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Resume and Cover Letter Writing for Nurses

What is a Resume?

The American style resume is a means to sell your capabilities and services. The argument even applies to resumes in the medical profession. It is quite unlike a Curriculum Vitae, the chronological list of work and education experiences preferred in Europe and the Far East. The Resume provides details of your skills and experiences to a potential employer so that he can see, in summary, how your skills are relevant to the potential job and how you could contribute something of value in your future workplace.

A resume is your advertising and selling tool.You might fulfill all the requirements for a particular position, but your resume fails, if the employer does not, by what he sees on it, immediately conclude, that you are the person for the job. Remember, your priority is to create a resume that attracts the reader's immediate attention. The first twenty seconds will decide whether it ends up in the "under consideration" or the "rejected" file.

The most effective resumes are focused specifically on a job and address the potential employer's stated requirements for the position.

The more you know about the duties and skills the job demands, the better you can organize your resume around these requirements and, the more effective the resume will be

Hence, the primary requirement for writing a good resume is information about the job on offer. It is not enough to regurgitate what you have done in the past, since that information, with all its accomplishments, skills and experiences is only relevant to the requirements of the position for which you apply. The more you know about the job and the employer, the more likely you can "cut the cloth to the right size" and create a resume that explains how you will be an asset to your future employer with the job he offers.

To write a resume that fulfills your primary objective, namely "to get that job," there are some important points, which you should seriously consider:

Define the Purpose of the Resume The Purpose of the Resume is, in the first instance, to be considered suitable and invited for an interview.
Stress your Strengths and show your Technical and Personal Qualities It is important to show your important technological and personal qualities and strengths to a future employer. The emphasis here is on "relevant." Therefore, read the job description and advertisement well, so that you keep the qualities you offer pertinent to the job! Back up your qualities with achievements that show them in the right context. Do not exaggerate your abilities, but show the ones you have!
Use the right Title for the Positions you held Don't be general and "wishy-washy." Each job has a title, use it relevantly, when describing your past duties and employment.
Make the most important points first! State the important points (qualities, experience, training, leadership, responsibility, etc.) that are relevant to the job offered first. Health Care jobs, probably more than most other jobs are defined by a mix of technical ability, human emotional strength, and teamwork. Show how you can excel in all of those, within the job on offer!
Show and describe your professional Goal Be short and to the point and only describe what is relevant within the job on offer. Be specific, not vague, but remain consistent!
Explain the benefits of your skills to your work and the Job offered The employer will want to know how your technical ability and your experience will be relevant to the job offered. The mere fact that you have these abilities is not enough.
Achievements and Responsibilities Show in your resume what you have achieved within the responsibilities give to you in your former jobs. Just listing duties will not be enough.
Individual Resumes Write specific resumes for each job application. Having a "general or generic resume" will be helpful for that. However, you have to individualize each resume you submit so that it reflects what you bring to the job.
Irrelevant Information Do not include irrelevant information in your resume. In the USA/Canada things like your political affiliation, religion and sexual preference are not usually included in a resume. Even age is not relevant, nor is your marital status, or country of citizenship (except for certain government jobs).

European CV's
will require you to state your age, marital status, country of nationality, but never your religion, political affiliation or sexual preferences.
Avoid being Negative Don't sound negative about former employers, whether in your resume nor in your interview. Don't state what you disliked to do as part your job.
Identification of Name and Contact Details Put your name and your contact information clearly on the top of your resume. Repeat the name and the e-mail or phone on the top of the second page.

If you have a name that can be used by either male or female, make sure that you state Mr. or Ms., where you have your name. If you have a foreign name, identifying gender is often difficult.
Do not state the obvious Avoid stating facts, like "available for interview" or "references on request." If you were not interested in a meeting or in giving references, you would not apply for the job!
List all your Positions If you continuously worked for the same company for a considerable time, list all the different positions and roles that you had separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each past employment and the prospective employer would like to know these. If space is an issue in your resume, give less detail on positions you held further back in time, or, if they have less relevance to the job you apply for
Have a complete Listing of your Work Experience. List all the relevant Jobs you have held, but unless it is your first job after university, or it is functionally relevant, don't mention that you "flipped Hamburgers" or worked in a dry cleaning as a summer job!
Only List Activities that are relevant to the Job Application Do not list your hobbies or even involvement in civic affairs. Unless, of course, it has a direct relevance to the job you apply. However, otherwise, being a Deacon in your Church does not interest the employer.
No use of Slang or Professional Jargon in your Resume Do not use slang language of professional jargon in your resume. The Human Resources Manager may only have a passing acquaintance with your professional terminology, and he will be the first one to see the resume!

