7 Common Nurse Resume Mistakes

January 22, 2018


Creating a resume can be daunting.


Experts everywhere say there is an art to finding the right balance of poetry and prowess. Your resume is like a mirror. It must be clean and have all the dust removed in order to see a clear reflection of who you are.

Nurses typically have many skills that can go on their resume. From practical, everyday skills to courses, certifications, and degrees, you can easily create a 2-3 page resume after just a few years of working as a nurse. So, those who have been in the biz for 15+ years, have a lot that could be included.

Is it all needed? Should you list every position held or group similar positions into one entry to cut down on the number of jobs and pages? Do you need to list every continuing education course ever taken?

From My Experience

As a nurse leader, I reviewed many resumes. I would always try to read between the lines as I reviewed resumes and decided which nurses to call in and which to pass over. I would often wonder if I passed over nurses who had the skills I needed for the position because they had not captured the essence of who they are as a practitioner in words.

Below are 7 common resume mistakes from the desk of a former Nurse Manager:

1.Underestimating Your Knowledge - Nurses possess both hard and soft skills as professionals. Many nurses are not good at “tooting their own horn” so to speak, which may lead to downplaying all of the skills you do possess. There is an art to listing the right skills. Here are a few tips to follow:

a.Make it count - Don’t include characteristics such as compassionate. All nurses must have this quality in order to be successful.

b.Capitalize on skills that make you stand out - Include all certifications, intense workshops, conferences and continuing education courses that are pertinent to the position you are applying to. 

c.Include all degrees and certifications - This is very important. You never know what the hiring manager may be looking for. Many nurses who go into nursing as a second degree fail to include their prior life, but if you were in business, fitness or other complementary degrees, this could be the one thing that causes that nurse manager to call you for an interview.


2.Including Negative Statements About Your Current Employer - No matter how dysfunctional, mean or behind the times your current employer may be, don’t include this on your resume.


When I would see negative comments about a former employer, my first thought would be, “What will they say about xyz company when they leave here?” If you are called for an interview, you will have the opportunity to discuss your reasons for leaving and some of the challenges faced at your current employer.

Even then, always keep it clean and “above the belt”.


3.Stretching the Truth - Never, ever stretch the truth on your resume.


Don’t embellish your title to sound more important. Never claim to have a degree that you did not achieve. Don’t take credit for achievements that were not solely yours.

There are ways to capture your skills and experience that truly reflect the truth. If you have to lie to get in the door, it is not the right job for you.

4.  Including the Wrong Details - You must always look for the details that matter to the hiring manager for the job you are applying to.

Capture skills and accomplishments you have achieved. Include why you stand out. Review the job description for the job you are applying to and link up your characteristics with the primary responsibilities of the job. You want the hiring manager to easily see how you would fit well into the position. 


5.  Using an Objective - Objectives rarely help. First, they are outdated. Second, they focus too much on what you are looking for versus what really matters at this stage of the game: what does the hiring manager want?

Instead, use a summary that showcases your experience, skills, and accomplishments in


6.  Not Including a Cover Letter - Cover letters are your opportunity to introduce yourself to the organization and hiring manager. You can express your interest in the company or open position. Your cover letter should lead them to reading your resume and ultimately calling you in for an interview.


7.  Using Cookie Cutter Resume Templates - Creating a resume is hard. Using a resume template or resume program is easily spotted by a skilled hiring manager. These resumes are often in the same format and use many of the same words.


You need a resume that showcases who you are and why you are the best candidate for the job. Many nurses can create stellar resumes. Others want to run in terror at the thought of creating one. If this is you, I can help! Reach out today by emailing me at melissa@makingspace.company to set up a free consultation.






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