On episode 261 of The Nurse Keith Show, Keith interviews Amanda Guarniere, a Yale-educated nurse practitioner and founder of The Résumé Rx, a service and online platform with the mission to mentor and guide nursing professionals through résumé and career strategy. Clinically, Amanda has more than 8 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, primarily in emergency and hospital medicine. She lives outside of New York City with her husband and three young daughters.

A resume is like a handshake that introduces you to a potential employee; it’s like the precursor to a first date.

We recommend updating your resume twice a year, perhaps when you turn the clocks back or ahead, or perhaps at the beginning of the New Year, your birthday, or when you receive your annual evaluation at work. In fact, you can program reminders into your digital calendar.

Including an objective statement at the top of your resume is no longer valued on a resume; rather, create a professional summary that demonstrates your expertise and what you bring to the table.

The Resume Rx logo

Most people scroll through job sites and just apply to whatever they find; that’s a very passive job search process. How can you set yourself apart from other applicants? Make a list of where you’d ideally like to work and then approach those organizations or facilities to express your interest, even if they have no positions posted.

According to Keith, the job search process is like a three-legged stool that needs all three legs to be solid:

  • Leg #1: get your tools together (e.g.: cover letters, resumes, business card, LinkedIn profile, etc)
  • Leg #2: networking (both online and in-person)
  • Leg #3: applying for open positions

Most hiring managers or HR professionals will visually scan your resume for only 10-15 seconds before deciding whether to read more or send your resume to the recycle bin; thus, you need to hit them over the head right away with a summary that captures their attention

It is totally unnecessary to limit your resume to one page. That said, most new nursing grads can get away with a one-pager. For someone with extensive experience, a diverse skill set, and significant accomplishments, take a few pages to tell your story. Also, having enough white or negative space gives the reader’s eyes a place to rest while reading. Don’t scrunch everything together just to fit it onto one page as you’ll be doing yourself and your career a terrible disservice.

Getting involved in community-based volunteerism looks good on your resume, and you also want to consider volunteering for committees, studies, research, and other initiatives at work — these really bolster your resume, show your interests and professional dedication, and attractiveness to future employers.

Never write “References available upon request” on your resume; also don’t include your references on your resume.

A headshot is not recommended for a resume unless you’re going for an executive (C-suite) position. Speaking of pursuing a nurse executive position, your headshot and a personal mission statement will help build your brand.

Amanda and Keith both agree that every nursing professional needs an optimized LinkedIn profile. Always create a personalized URL for your LinkedIn profile and share that on your resume, cover letter, and business card. Also, make sure you get testimonials/recommendations from your colleagues and supervisors who are also on LinkedIn; this powerfully adds to “social proof” of your worth as a professional. Job searchers should also note that the majority of employers will Google you as soon as they read your application and review your resume; since that’s the case, the first thing they find should be your LinkedIn profile, not drunken photos of you drunk in Cancun on spring break and posted on Facebook (and if you must post those drunken photos, make them private, which provides a modicum of protection and privacy but is not foolproof in this age of rapidly improving AI-powered facial recognition.

Every professional also needs a business card. Period.

Towards the end of the interview, Amanda discusses what to do when you have a mark against your nursing license or you’ve been out of the workforce for a significant period of time. You need to find creative and nuanced ways to address these issues in your professional summary and cover letter to face this head-on. Amanda is very savvy and wise, so heed her advice!

This episode of The Nurse Keith Show is sponsored by Incredible Health, where hospitals apply to nurses instead of the other way around. With Incredible Health, nurses get hired three times faster than the usual hiring process. On average, nurses who get hired through Incredible Health receive a 17% pay increase and a 15% decrease in commute time. They work with more than 200 academic and community hospitals across the country, including Stanford; Baylor, Scott & White; and Cedars Sinai.

Connect with Amanda and The Resume Rx:


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Nurse KeithIn case you didn’t already know, Nurse Keith is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, keynote and motivational speaker, and popular career columnist. With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. From 2012 until its sunset in 2017, Keith co-hosted RNFMRadio, a groundbreaking nursing podcast. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. Keith can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram—as well as at NurseKeith.com.
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