Believe it or not, nurse practitioners were among some of my earliest clients, even before I shifted my focus to resume writing and career coaching. As an academic writer and coach, I spent a significant amount of time teaching writing strategies to several nurse practitioner students, working with them on their documents to help them excel academically and obtain scholarships. My experiences not only introduced me to an ambitious group of exciting RNs ready to take the next steps in their career of serving others, but it also gave me first-hand insight into the competitive nature of job-hunting for recently graduate NPs, which in turn prompted me to develop a set of strategies that has consistently proven effective for recently graduated NPs looking to get a great job fast.

I’ve boiled that strategy down into three best practices that will drastically improve the new NPs chance of getting called for an interview right away. 

  1. Resume or CV? Know the difference and why it matters.

One of the first questions I get from many newly graduated NPs is about resumes vs. CVs — what’s the difference and which do they need? The answer gets a little muddy, but fortunately it isn’t as important as you may think. But, to help clarify the issue, here are a few quick facts about resumes and CVs.

  •  In many cases, the terms “resume” and “CV” are used interchangeably, much like the terms “couch” and “sofa” or “pop” and “soda.” In some parts of the country and in some industries, “CV” is the favored term, while in others, it’s “resume.”
  • In some cases, though, a CV and a resume really are different. This is most obvious in the academic and medical fields, where CVs are typically longer than resumes and can include more information, such as research, courses, publications, service projects, and other information that would be typically left off a resume. 

So what is an NP to do? Typically, you want to start building a CV. Even when an employer asks for a

resume, submitting a CV is generally acceptable and may be more impressive. In addition, a CV can be pared down into a general resume by just taking out some information, so having a CV to start with means 

you’re covered on all your bases.

As a recent graduate, however, don’t be surprised if your CV and resume are essentially identical.Because 

you don’t yet have much experience, your documents won’t be as lengthy as a senior-level professional 

and that’s OK. Don’t waste time trying to make them longer unnecessarily. 

  1. Demonstrate versatility by including all your healthcare experience

Throughout your career as an RN, LPN, CNA, or whatever roles you held before furthering your education, 

You cultivated a wide range of experiences working in many environments with diverse patients and different healthcare teams. This information is important to your future employer. The hospital, clinic, or long-term care facility where you will be working needs to know that you are flexible and able to adapt to diverse situations. Details like number of beds, units you worked in, and types of medical professionals you worked with are important. Be sure to include all of your preceptor or practicum experience, as well as full-time employment. 

  1. Help employers get to know you better by highlighting what else you do

As a general rule, including a section for “hobbies” or “interests” on a resume has gone out of fashion in the United States, though this is still a common practice in other countries. However, work as an NP requires a certain amount of soft skills that no amount of clinical education can give you. Compassion, strong communication abilities, and strengths in multitasking and efficiency are all examples of soft skills that are key in this role. If your experience outside of healthcare demonstrates these traits, include it. Some examples include community service, participation in clubs, and volunteer work. 

My experience working with NPs taught me — first and foremost — about their passion for serving others. Because it’s my mission to help people find their purpose and make an impact by loving what they do, I’ve enjoyed the work I’ve done with NPs, both as a career and academic coach. But my experiences also revealed a competitive industry landscape and a cloud of confusion about how to best compete within those circumstances. If you follow the suggestions above, you’ll be a stronger competitor and on the fast track to making a difference by doing what you love.

Whether you’re looking for a job as an NP or in any other field, schedule a free call to discuss your career goals with me here: