Many students and newly qualified nurses worry that they won’t have adequate experience or skills to impress employers and compete with rival candidates.
First of all, you have got experience, and lots of it. Think about all you’ve learnt at university through your lectures, assignments, research, presentations, studying and your dissertation. Then think about all the knowledge gained during your variety of placements, the coaching and support you received from your colleagues and mentors, and the skills, competencies, and lessons learnt first-hand whilst caring for your patients. What’s more, all this knowledge is fresh in your mind and ready to be put into practice.
You will bring a positive and enthusiastic approach, along with passion, determination and an eagerness to learn; an asset to any employer.
There are so many things you could decide to talk about, highlight and showcase within your CV. Let's look at some of them:
Avoid the temptation to simply write, “Learnt excellent communication skills,” It’s better to quantify a statement like this: “Excellent communicator, skilled at adapting voice, tone and language to suit the age, background, capacity and communication needs of the patient."
There is no set format for a UK CV, but you should make sure your CV is easy to read and logical in layout. If you’re not sure what layout or format to use, you could adopt the format below. You can also use this Example Student Nurse CV for ideas, as well as reading our general online advice on CV writing.
There is no need to write 'CV' at the top. Just have your name, contact address, contact telephone number(s) and e-mail. Include your branch of nursing and your NMC pin if you’ve already registered.
Some of the most popular expressions used within CVs are, "hard working," "good communicator," and, "works well individually and as part of a team." There is nothing wrong with using these terms, but obviously the more original you are, the more your CV will stand out.
We recommend putting a key skills and achievements section where you bullet point 4 -5 of your key skills and achievements to show off your best bits.
Try to tailor this section to the type of post you’re going for. Think of the things you've accomplished or the skills that you have that are the most relevant and will be the most attractive to your prospective employer.
Starting with the most recent, list your placements and include a few bullet points for each to show what you learnt and/or which skills were acquired.
Starting with the most recent, include your employment history with a few bullet points about your duties and skill. Include the ones that are the most relevant to the job you're going for. If you've had healthcare related jobs (e.g. HCA, support worker, etc) then this will be attractive to employers.
If you've never had a job within healthcare, don't worry. Whether you've worked in retail, catering or finance, you will have probably picked up all sorts of transferable skills such as verbal and written communication skills, dealing with complaints, using initiative, prioritising your workload, working to deadlines, customer service skills, teamwork experience, leadership skills and more.
You don't have to list all the jobs you've ever had. Focus on the ones that are the most relevant to the job you're going for now.
Starting with the most recent, list your qualifications. With regards to your nursing qualification, include the name of your university, your exact course name (so including your branch of nursing) and date of completion / expected date of completion.
You could list your college and school qualifications and any other previous qualifications you have, e.g., previous degrees, NVQs/SVQs. etc.
In this section list any professional activities, such as training days you've been on, courses you've attended, articles published, events attended, and if you're a member of any professional organisations or networks. Remember the RCN is a professional body so you can list that you're a member if you want. If you're interested, why not join some of our free forums and professional networks?
Write a sentence or two about your interests or hobbies. Don't be afraid to be original. You can include any extra information here such as whether you hold a driving license, your linked in account if you have one, if you speak any other languages, etc.
Include one clinical reference and one academic.