Creating an Effective CV and Resume to Land the Job

September 13, 2017

Heather Costa, PHR, SHRM-CP, a nurse recruiter, and Precious Suchora Farroni, PHR, SHRMCP, an advanced practice recruiter, both from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, helped nurse attendees differentiate between a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV), offered tips to make both stand out, and provided tips to help boost professional profiles.

They called a resume or CV “your professional story on paper” and outlined the essential components.

The Resume

A resume is a concise, one- to two-page document that is distributed mostly for purposes of finding employment, said Suchora Farroni. Costa said an ideal resume starts with a heading that clearly identifies the nurse and lists contact information. The header should be the same for all documents submitted for employment consideration, she said.

Costa highlighted three Cs for an effective resume.

  1. Clarity: Make every detail clear—no matter how obvious and basic. “Sometimes people try to get creative,” she said, possibly leaving the reader confused.
  2. Consistency: Give the resume a consistent look and feel, making it easy for a reader to identify and scan specific sections. Formatting such as bolding, underlining, and italicizing should be consistent between sections, and the entire document should be in one font style, Costa said.
  3. Conciseness: List responsibilities and/or abilities, while being mindful of space. Bulleted lists are very effective for simplifying information and quickly conveying competence and professionalism. “The first pass is often very quick,” Costa said, “so it’s important to be concise and organized.”

Costa and Suchora Farroni reviewed multiple types of resumes but recommended a combination resume, which highlights skills and experience first, then lists chronological employment history. They said a functional resume should be used only by those who have no work experience or large gaps in employment. Using examples, the presenters suggested these sections in the following order:

Both presenters stressed that nurses should include pertinent details; for example, how a nurse individually performed a role, what specialty he or she studied, the unit type and specialty, and even the number of beds.

Costa encouraged every nurse seeking a job to review his or her resume with this question in mind: “What have you done in your past that will make you successful in this new role?”

The CV

A CV is best for disseminating work history for reasons other than employment, said Suchora Farroni; for example, nurses in academic, educational, scientific, medical, or research institutions who are applying for fellowships and grants or seeking nomination to leadership positions.

A CV should be two- to three-pages and much more detailed than a resume, including:

LinkedIn and Other Tips

Suchora Farroni suggested nurses get a professional headshot (often provided free of charge by employers). And she lauded the utility of a profile on LinkedIn, which is not only a job portal, but also a networking tool and platform to display a mission or career.

A LinkedIn profile, she said, should include several elements, including a professional headline, “so people know who you are and what you stand for;” an elevator pitch or a short section that will generate interest about you, your mission, or your organization; and a description of work experience that focuses on the individual’s professional value.

Editor’s Note: This article is a summary of a presentation given by Heather Costa, PHR, SHRM-CP, a nurse recruiter; and Precious Suchora Farroni, PHR, SHRM-CP, an advanced practice recruiter, both from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, at the 2017 ONS 42nd Annual Congress.

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