"How do I put my travel nurse experience on my resume?" is a question asked by both seasoned and novice travel nurses. When pursuing a career as a travel nurse, you want employers to notice your traveling credentials, and your resume must effectively highlight this experience. What’s more, since almost all travel nursing agencies and healthcare recruiters search for candidates via electronic applicant tracking systems (ATS), your resume must be formatted to maximize your chances of being found when the right opportunity is out there. To ensure your resume pops up as a frontrunner among the myriad of qualified applicants competing for your dream assignment, keep the below tips in mind.
1) Clearly Distinguish Permanent Nursing Employment From Travel Nurse Assignments
Since your nursing abilities and qualifications are a culmination of all your on-the-job training and practical RN experience, you can format your resume in several ways.
One option is to list all your positions under the heading of “Professional Experience” and specify which are permanent and which are travel, especially if these assignments are sequential.
Another option to consider, is if your work history for the past year reflects a series of short-term travel assignments (such as those lasting 8, 13, or 16 weeks) you might opt to create a resume based solely on your travel assignments. In this case, your job title can be “Travel Nurse” and all of your travel nursing assignments can be listed under “Nursing Experience.”
Regardless of which approach you choose, list your work history in reverse chronological order so employers can see your most recent assignments first. For each assignment listed, make sure to include:
- Employer's Name (Name of facility and city/state)
- Assignment Type (Permanent, Travel)
- Your nursing specialty
- Start Date/End Date
- Your specific duties as well as the skills you used when performing those duties (bullet points work best)
- Details about the hospital/facility such as the facility type (e.g., trauma, acute care unit), the unit where you worked (e.g., ICU), the number of beds in the hospital and unit, and your caseload.
2) Keep Your Nursing Resume Copy Concise and Inclusive
- Worry less about the length of your resume and focus more on providing the optimal details. An applicant tracking system can search through millions of data in seconds, so no worries about overwhelming a recruiter with this task. Once the database zeroes in on your resume, a recruiter can take it from there. And that’s where concise and attractive formatting comes into play.
- Rather than verbose text, use colons and bullet points to explain your nursing assignments. For example, the text “Job type: Travel Nurse, ICU for 2+ years” is easily read by an ATS and will lead to accurate data in the system. Whereas, “I have been a travel nurse specialized in ICU for two years,” will not.
- Create your resume in Microsoft Word or in plain text using notepad.
- • Avoid fancy graphics and unusual fonts. The same goes for images such as JPG, TIF, BMP, and GIF, since these are often the least likely to load into an ATS properly (plus, headshots and logos can appear gimmicky).
3) Use Common Nursing Terms and Abbreviations on Your Resume
Because applicant tracking systems are keyword-driven, you never want to miss an opportunity to list all of your nursing specialties, certifications, and state licensures (this last item is a big factor in matching you up with a job in a given city).
Make sure you list these items in all possible variations – long forms, short forms, acronyms and abbreviations. Rule of thumb dictates that the first time you introduce a term, use the full version followed by the abbreviation in parentheses. Thereafter, you can use the acronym or abbreviation. For example, if you have experience as a critical care nurse, be sure to write: Critical Care Nurse (CCRN); Intensive Care Nurse (ICU); Acute Care Nurse (ACNP) and so on with any relevant specialties you may have.
Getting ready for your next travel assignment?
Cross Country Nurses can take you there. As a leader in healthcare recruitment, Cross Country Nurses is one of the most trusted travel nurse staffing companies in the industry. For over 30 years, we’ve been placing experienced nurses at more than 2,500 prestigious healthcare facilities across the U.S. and the Caribbean.