By Tyler Faust, R.N.
In last Tuesday's blog post, we discussed how to tactfully highlight key experiences, differentiate yourself from other candidates, and showcase the value you offer. Today we'll discuss three other ways to structure your resume and cover letter that will help you build the best resume and cover letter possible.
1. Prepare the Hiring Manager for the Interview
The resume and cover letter set the stage for what the hiring manager is expecting from you during the interview. In other words, your resume and cover letter should tell a great deal about you and highlight your strengths. Highlighting your strengths is a technique that can be referred to as personal branding, and is basically a creative way of highlighting two or three key attributes you possess through your resume and cover letter. Generally, personal branding is expressed in a creative way, rather than in general, generic terms. Refrain from ordinary descriptors such as "great leader", "creative nurse", or "respectful individual" for personal branding. Find creative ways that are more specific to what you intend to bring the position and incorporate them into your resume and a cover letter such as "catalyst visionary", "dynamic leader", or "compassionate healer".
Personal branding isn’t simply to make yourself sound great. You actually have to back the characteristics up. This will take much reflection and understanding of yourself and strengths. These themes will need to be felt during the interview process as well so don’t carelessly incorporate personal branding characteristics into your resume and cover letter that you found during a Google search.
2. Share Your Career Journey
An easy way to create a quality cover letter is to briefly share important details of your career in a chronological manner. As you highlight key experiences you can narrate what you did in a way that is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Experienced nurses will need to briefly mention their early experiences and put more focus on their last 5-10 years.
3. Identify Your Ideal Job
At the end of your cover letter, you can leave a few sentences dedicated to exactly what you are looking for. Specifics are best. Do you desire a fast-paced environment or a stable environment? Do you enjoy interacting with patients at the bedside or in a clinic setting? Do you desire to care for complex patients with acute needs or work to prevent chronic diseases?
Remember, the more specific you can be about what you want, the better you will find the right job for you, not just any job. Hiring managers want to know that you want the job you're applying for, not just any job. If you can make it clear you want the job you're applying for, you can create another degree of separation from other candidates.
There are no hard and fast rules for putting together the perfect resume and cover letter. The first step in developing a high-quality resume and cover letter is to understand what you are trying to accomplish with them. As you break down the purpose of a resume and cover letter you can find ways to set yourself apart from other candidates. If your resume and cover letter clearly accomplish these seven things, you are setting yourself up for success!
Tyler Faust is a full-time registered nurse and part-time freelance healthcare writer. He has his BSN and Master's degree and Winona State University and has worked at Mayo Clinic for over 7 years. Currently, he works as a nurse manager. Tyler is a creative thinker, strategist, and passionate about leadership.