Once you have completed the substance, or the content, of your resume, you have to focus your attention on the layout and format and to checking and proofreading. The points below put these elements into context.

Pay Attention to the Format, Typeface and general layout Make sure that you have a design which is easy to read and well organized. Use a font (typeface) that is large enough (10-12 point, depending on the font) and see that your layout keeps sufficient "white space." The best fonts are probably Ariel, Times Roman, Helvetica or Verdana. Refrain from using exotic fonts! They usually end up in the waste paper basket!

Remember your resume should not exceed two pages. Do not use capital letters to emphasize something in the script of your resume (except where it is grammatically correct!)

The key is to communicate the message that you are suitable for the job offered!
Use "bullets" to emphasize something in your layout This avoids long and tedious text paragraphs. Personnel Managers (Human resource managers) like to read short and relevant sections because they have lots of applicants to consider. Therefore
  • Keep your sentences short, and
  • to the point
  • Do not fill the whole page with text. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs will improve the legibility of your resume.
Pictures Do not include or attach photos to your resume, unless it is a requirement for that job.
Printer and Paper For a paper version of the resume, use good white paper and a good quality laser printer. Do not use color paper or paper with printed borders or similar enhancements.
The Email Resume Use a standard format such as .doc or .pdf or simply text (.txt or .rtf) Remember most Human Resource Managers or employers will not even attempt to open other documents.
Proofread the Resume several times A resume with mistakes will most often end up in the wastepaper basket. Therefore, the importance of proof-reading your resume cannot be emphasized enough.
  • If English is your second language, have someone whose mother tongue is English, proof your resume and cover letter.
  • A single typo can cost you the chance of the job.
  • A unique and uncommon English formulation will reduce your chances of getting an interview, let alone the job.
Have someone Review your Resume Whatever you think about your resume, before you send it out, get a second and third opinion about it. When you work too much time on your resume, you will not see your mistakes. Another person will be in a better position, to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and maybe make some valuable suggestions.

When you have completed all of that, read the resume once again before you send it out. Only when you are sure it is what you want to submit, send it to the potential employer.

Professional Help

If you find resume writing difficult, or if your first language is not English, you might consider some professional assist in writing the resume. Remember, if your grammar is poor, a potential employer will not make any allowances for you. Your resume will end up in the waste paper basket.

How important is the Cover Letter?

The cover letter is your introduction to a potential employer. What you write in it is the first impression the person gains about your, your capabilities and your personality. Therefore everyone who sends out a resume needs a cover letter. Whether you send it by mail, e-mail, fax or delivered by hand, is immaterial.

Although it creates additional work, the positive side of the cover letter is that it provides you with an extra chance to emphasize what you have to contribute to the job, the company or organization. Remember, the person looking at your submission will ask himself: "How can this person help us?" Your cover letter has to answer that question in your words, and your resume will provide the comprehensive support.

Every job offered has different requirements, and it is, therefore, essential that you write a specific cover letter for every job application. There is no such thing as a "general cover letter." Most potential employers see a general cover letter as a sign of a lack of genuine interest in the job and, your chances of being considered for the offered position will be significantly hurt. Therefore, take the time and make an effort to send a cover letter that is tailored to the particular job and to the company you are applying.

Although it creates additional work, the positive side of the cover letter is that it provides you with an extra chance to emphasize what you have to contribute to the job, the company or organization. Remember, the person looking at your submission will ask himself: "How can this person help us?" Your cover letter has to answer that question in your words, and your resume will provide the comprehensive support.

