How to Write a Nursing CV

In the field of nursing, every time you send in your Nursing CV for a job, you'll find yourself up against many similarly qualified candidates . This applies to nurses, midwives and specialist community public health nurses. It's important to constantly rethink how you present your nursing or placement experience on your CV, especially when newly qualified - if you're to stand a chance in face of the competition.

Whether your area is adult, mental health, learning disabilities or children's nursing, there are certain ways you can make your Nursing CV more effective. Most improvements are simple (as you'll see below), although you will have to put in the hard work when evaluating your own experience, skills and personal qualities.

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Personal Information on a Nursing CV

At the top of the first page of your Nursing CV, you need to place your name and contact details, such as your address, telephone number and email address.

As a nurse, you need to include your Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) pin on your CV. The number immediately states that you're a valid candidate, as you're a registered nurse in the UK.

Nursing CV Profile

Your profile is the first section on your Nursing CV and is where you need to attract the employer's attention with a powerful personal statement. This effectively presents a snapshot of your application by highlighting the most important areas of your experience and skills.

The important thing is to target this to each vacancy when applying for Health Jobs. This will be harder to do in the earlier stages of your career, but as your career progresses, you'll have more experiences to draw on. The more relevant you can make it to a particular vacancy, the stronger your chances of gaining an interview will be.

Even if you can't find a vacancy that you think exactly suits your skills or desires, you have to remember that every nursing job gives you difference experiences and responsibilities, all of which will be beneficial as you move forward towards the nursing job you really want. Always think about who will be reading your Nursing CV, and angle your writing towards them.

The profile should be 2 to 4 sentences long. Start by stating the type of nurse you are (e.g. mental health) and the number of years' experience you have. If you're recently qualified, mention your placement experience.

Next, highlight your main nursing skills areas - think about what this employer is looking for and make sure the strengths you mention are a match. Always but always focus on what you can offer, rather than what you would like in your next job.

Also add a few details about your transferable skills. These are skills that aren't specific to nursing, but which you bring to work as a person - in other words, you could transfer them to other jobs.

Examples are communication skills, sensitivity towards patients' feelings, being supportive as a member of a team, being able to prioritise tasks, attention to detail, ability to take responsibility, at ease with receiving instruction, adaptable to changing circumstances, etc.

Personal strengths and qualities can also be included on a Nursing CV. These may overlap with the transferable skills. Examples might be: high levels of motivation and enthusiasm, stamina and patience, ability to work on your own initiative, a practical approach, positive demeanour, decisive, sensitive, etc.

If you need help writing your Profile, our CV writers can identify and analyse your skills, strengths and experience and produce an excellent Profile that will really impress employers.

Skills on a Nursing CV

Once you have a few nursing positions to list, it's worth including a skills section on your CV, which can be included on page 1 or page 2 of your Nursing CV.

This is so that you can avoid repetition of basic nursing skills under every job entry on your CV. There is no need to do this if you are recently qualified.

It's also the information that an employer wants to know straightaway. This is so much the case that many employers in trusts will be using keyword scanning software to screen out candidates who don't have the competencies they're seeking. By including a skills section, you ensure that all the right information is present and positioned on your Nursing CV in a scanner-friendly location.

Keep the entries in this section short and to the point, so each skill is presented as a phrase of just 2 to 3 words, where possible. You can go into more detail in your experience section. Where an acronym exists - e.g. Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit is shortened to PICU - use both, e.g. Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), to ensure scanner recognition.

Insert your skills in a table that has 3 columns and as many rows as you need. Don't include the most basic nursing competencies that every nurse would be expected to have, but focus on those you have acquired through positions or continuing professional development. These might include administrative work. For example: chronic disease management, intensive care, performing audits, staff management.

Nursing Experience on Your Nursing CV

As many people train to become nurses as a career change, it's acceptable to have a 'nursing experience' section as well as an 'other experience' section on a Nursing CV.

In Experience section, you should provide details of the nursing positions you've held. On the first line of each entry, list your job title, the institution and department (if applicable) and the inclusive dates of your employment.

Next, add some description of your duties and responsibilities. If you've been working as a nurse for more than 10 years, you only need to do this for the positions you've worked in during the last decade. For jobs held earlier than that, only include the listing (you can add a line or two of description if there's room on your Nursing CV).

Avoid listing basic nursing duties that are the same in every position, especially if this just means repeating the wording of a job description.

Instead, write up the duties that you actually did, rather than those you were employed to do.

Also include any administrative responsibilities that were a regular part of your work. You need to include 5 to 6 points, prioritised according to the needs of the employer you're sending this application to.

Write these points up as sentences with bullet points, using active language. Include your transferable skills and personal strengths as you write these. This means stating, for instance, that as a children's nurse, you used sensitivity and compassion when liaising with patients' families or that you worked calmly under pressure as an accident and emergency nurse. Always be honest about your characteristics as a nurse.

If you are new to nursing, you can go into more detail about placements or your first position. It's acceptable to use non-identifying cases to provide evidence of any outstanding clinic experience you can offer, but limit this to one or two.

If this section of your Nursing CV is short, another way to strengthen it is to add some description of the hospital. Keep it short: whether it's public or private, a teaching hospital or some other centre, the number of beds, the unit or ward you worked on, its size, nurse-patient ratio, etc. Numbers always help to make experience more specific, adding weight to your application.

Other Experience for a Nursing CV

If you are new to nursing, either as a recent graduate who went to college straight from school, or as a career-changer, then you can include this section on your Nursing CV. It's an opportunity to show how your non-nursing experience has developed you as an individual and prospective employee.

Once again, don't go back beyond 10 years. If you have little work experience, you can outline your placement as a student nurse and experiences in other non-work situations. Think about any voluntary work you've done, membership on committees, sports activities, etc. Gap year travel experiences can also be mentioned.

Always aim to highlight transferable skills that can also be used in the nursing position. Once again, this means skills such as being a team leader or member, problem-solving abilities, demonstrating stamina and staying power, remaining calm under pressure, strong people skills, etc.

Nursing CV Qualifications and Training

If you've had a longer career and have a long string of postgraduate certificates, then it's less important to list your nursing degree at the top of this section of your Nursing CV.

If you're a more recent graduate, then start with your degree.

On the first line, give the title of your Bachelors degree or Diploma of Higher Education, the institution where you gained it and the date you attained it.

If you have little work experience, then on the next line, include a few details about your attainments: e.g. your placement details, percentages in theory assessments (providing this is high). You can mention any other outstanding achievements from your degree.

Post registration education and practice (PREP) training, as meeting the requirements of the NMC, should also be listed here. If you completed a Dip(HE), then also list your pre-college qualifications: GCSEs at grade C or above. If a degree holder, list your qualifying GCSE A-levels as well.

Other pages a nurse may choose to view:

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