Traveler Tips: Organizing Your Travel Nursing Resumes
By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
Organizing a resume is a task that very few people enjoy. Everyone knows their worth, but it can be difficult to communicate that on a piece of paper. In addition, there are tons of rules that vary depending on who you talk to. Should your resume include references? Is one page the maximum limit? What is the best font to catch an employer’s attention?
Once you enter the travel nursing world the rules of resume writing change again. Work history grows faster than one page can accommodate and references will change with each new assignment. Simply put travel nursing has a whole different set of guidelines for resume writing than any other type of job application.
Staying organized and knowing the best format to use for your work history will help you not only keep your sanity, but it will also give you a leg up when it comes to applying for jobs. Speed is crucial when applying for open jobs in the travel nursing world, so having a well-formatted resume ready to hand to a recruiter at a moment’s notice could make or break your chances of getting into the job opening you really want.
List all certifications with expiration dates near the top
One thing that can really set you apart from other travelers is your specialty certifications. Managers will spend very little time combing through job applicants, so seeing someone who put the extra effort into getting certifications may catch their eye. Also, some jobs will have non-negotiable certifications they require, so if that is the case, you want to make it clear and obvious you are qualified for the position.
List the facility you worked at along with dates
Just like with a regular resume, keeping your job history organized by date is easiest. In addition, adding in the specific start and end dates will let employers know if you are likely to extend or not. Some managers will definitely want travelers willing to stay for more than a single contract, but others may not mind if you only work 13 weeks at most facilities.
Size of the unit and types of patients cared for are key
While working at prestigious medical centers may be a little impressive to potential managers, they are likely more concerned that you will be able to deal with their unit’s specific patient load. Don’t write a huge paragraph for each job, but definitely include how many beds were on the unit and the basic patient population.
Don’t get too caught up in the length
While keeping a resume as concise as possible is great, doing so as a travel nurse can certainly be challenging. As a general rule aim for two pages or less and simply list the minimal information on older jobs. That way employers can see that you have extensive travel experience and are confident you will be able to transition to the unit quickly and efficiently.
Layout and font may not be too important
In a lot of cases, recruiters are not actually sending your document to the facility. With more hospitals using a vendor as the middleman between companies and managers, there is likely a program they have to input specific information into. This is also why your recruiter may call during the submission process and clarify details that come up as they are using these programs. Keeping this in mind–be sure to keep your phone close if you give a recruiter the go-ahead to submit you so they can get any extra info they may need!
Skip listing references
Most travel jobs will require updated references within the last one or two contracts. In addition, each company typically has its own process for gathering references for their travelers. Some will email out a form while others do a quick phone call to check your references. Be sure to get both a phone number and an email address from each person you plan on using as a reference so you can give them whichever form of contact they need. Another great idea is to use a generic reference form and have a supervisor at each assignment fill that out so you can upload it to each company requesting a new reference.
In a way travel nurse resumes are a lot easier to put together than a traditional resume. Hiring managers at travel jobs want a quick overview of who you are because they aren’t looking for their next ten-year employee. Different traits will be considered positive for travelers than what they are looking for in permanent staff and your resume format should reflect that.
As you move through your travel career you will also learn what each company is asking for and what the common information needed will be. If you work as a recruiter repeatedly you won’t necessarily need to send them an updated resume each time because they may keep an updated version on their end. However, it is still important to keep your own resume updated in the event a dream job opens up for a different company and you want to get your application in ASAP.
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