The Essential Rules for creating an effective Cover Letter

  • The Cover letter must not have any spelling or typing errors. Have it read by someone else and checked before you send it.
  • Is is important to get the hiring manager's name so that you can address your application to a particular person. If you send your resumes uninvited to the personnel department, make every attempt to find his details. Sometimes a phone call will give you the information about who makes the hiring decisions. Be sure you spell person's name correctly and that you have his or her correct title. Address the person with his or her proper social title, e.g. "Mr.," "Ms.," "Mrs.," "Miss," "Dr.," or "Professor." Keep the Cover Letter formal and to the point.
  • Write the Cover Letter in your words and do not use a standardized "copied format letter." Do not be chatty or too personal: Keep it formal! To be effective, the Cover Letter should transmit and highlight your relevant experience, knowledge, enthusiasm, and focus on the potential job in a logical and systematic manner. Group the items you specifically want to address and be concise within each paragraph
  • Do not use slang, "Internet jargon," or other expressions which some people consider "natural" (as opposed to academic or formal!). Today, many employers are gravely concerned about the "sloppy" and inappropriate use of language. They may deduce, once you become an employee, you will communicate using inappropriate language. On the other hand, do not use words you picked from the Thesaurus without being entirely sure that you understand their proper meaning and the context in which one uses a word or expression. If you are not sure about your grammar, there are books you can purchase. If you submit an application for an international job, remember that writing styles and grammar differ from one English-speaking country to another.
  • Indicate in your Cover Letter that you have acquired some knowledge about the company and the industry. Do some research before you write the resume and the cover letter. However, keep the communication of this knowledge within clearly defined limits. Showing your potential employer that you know something about them is to make it clear, that you did not pick the company at random. You want to show the hiring manager, that you know who they are and that you have deliberately chosen them!
  • Use language that is appropriate and relevant to the employer. If you are applying for an advertised position, use the advertised requirements and work them into your resume or cover letter, if necessary emphasize them in bold script. Be sure to address the specific needs and shortly indicate how you can fulfill them.

Life Line Screening

Resume Writers, Resume Appraisers and why they are useful and worth their money

We thought long and hard about this question! After all, "everyone can write a resume," so, why use someone else who is not familiar with your particular circumstances and who does not know your ambitions job wise? Maybe, the answer is in this very sentence: In your eagerness to present yourself in the best possible light to a future employer, you overlook what the company sees or wants to see from you! You present in your resume what you want, rather than what the employer requires or what he is looking.

A professional resume writer is not the prisoner of his representation. He or she looks at the task of writing a resume neutrally, dispassionate and with distance to your past. As a consequence, that resume writer might see strengths and weaknesses that you will not see as important. The distance the resume writer has creates a balanced picture of yourself.

Most people argue that each resume has to be written as a response to a particular job, because only some of the things, you might offer, will be useful in that job. Therefore, the resume as a response to a job vacancy has to be tailor-made. That is correct! However, if you start off with a well written generic resume that projects your abilities and your strengths, while it puts your weaknesses somewhat in the background, you are starting out with an advantage.

A Resume Appraiser, as opposed to a writer, will look at your resume and recommend, if required, changes. There are numerous free sites for that, but you have to remember that the business of the appraiser comes from resume writing and the free appraisal is one way to get clients. That does not reduce their usefulness in creating a good resume, but you have to be aware of it.

We show sites offering Resume Writing Services.
JobLine International also has a team of highly experienced resume writers that provide a resume and Cover letter writing. Below is a comparative analysis of some of the services offered on the net. Click on the names on the far left, if you want to know more. Prices may vary from time to time.

Specialist Resume Writing Services

JobLine International $349.00
We have a resume writing Service that offers a written resume sent to you by e-mail based on your data, plus a generic Cover Letter (or specific, if you want that) . Turn around is usually 24-48 hours. MS Word format or html. Special services such as translations or the writing of a Curriculum Vitae ($549.00) are also available. Recommended!
* $114.00 employment911 offers resume writing including a cover letter with a six hours turnaround. They also rewrite your resume, if you do not get a job within six weeks of using it. Recommended!
Access More Career Tools, Advice, and Information. Create a FREE Monster Account Today! $119-395 Monster is not only a large job board, but also offers a variety of support services for job seekers. One of them is Resume editing ($119) and Resume writing (from $215) . In their own words: We know what employers want. We market your strengths to edge out the competition. We tailor your resume to meet your specific needs. Recommended!

We have had direct experience with the above services we recommend. Other services are by no means inferior, but we have not had any direct experience with them.

Editing your Resume and Cover Letter

We will edit your existing resume and a specific cover letter. You send us your resume and cover letter by e-mail and we will edit it to help it along and make it appropriate to the job you apply to. Obviously we will need a short description of the job as well (we do not need the employers name, but the country location would be useful since resume and cover letters can different from one country to another). Please send the supporting material (resume, cover letter, short description of job applied for) by e-mail together with the Paypal payment ID number. We will edit your resume/cover letter within 72 hours after receipt of all the details.

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