Graduating from nursing school is a tremendous achievement.

Still, breaking into the nursing workforce can be hard, especially if you’re a new nurse graduate without job experience.

But worry not!

In this article, I’ve got your back with top-notch resume tips for new nurse graduates without job experience.

Resume Tips for New Nurse Graduates without Job Experience

1. Start with a Powerful Objective

Your resume’s objective should be a brief, eye-catching statement that showcases your enthusiasm, commitment, and potential value to your future employer.

Highlight your passion for patient care and your eagerness to learn and grow in your new role.

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2. Make Education Your Star Player

As a new graduate, your educational background is your strongest asset.

Be sure to detail your nursing degree, school attended, and graduation date. Include any relevant coursework, clinical rotations, and academic honors or awards.

3. ExhibitYour Relevant Skills

Even if you don’t have job experience, you can still show off your skills.

List your clinical skills, such as taking vital signs, administering medications, or providing wound care.

Remember to mention your soft skills, like communication, teamwork, and critical thinking.

4. Don’t Shy Away from Volunteer Work and Internships

If you have participated in volunteer work or internships during your nursing education, highlight them on your resume.

These experiences can demonstrate your dedication, initiative, and hands-on practice in a healthcare setting.

5. Make sure Your Formatting and Layout is Good

Your resume should be easy to read and visually appealing. Stick to a clean, professional format with clear headings and bullet points.

Use a simple, easy-to-read font, and don’t forget to proofread for errors.

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6. Show Certifications and Licenses

Be sure to include any relevant certifications and licenses, such as your registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) license, Basic Life Support (BLS), and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certifications.

7. Show Off Your Tech-Savviness

Nurses need to be comfortable with various healthcare technologies.

Be sure to list any electronic health record (EHR) systems, medical devices, or computer programs you’re familiar with.

8. Show Professional Affiliations

If you’re a member of any professional nursing organizations, include them on your resume.

This shows your commitment to staying informed and connected within the nursing profession.

9. Tailor Your Resume to the Job

Don’t forget to customize your resume for each job application. Highlight the skills, experiences, and qualifications most relevant to the position you’re applying for.

Other Important Factors

Besides the resume to really improve your chances of getting that job as a new nurse graduate, there are some other things you need to do.

Strong References

A solid reference can make all the difference in getting your foot in the door as a new nurse graduate.

Here’s how to secure and leverage strong references to enhance your job prospects.

How to Choose Your References

Look for individuals who can speak to your skills, character, and work ethic. Ideal references for new nurse graduates may include:

  • Nursing school professors or instructors
  • Clinical preceptors or supervisors
  • Mentors or experienced nurses you’ve worked with
  • Non-nursing supervisors or managers from volunteer or part-time jobs

Requesting a Reference

When asking someone to serve as a reference, make sure to:

  • Request their permission: Reach out to potential references via email or phone, and ask if they’d be willing to provide a reference for your job search. Be polite and respectful of their time.
  • Provide necessary information: Share your resume, the job description, and any specific skills or experiences you’d like them to emphasize. This will help them tailor their reference to the position you’re applying for.
  • Stay in touch: Keep your references updated on your job search progress and be sure to thank them for their support.

Including References on Your Resume

Traditionally, listing your references directly on your resume is unnecessary.

Instead, create a separate “References” document that includes your references’ names, titles, and contact information.

You can provide this document to prospective employers upon request or during an interview.


Realistically, you’ll probably just fill out the information online.

Make Sure You Have a Good Cover Letter

A well-written new nurse cover letter can set you apart from other candidates.

Use this opportunity to introduce yourself, express your passion for nursing, and explain why you’re the perfect fit for the position.

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Frequently Asked Questions

As a new graduate, aim for a one-page resume that highlights your most relevant qualifications and experiences.

If your GPA is impressive (generally 3.5 or higher), you may want to include it. Otherwise, it’s not necessary.

Absolutely! Clinical rotations are valuable hands-on experiences that demonstrate your practical nursing skills. List the name of the facility, the type of unit, and the duration of your rotation.

Don’t sweat it! Focus on showcasing your education, skills, and any other relevant experiences you have. Consider including non-healthcare volunteer work or part-time jobs that demonstrate transferable skills, such as customer service or teamwork.

A visually appealing format, a powerful objective statement, and a tailored approach to each job application can help your resume stand out. Also, be sure to emphasize your unique qualities and experiences, such as specific clinical skills, certifications, or leadership roles.

Don’t get discouraged! Networking is crucial in nursing, so attend professional events, reach out to your nursing school’s alumni network, and connect with fellow nurses on social media platforms. You may also want to seek feedback on your resume and cover letter from experienced nurses or career counselors.

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