Crafting an Efficient Resume for your Next Contract

In preparation for applying for travel nursing jobs, one of the main requirements that you need to submit before you even get a profile setup is your curriculum vitae or resume. Sure, you should have the other basic requirements like your identification as well as your certificates but the variable in your application is contained in your resume. Anyone can submit their driver’s license plus their heart cards but the contents of your resume, that is where the difference comes in. This is where your interviewer spends more time reviewing other essential details in that document. That is why you need to make sure you are able to maintain it accordingly or risk missing out on potential jobs that you are gunning for. Let us take a look at the common mistakes and some tips on how to make your resume worth the read for the hiring personnel:

Always keep it updated

If you plan to be a travel nurse, it is important to make sure you update your resume periodically. This should not take more than ten minutes of your time. As a travel nurse, you may find yourself in a new facility every three months or maybe even shorter depending on the contract you took advantage of. Obviously, this will fall under your employment history. Let us make sure you keep it uniform. Take note of the following:

  • Name of the facility
  • Address
  • Phone number of the facility
  • Period you worked in the facility (this way, the facility would be able to assess how long you stayed and if there is a gap in your work history)
  • What position/department/specialty were you assigned? – This is for counting down the length of time you have experience in a given specialty
  • Name of your immediate superior and their contact. – This is for easy reference

It will be quite challenging to keep track of all these details and commit them to memory so I would strongly advise to actually do it after every assignment.

Stick to the significant details for the job

One very common mistake is submitting the master copy of your resume to a potential job you are interested in. You may be asking, what is a master copy?

A master copy of your resume will contain everything that pertains to you. It will contain every little detail that you may potentially need when submitting yourself for an application. A very common example is school where you got your basic and secondary education. Some people would also have hobbies and interests. This is also a place where you can compile your references from each facility you had worked previously.

It is important that you keep your work history updated. However, you can stick to within the last seven years of your employment. Going beyond seven years is relatively moot unless the facility actually asks. 99% of what the facility does care about is the last seven years and that alone. Anything beyond that, you can keep in your master copy. Do note, however, that if you happen to have a gap in your employment for over a month, it would be best to declare it on your work history. Do note that facilities are very particular on your whereabouts which explains why your background screening will be covering the basic social security trace as well as county searches depending on the locations you’ve worked in.  You can always explain any gaps honestly by entering the gap period as if it were a job entry on the resume and note briefly what caused the gap (caring for a family member, school…etc)

Keeping your resume compact is pretty straight forward. Instead of putting in your hobbies and interests, you can enumerate the specialties that you are familiar with. You can also limit the references you keep in your resume to four. Prioritize the ones you will be placing in your resume. There is no use putting them all. Look into the following to see which ones would be ideal to serve as your reference.

  • Recent – It would be best to have someone in your reference list that is within the last 2 years of your employment. Even when your potential employers are looking into the last seven years, they would be more interested in more recent references.
  • Length of service – Make sure that you choose a reference that you had worked with for at least three months. Choosing someone whom you had worked with for a month may not be enough to actually be a vouch for your character and professionalism.
  • Position – You can definitely use your charge nurse as your reference but also make sure that you have at least a nursing supervisor in your reference list.
  • Ask permission when using someone as your reference. It will not reflect well on you as a candidate when your supposed reference gets irritated when the facility reaches out to them for verification.

Stick to a format

You do not have to be overly creative when drafting your resume. In fact, you don’t even have to put in your photo. When submitting your resume for a job, the reviewer will not be impressed with how you choose different fonts on different parts of your CV. They want DETAILS and it would be best to give it to them straight. This way it will be much faster to draft your profile and have it ready for submission. Also- many facilities now use automated resume parsing into their applicant tracking systems….so some of the newer formatted resumes may get rejected by the system, removing you from consideration.  As you know when it comes to hot jobs, you will be racing against probably hundreds of others. The sooner you can have your profile submitted the sooner you can be interviewed and be on the shortlist. Most of the time here is the basic list you can refer to when it comes to drafting your resume:

  • Basic details – this will be your name and your contact information. You don’t even have to put in your address since your profile will usually include a government issued identification like your driver’s license. Your phone number and email address should suffice this segment.
  • Work history – We have tackled this part already and it is pretty straight forward. Keep the details in check and you should be good.
  • Educational Background – You do not have to fill in all the details you have in here. Just note the following:
        • Name of the institution
        • Period of attendance
        • Date Graduated
        • Degree/Major

The details in your educational background should be enough to run an actual third party education background as part of your compliance requirement if you get offered the job.

  • References – We have also tackled this earlier. You can place this on the last part of the resume.

Keep your resume alongside your essential documentation

Different facilities may require different things when it comes to requiring submission for a job but there are three basic items that remain to be a certainty among those requirements. It would be your basic ID, your resume, and your heart cards. Now that we have tackled all about your resume, let us look into the other two; the basic ID and certificates or heart cards:

  • Basic ID – Most of the time an updated driver’s license would suffice this requirement. There are some facilities that might require a secondary ID. From my experience, it would be best if you have the two basics which is your driver’s license and your passport. In the absence of these two, you can opt for a government issued photo ID although you might want to take note that there may be some facilities that would require a specific ID upon submission.
  • Certificates – Now it would be important to keep this in a secure place alongside your other important documents. This would usually be required on your first day when you start a contract. This usually expires every two years so it would be best to keep track and make sure you have these updated.

Keep things simple and straightforward. Cater your resume according to what you are applying for. Do not over embellish because believe me, those embellishments might actually end up being the reason why you might get declined. Here at Pamela’s List we are dedicated to helping our travelers put their best foot forward.  Talk to your recruiter about your resume and how they can help you to optimize it!

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