Nurse practitioner résumés require a unique approach compared to standard nursing résumés.
After all, it’s hard to sum up all of your years of schooling, additional certifications, and high-level experience in just a few paragraphs.
This article will give you a headstart on your nurse practitioner résumé. These insider tips will help you create an NP résumé that’s clutter-free, laser-focused, and fully comprehensive.
Follow these five tips to help your nurse practitioner résumé stand out from the crowd.
If you’re looking for an easy way to write your nurse practitioner résumé, my résumé templates take away all the guesswork. Download the templates for a plug-and-play way to write your next NP résumé.
1. Keep a clean header
By the time you’ve reached the NP level, you likely have a long list of impressive letters behind your name.
Including your complete list of certifications runs the risk of cluttering the header of your résumé. Instead, save your certifications for a separate section. Many NPs include a column simply labeled “certifications and licenses” where they list:
- Name of certification or license
- Issuing organization
- Expiration date (optional)
The one exception to this rule might be if you have a highly specialized certification that is directly relevant to the position. In this case, it might make sense to include this certification after your name.
2. Highlight your skills and experience in the Professional Summary
I’m a nut for the Professional Summary section. This area of your résumé is prime real estate. When recruiters scan your résumé (often in less than six seconds), they are most likely to review this section to see if you might be a good match.
The Professional Summary is very different from the Professional Objective sections you may have used in the past. Where Objectives sections focus on you and your goals, the Professional Summary section allows you to illustrate why you are the perfect match for the position you’re applying for.
Use the Professional Summary section to illustrate:
- Who you are
- Where you come from
- What type of provider you are (using adjectives)
- Key accomplishments or skills
See the difference between the Professional Objective and Professional Summary sections below. Which one do you think is more likely to get a callback?
|Professional Objective||Professional Summary|
|Compassionate Nurse Practitioner seeking a position in family-centered Labor & Delivery department. Looking to build relationships with a teaching hospital that values preceptor experience.||Compassionate and family-centered Nurse Practitioner with 4+ years of labor and delivery experience at a 14-bed L&D. Extensive experience in the management of complex births, natural births, and multiples. Enthusiastic student preceptor with >95% positive preceptor evaluations. Highly proficient in Meditech electronic health record. Available for immediate onboarding for all shifts.|
3. Use metrics to give context
When possible, include specific metrics or hard numbers to illustrate your experience. Remember to highlight these numbers in your Professional Summary or at the top of your Work Experience section.
Metrics give context to the type of work you’ve performed. They indicate whether you were in a fast-paced environment with a lot of turnover or if you had time for deeper patient connections.
- How many beds were in your previous units?
- How many patients are served annually?
- How many births per year in L&D?
- How many babies graduated from the NICU?
- How many procedures per month in the OR?
- What trauma level was the ER?
Another benefit to including hard numbers is that they are easily skimmable. Using numbers in a résumé helps break up the text and draws the eye through the document.
Note that there may be some repetition between the Professional Summary and Work Experience sections. This is perfectly fine as long as the metrics help to demonstrate your past experience.
4. Highlight essential skills
One of my students recently applied for a new job using an online job board. During the interview, the recruiter mentioned that she received over a thousand applicants for the position. True story!
How did her résumé make it to the top of the pile? With less than one year of experience in her field, I’m certain there were more experienced and qualified applicants in the pool.
The key to standing out in a crowded market is to create a résumé that is laser-focused on the specific skills and attributes listed in the job posting.
Review the job listing for clues:
- What technical skills are they looking for?
- Are there specific disease processes or diagnostic tools involved?
- Does the position require specific language skills or cultural competencies?
- Does the job require familiarity with specific charting or electronic record systems?
Once you have identified the key skills of the job position, be sure to sprinkle these throughout your résumé. The Professional Summary and Work Experience sections are both good places to include these keywords. It’s also acceptable to create a separate section dedicated to skills or areas of expertise.
Take a look at this example for an NP applying to a job in the NICU:
|Areas of expertise:
Oh, and the position that my student applied for? The one with 1,000 applicants? Yes, she got the job. 🙂
Learn more about the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and how you can use this employment software to your advantage during your job search!
5. Don’t forget soft skills
While it’s important to include concrete metrics and technical skills that you bring to the table, don’t forget to include your soft skills.
What is your approach to patient care? What motivates you to stay at the bedside? Include these attributes in the Professional Summary or your Work Experience sections.
Possible soft skills or values:
- Equity and inclusion
- Healthy-at-any-size affirming
- Patient educator
- Team player
- Highly motivated
It’s also helpful to review the job ad for clues. Take a look at this job position:
|Our Community Neonatal Associates (CNA) team is seeking an experienced and highly motivated, full-time, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at our growing Level II Neonatal Unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Germantown, MD. At CNA, we value family-centered care, clinical excellence and our dedicated care team of Neonatologists, Pediatric Hospitalists and Neonatal Nurse Practitioners. We take pride in saving the lives of newborns and we graduate approximately 1400 NICU patients annually.|
For this example, an NP applying to this position might include the phrases “family-centered care” and “clinical excellence” somewhere on their résumé.
6. Bonus tip: Don’t forget the cover letter
After working so hard on your résumé, it’s important not to overlook the cover letter. The cover letter allows you to speak in your own voice and provides a glimpse of the individual behind the résumé.
The cover letter also demonstrates your communication skills. Collaboration and communication are the heart of so many nurse practitioner roles, so the cover letter presents a vital opportunity to demonstrate your abilities.
Here are a few ways to help your cover letter get noticed:
- The Salutation: A great cover letter starts with a direct salutation to the hiring manager. If at all possible, be sure to include someone’s name in the first line.
- Personal motivation: Highlight your passions and personal motivations in the first paragraph. Why did you pursue your NP license? Do you have a patient story that highlights your approach to patient care?
- Make your pitch: Scour the job description for clues about the kind of candidate they’re looking for. Once you’ve identified these attributes, share a story or list of accomplishments to explain how you are the perfect fit for the role.
All of my résumé templates come with matching cover letters and references templates, taking the guesswork out of how to design an outstanding cover letter. If you need more tips, my Résumé Makeover course walks you through the entire process of creating your cover letter.
Do you have questions about nurse practitioner résumés?
As a Nurse Practitioner, you are an accomplished and highly skilled professional. Your NP résumé should reflect your exceptional skill and training.
If you need more help writing your nurse practitioner résumé, check out my Résumé Makeover course for a step-by-step guide to writing a stellar résumé and cover letter.
Have more questions? The NP Dream Job Roadmap includes everything in the résumé makeover course, plus tools to revamp your LinkedIn profile, reverse engineer your dream job, and rock the flood of interview requests you’ll inevitably receive.
Do you have other tips for writing nurse practitioner résumés? Share them in the comments below!