Most Frequently Asked Questions About Resume Writing

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By Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, FAAN

Q: I’ve been told my resume should be only one page. Is that true?

A: No, not for nurses. By the time you list your experience, your education, your licenses and certifications, you are already on two pages, even with limited experience. Two pages is perfectly acceptable. Don’t go any longer than that, though, unless you have extensive high-level and unusual experience and credentials.

Q: Is it OK to reduce the margins and the type size on my resume in order to get it onto two pages?

A: No. Margins should be about one inch all around for ease of reading and a professional look. Type size should be 12 point for easy reading, too. Also, many employers scan resumes for storage in computer data bases and 12 point type is required for that. If your resume is too long, reduce the amount of information by eliminating the old, out-dated, irrelevant, unimportant, and redundant. Remember, your resume should highlight your professional experience, not list every single thing your ever did.

Q: Should I list all my continuing education courses on my resume?

A: The answer to this is usually “no.” Most nurses attend continuing education programs regularly but you only clutter up your resume by listing them all. Refer to relevant courses in your cover letter, if applicable. You could include a line under ‘education’ that says “Continuing education credits available upon request,” indicating that they exist if anyone wants to see them. But this is completely optional.

Q: If I worked for a staffing agency, should I list every hospital I worked for during that time?

A: No. List the agency as the employer and use a general job description like “Worked in various acute care hospitals in ICU, Emergency, and Med-Surg. Units.” Then go on to list various specific experiences and accomplishments as you would for any other job.

Q: If I am currently attending school, should I list that on my resume?

A: Yes. List it under ‘education’ by saying something like:

BS in Nursing
City College, City, NJ
Currently pursuing

Q: Should I include my e-mail address and fax number at the top of my resume in the heading?

A: Yes, definitely. Make it as easy as possible for a prospective employer to reach you. E-mail is an easy and quick way for people to leave a message for you if they want to contact you.

Q: Should I list my non-nursing work experience on my resume?

A: Yes, you should list other significant work experience. Years ago nurses were advised not to include this, but today you should. It shows that you have a diversity of experience. Besides, other work experience, whether retail sales, office work, or a technical job , adds value to who you are and can be utilized in many areas of nursing and healthcare today.

For more information about resumes and CVs check out: The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses – Practical Strategies for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career

Reprinted with permission from (
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