When writing your nurse practitioner resume, don’t reinvent the wheel.
Nurse practitioner recruiters often seek out a few specific items on a resume. The more streamlined and organized your resume is, the easier it is for recruiters to find what they’re looking for.
You may be wondering, “don’t I need to stand out from other applicants? Shouldn’t my nurse practitioner resume look unique?”
Rather than embellishing with fancy fonts or creative formatting, it’s better to let your education or experience speak for itself.
Knowing how to present your resume effectively is critical. How you do this will be slightly different depending on if you’re a practicing nurse practitioner or newly certified.
In writing this guide, we wanted to provide both resume and cover letter templates for practicing NPs and newly certified NPs.
Here are links to download the templates relevant to you:
- Newly Certified NP Resume Template
- Newly Certified NP Cover Letter Template
- Practicing NP Resume Template
- Practicing NP Cover Letter Template
In this guide, you’ll find:
- Actionable tips to improve your NP resume
- How to write an NP resume and cover letter that gets you not just more interviews, but interviews with your top-choice facilities
- How to showcase your skills in the best light, whether you’ve got years of experience or whether you’re newly graduated
Nurse Practitioner Resume Tips
1. Choose the Right Nurse Practitioner Resume Writing Format
Always go reverse-chronologically – this means, put the job you most recently held at the top of the resume.
Even if a job you had seems more relevant to the job you’re applying for, putting jobs out of order will only confuse hiring managers.
Remember, employers look for gaps in your work history and for recency in your work experience.
If your work history lacks cohesion and clarity, you have a lesser chance of securing the job you’re seeking.
2. Focus On What’s Important To The Employer
Potential employers generally care about:
- Your achievements
- Your skills
- Your experience
- Your ability to fit their culture
It may be tempting to showcase your versatility and the breadth of your professional experience by creating a large laundry list of your relevant accomplishments.
Try to refrain from doing that.
Instead, focus on showing that you understand what’s most important by limiting the number of bullet points you use.
Quality and relevance trumps quantity here.
We recommend making it apparent that you understand what top-notch patient care is.
3. Use White Space
Excessive or densely packed information can clutter a resume and make it exhausting to read.
Instead, leave ample blank space within the document to make it cleaner and more professional in appearance.
The recruiter or hiring manager will appreciate this, and it will show you have attention to detail.
4. Use Standard Fonts, Colors, and Formatting
First impressions are very important, especially when you’re trying to find a new job.
Your resume needs to come off professional at first glance. To ensure this is the case, choose a standard font like Arial or Times New Roman. Use a 12-point font and make sure the font color is black.
All of this should really go without saying, but it’s important to mention because if you decide to use a 20-point font that’s purple, you’re probably not getting the job.
Before you send your resume to recruiters or any potential employers, print it out.
You should ensure everything is up to par with your resume in its printed state because many employers will print out your resume before reading it.
5. Convert Your Resume To A PDF
PDFs are mobile-friendly, and maintain consistent formatting across devices, making them ideal for resumes.
It’s also helpful to maintain an updated copy of your resume in Microsoft Word. Some new job postings will specifically request a .doc file because their recruiting software cannot read PDFs.
6. Make it Skimmable
When you’re reviewing patient history or treatment plans in your day-to-day work, you’re likely accustomed to scanning the page, rather than reading every sentence in detail to find the information you need.
Recruiters do this too.
Make your resume skimmable with clearly defined sections and a few clear points within those sections.
7. Summary or Objective: Know the Difference
If you’re a newly certified NP, your resume will require an objective. Conversely, if you’re a practicing NP, you’ll need to write a summary.
Nurse Practitioner Resume Objective
A resume objective is a brief paragraph where you briefly summarize yourself and state your career goals.
Your goal is to demonstrate that, even though you lack extensive job experience, you’re willing to:
- Gain the precise skills that they’re looking for
- Work hard
Resume Objective Example
Graduated from USC and am eager to work hard and learn in the exciting world of primary care.
An empathic and trustworthy family nurse practitioner with a Master of Science from the University of Southern California (GPA: 3.85) looking forward to joining the team at Happyvale Primary Care. Committed to outcome-based, whole-person care.
Nurse Practitioner Resume Summary
A resume summary is a short paragraph that you include at the beginning of your resume. Its purpose is to highlight your professional skills and experience.
Your resume summary should immediately catch and maintain the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.
Resume Summary Example
An NP with over five years of experience as an NP and four as an RN in a critical care unit. Hoping to work in an environment where I can utilize my experience performing diagnostic tests, physical exams, as well as developing care plans.
Compassionate and energetic Certified Nurse Practitioner with 10+ years of experience as an NP and RN. Looking forward to joining the team at Cumberland Cardiology, where I can continue to provide intuitive, holistic care.
In recent years, I’ve supervised 5 LPNs, published a case study in a major medical journal, and streamlined my employer’s EMR process to enhance the time spent on patient care.
8. Strategically Market Yourself
A resume is essentially a document that markets your value to a potential employer.
Before applying for an NP role, make sure you read the job description and strategically adapt your language to cater to your target audience.
Ask yourself, “what is this employer looking for, and how can I tweak my resume to better present myself according to their needs?”
Build your resume around that employer to connect and make an impact.
9. Choose What You Highlight In Your Experience Wisely
Before applying for a new role, review the job description to see what skills and relevant experience the potential employer is looking for. The skill and experience requirements for an FNP role will look different from one for dermatology.
Depending on the role, what you choose to highlight in the bullet points in your work experience will be different. The better you align with the potential employer’s job description, the more likely you are to get a callback.
It’s tempting to exaggerate in order to become the perfect fit. However, that could easily backfire in an interview. Instead, focus on the strengths and experience you do possess and how these strengths can positively impact the institution to which you’re applying.
The relevant experience section will vary based on whether you’re newly certified or an experienced NP, so refer to the template that matches your circumstances.
10. Always Include a Cover Letter
Recruiters say that 50% of resumes can’t stand on their own. They must be accompanied by a cover letter to demonstrate the candidate’s:
- Commitment to patient care
- Understanding of what the job description entails
- Knowledge of what the recruiters are looking for
When creating your cover letter:
- Format it as you would a formal letter
- Edit ruthlessly. Be clear and concise.
- Use action words (accomplished, transformed, built, etc.)
- Speak directly to the company, recruiter or hiring manager
- Highlight your important skills and achievements (but briefly)
- Conclude the letter formally, with “sincerely” or “best regards.”
Remember, you can use the cover letter templates we provide in the introduction above!
11. Add a Call-To-Action
A call to action (CTA) is a statement or sentence intended to get the recruiter or hiring manager to take a specific action. In your case, to reach out to you to schedule an interview.
Add a CTA to the end of your cover letter to encourage the recruiter or hiring manager to call you in for an interview.
For example: “I look forward to getting together to discuss how I can contribute to your patient care goals. Please give me a call at your convenience.”
12. Use a Nurse Practitioner Resume Template
As an NP, you should be focused on accurately and effectively portraying the reason a hiring manager should hire you, not on resume formatting.
We created our free nurse practitioner cover letters and resume templates to save you time and allow you to focus on what’s most important in landing your next role as an NP.
Your cover letter and resume are essential documents to have when trying to land a new NP role.
Use the templates and tips we provided to ensure both these documents are polished up before applying for new jobs.
Once you’re ready to begin applying for jobs, reach out to our team of nurse practitioner recruiters. We can help you find the perfect NP job for your current situation.
Good luck and happy job hunting!