.
- Its complete address.
Well, this section is relatively short because there are only a few things to know when it comes to a nurse’s educational history. Just make sure all the data you enter is accurate and can be corroborated by your school. Even an honest mistake can leave a bad impression on potential employers!
Your license is the most important document of all. It determines which states you can work in and which you can’t. It also shows the agency that you’re fit to work and have no violations.
So, what do you need to put in this section to make sure it covers all the bases? Let’s see.
- List the license number and don’t just say something general like ‘nurse’. Specify which license you have, such as RN or LPN.
- List the license number.
- List the name of the body that awarded you the license.
- List the correct dates for every license. These dates include expiration and issue dates.
- If it’s an NLC, state it clearly on your resume. Doing so will surely get you on the shortlist.
Well, that’s all on the license details. As you can see, it is critical to have an operating license in the state you wish to work in as a travel nurse. If you would like to work across other states, make sure you have a Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), as it will allow you to take assignments in other states as well.
While this section doesn’t have a checklist, it is still very important in determining the outcome of your application. If you have any particular specialties, mention them in the resume, along with how much experience you have in all of them. This section highlights your skills as a nurse and offers the employers valuable insight into your skillset.
Gaps In Employment History
This section is also critical to your success as an irregular work history may not inspire a lot of confidence in your potential employers. That is until you explain the gaps. If you have valid reasons, such as pregnancies, illnesses, or degrees, you can easily get back in the game by listing these reasons in the employment gaps.
Keep in mind that any unemployment period longer than four weeks counts as a significant gap in employment history which you should explain on your resume.
That’s all! If you’ve covered all of these sections, there’s nothing stopping you from getting on the shortlist.
What Not To Include On Your Resume
Just as there are certain things that you should include on your travel nursing resume, there are also several things that will hurt your case and make you seem unprofessional if you include them. What are these things? Let’s find out!
- Unnecessary information related to your personal life.
- Your salaries or employment packages in your previous jobs.
- Problems you faced in previous travel nursing assignments.
- Any statements that you haven’t proofread.
- Paragraphs taken from resume templates.
- Anything other than bullet points such as arrows or stars.
Luckily for you, there are very few things that will get you in trouble as far as your resume is concerned. Just proofread it a couple of times to ensure that there are no misspellings, date errors or grammatical inaccuracies.
Travel nursing is a wonderful opportunity for all nurses across the country. It has several perks compared to a simple permanent nursing position. If you want to travel, make money, have exciting opportunities to further your career and have many new experiences, travel nursing is the job for you.
With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc across hospitals, travel nurses are very much in demand right now. You should make use of this heightened demand and polish your resume and send it to an agency of your choice. If you follow these tips, you’ll be sure to get a call for an interview in no time!