So, you’ve built a solid resume that adequately represents who you are as a nurse. You’ve sharpened your professional summary, created a “Skills and Accomplishments” section that highlights your expertise, and you’ve made the “Experience,” “Education,” and “Licenses and Certifications” sections shine. What next?6-ideas-for-next-level-resumes

While no single enhancement will be the silver bullet that puts your resume over the top, you should consider the cumulative effect of the many elements of a strong resume. Explore those overlooked resume sections that can make your resume come alive.

1. Upgrade Your Resume

If your resume demonstrates who you are as a healthcare professional, looking for ways to upgrade, enhance, or otherwise massage your resume to the next level is wise. After all, when push comes to shove in a competitive job market, those extra touches can make your resume stand out.

Even though resumes are most often considered tools in your job search toolkit, they can also be crucial for applications to graduate school, various types of fellowships and grants, and opportunities such as presenting at conferences. Resumes serve many purposes, and it’s wise to have yours looking sharp and ready for anything that might come along.

2. Community Service

Community service and volunteerism may not seem like a big deal to you. Still, involvement in such “extracurricular activities” paints a picture of a well-rounded individual who takes their place in society seriously.

Volunteerism serves many purposes: it strengthens the fabric of communities, benefits organizations and groups that rely on people’s power to get things done, and brings together individuals who work on common goals for the good of the whole.

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If you decide to apply to graduate school or perhaps ask to be accepted for a fellowship or grant, a robust list of how you’ve been involved in various types of community service over the years could strengthen your case. 

3. Publications

Having your name on a piece of published writing in a professional journal is an excellent addition to your resume, and it’s a false opinion that getting published is a pipe dream for the average nursing professional interested in writing, researching, or communicating their perspective. 

Having an article published in a professional journal is an honor, whether that journal publishes solely online or in print format.

While some academic journals might only be interested in writing by a nurse with an advanced academic record of degrees and other accomplishments, some publications accept manuscripts from boots-on-the-ground nurses.

Remember that findings from even a small study done in your ICU can be worthy of an article revealing your conclusions. For example, research done on the impact of nosocomial infections of a new procedure for urinary catheterization can be worked into a solid piece of professional literature.  

Original writing and research have a place in the world, and some editors would be interested in your ideas, whether you’re working by yourself or with a group of colleagues. And each professional participant in that endeavor can add that publication to their resume.

4. Presentations

Nursing and healthcare conferences allow professionals to display posters or give talks presenting the findings of their observations and research. The results from the study above on nosocomial infections in an ICU can be transcribed onto a large-format poster that could be accepted for presentation at a professional conference. Subsequently, that poster presentation or talk could also be included on your resume.

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5. Affiliations and Memberships

It may seem insignificant to be a member of a local, state, regional, national, or international nursing organization, but listing your memberships on your resume adds something to the overall picture of who you are as a nurse.

If you hold elected office or participate in particular activities of an organization (e.g., you’re a member of the Government Relations committee, or you sit on the board of your state nursing association), this is a feather in your cap that absolutely belongs on your resume.

6. Committees and Other Workplace Activities

Do you participate in shared governance, facility-wide research, or other activities in your workplace? Taking part in committees, research, or working groups can be added to your resume to show how you do more than the minimum expected. Employers are interested in employees who give back to the workplace community.

Your resume is a living document that is a perpetual work in progress. To infuse your resume with life, get involved in professional activities that add breadth and depth to your overall career history. This adds color and vibrancy to your resume and others’ view of you as a curious and dynamic professional interested in being the best version of yourself that you can be.

Keith Carlson
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