Kathleen Gaines, MSN, RN, BA, CBC
Kathleen Gaines, MSN, RN, BA, CBC
September 9, 2020 - 3 min read

5 Tips to Make Your Travel Nursing Resume Stand Out

A travel nursing resume that makes a great first impression is key to landing a highly-desirable contract position. Healthcare systems will receive stacks of resumes from recruiters for those interested in an opening and fulfill the requirements of the position.

Based on the resumes, interviews are set up to fill the position. Your resume should include all the needed information as clearly as possible, and show your experience, licensure, and certifications. A resume is a time to brag about oneself.

Use this time to list objectives, professional experience, education and certifications as well as references.

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1. State a clear and concise objective

In the objective statement, state very clearly why you are best for the position including highlights of your capabilities including charge nurse, trauma experience, and shift consideration.

Use the objective section of the resume as a way to introduce yourself and tell the hiring manager the most important parts of your resume. Imagine if they never read the rest of the resume, will the objective statement tell them enough to be interested.

2. List all professional experience

This may be long and tedious but it is VERY important that the healthcare system knows the type of experience you may have including the types of locations previously worked.

For those that have been travel nurses for a significant period of time, this might be a long list but including all is important. Do not make this section wordy. Clearly state the hospital, length of time of employment, and any special positions held including charge nurse.

Highlight the unit worked and anything special about the unit including if it is a trauma unit, ECMO, total body cooling unit, as well as the number of beds.

More specifically include the following:

  • Hospitals and bed size
  • Trauma Level
  • Type of unit/floor worked
  • Electronic Medical Record used during contracts
  • Agency name (this should be under the actual facility worked)

3. Include all states in which you are licensed

Include all states where you are licensed along with the license number. With the implementation of the eNLC, only the state of original licensure should be listed as well as any individual state licenses. Adding the license number makes it easy for healthcare recruiters to look up the license and expiration date.

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4. Brag about your education and certifications

This is the time to brag about your education and certifications. This might include current schooling or any advanced practice education. Make sure to include BSN education including if it was obtained online or in-person.

Certifications should include specialty ones such as RNC and CCRN. It should also include generic bur required certifications such as BLS, ACLS, PALS, and NRP. The expiration date should be included because most contracts will require these not expire during the time of the contract.

5. List your references

Do not just state “References Upon Request.”

References will be required for all travel nurses. List their full name, credentials, contact information including email and phone number as well as how they are connected to you. Giving references advance notice is essential as travel nurse contracts are often time-sensitive and an offer can be obtained without the references being completed.

Keep in mind that refreshing your reference list with more current contacts is recommended and will keep previous references from being called more over time.

Helpful Tips for Your Travel Nursing Resume

  • After each contract, updating a resume will make it easier for the next contract.
  • Don’t add extra fluff. Be as specific and relevant as possible.
  • Don’t be modest. Brag about your accomplishments!
  • Don’t worry about the length of the resume. Including all relevant professional experience and certifications is more important.

Should you tailor your travel nursing resume to each contract position?

Generally, this is not advisable or needed but for highly desirable contracts such as those in Hawaii and California this might be essential.

Review the healthcare systems website and be aware of buzzwords used and the mission statement. This will require more work and the resume would need to be altered for each position submitted to. After reviewing the website and understanding the hospital, align the description of yourself with that of the hospital. If the hospital is a cardiac center of excellence, make sure that all cardiac experience is listed and emphasized in the objective.

A travel nurse’s resume will constantly be a work in progress and should be something that gives an employer a general sense of a potential employee. With more and more nurses wanting to take the leap into travel nursing, making sure a resume stands out is important. Following these guidelines will make sure yours is at the top of the pile.

Looking for a travel nursing assignment? Talk to a recruiter today.

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