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Career Coach

Get a Job, With Little Experience

Published July 29, 2010 12:04 PM by Renee Dahring
Are you out there applying for a new NP job and have a brief employment history as a nurse practitioner? Many nurse practitioners, especially recent grads, worry about what to put into their work history section of their resume if most of their career has been spent elsewhere. We have talked before about the section for “clinical rotations” if you are a new grad. This “student experience” or “clinical rotations” section can serve a dual purpose. It will help explain an employment gap while you were in school and it highlights relevant clinical activities. This is great if you are a new grad but ONLY if you are a new grad. But remember, after you have your first NP job this section must be removed.

New grad or not, you still need to list your work history. This is a challenge for those of you who may not have a long NP work history. This part is somewhat easier if you had a long RN career. It’s acceptable to list your previous nursing jobs but I recommend you tweak them to focus more on leadership aspects and less on routine nurse duties. Take some time to think back on your previous jobs and list your accomplishments. You want to emphasize activities such as committees, charge nurse, mentoring or policy/procedure development. Stay away from statements of skills such as “IV placement” unless you really foresee this being a big part of the NP position for which you are currently applying. If your nursing history is really long, keep it down to about the last 10 years on your resume.

If you have a short (or nonexistent) RN career, resist the urge to include nonclinical jobs. I am hearing that HR really does not want to see any work history unless it’s directly related to healthcare. It’s OK to list positions like “nursing assistant” or “EMT,” because those are healthcare related and therefore relevant. Under no circumstances, however, should you list jobs like “bartender” or “customer service manager” even though you think it may showcase your people skills.

In a nutshell, make the most of any NP experience if you have it. You can include your student experience ONLY if you have not yet worked as an NP. RN experience is next best, followed by any healthcare-related jobs.

Take- home message: do not put nonclinical experience on your resume.

Visit I welcome your comments and questions!


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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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