Resume Tips - NAPNAP

Resume Tips

NAPNAP Career Resource Guide

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Resumes and Curriculum Vitae (CV)

According to the famous saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is true for your resume or CV as well. Organization, content and structure are the keys to a successful resume. Below are some suggestions on how to develop an effective pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) resume to market your accomplishments, experiences and skills.

Building a successful PNP resume involves the following:

  • Organization: Well organized, simple font and easy to follow
  • Content: Create ongoing lists of your skills, experience and accomplishments
  • Structure: Order is the key including a summary, education, experience, credentials and accomplishments

Online Resumes

Employers and job seekers alike often use the internet to fill or find positions. You have the option of an electronic or e-resume in addition to a traditional resume. Advantages include the potential of increased exposure. Nursing professionals have a unique skill set and language that may not be available through these resources. In creating your e-resume, follow the basic rules for building a successful resume as outlined in this guide, but place your emphasis on choosing the keywords employers look for in resumes posted online, or when scanning potential candidates’ resumes into a database. Make a listing of keywords the first item in your online resume, following your contact information. Like traditional resumes, e-resumes should be a concise, detailed account of your accomplishments, experiences and skills, but don’t be shy about listing as many keywords as you think apply. Keep the rest of the e-resume brief. If you are applying for a specific online position, individualize your e-resume to the specific position and select the most applicable experiences or skills to highlight.

Most online employment websites offer forms or software programs to aid you in developing an online resume, but you may want to develop a resume document of your own that you can forward via email to potential employers. Be sure to check whether they accept attachments or want the resume placed in the body of the email. NAPNAP’s online job board, Career Connection, offers a free resume critique to NAPNAP members.

Traditional Resumes

A resume not only documents your accomplishments, experiences and skills; it will also speak for you while you are not there to speak for yourself. Professionalism, clarity and well-thought-out information will communicate your experience and strengths most effectively.

Keep your resume updated. When you learn new skills, receive a new certificate or educational accomplishment, start a program, have high patient satisfaction scores or initiate or participate in a safety committee, add it to your resume.

Share your resume with your professional contacts including those attending chapter meetings for organizations such as NAPNAP.

Keep a document on your computer called “resume updates”, and twice a year set aside time to update your resume by adding activities and outcomes that demonstrate competency, proficiency or expert achievements.

Career tip: Your resume must attract attention, create interest and achieve the ultimate objective – get you an interview. But, be wary of using colors/designs that overwhelm your content or look immature.

Making a Case for Yourself

Putting together a pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) resume helps you organize your thoughts and establishes a road map for your professional development. Your nurse practitioner (NP) or PNP resume provides you with a document that prepares you for completing applications or for answering the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” question all interviewers will ask. Resume readers are usually strangers, so you need to make a case for yourself quickly. Keep in mind, if you are applying to a large hospital, your resume will likely be read by human resource professionals, employment firm recruiters, hiring managers and personal contacts who may have been instructed to look only for keywords such as specific experience (or they may be fed into a machine that scans your information into a database).

If you are applying to a small practice, your PNP resume may go right to the practice owner, physicians and NPs for their review. All resume readers scan a resume initially for a quick orientation, but each has different objectives. These objectives could be to screen resumes, review them for discussion points or to identify your credentials and qualifications to refer your resume to a third party. Your success in moving from this initial review to the next step in the hiring process depends on the organization and clarity of your resume. Your resume must attract attention, create interest and achieve the ultimate objective — get you an interview.  

No matter what format your resume takes, your message must have:

  • Clarity: Create a clear and understandable message using simple, precise language. A resume is often initially viewed for 30 seconds or less; if it is confusing, the reader may discard it immediately. Please see our font suggestions below.
  • Consistency: An inconsistent format or poor appearance sends a message of carelessness. If the resume does not utilize a consistent font, font size, indent and bolding framework, the reader may expect you will be disorganized and inconsistent in the workplace.
  • Conciseness: The resume needs to communicate that you are a nurse practitioner who writes in an organized, accurate and explicit manner. Concise statements give the reader an immediate orientation to your qualifications.

We recommend saving your PNP resume with the following file name:  Your Name, PNP, followed by PC or Unit Name or clinical role for which you are applying.  Many people title their resume “Resume” without thinking that a recruiter or manager may have several PNP resumes in a file or folder. Would you like for them to notice your resume first?

Formats that include well thought out boxes, bold and bullets appear clean and neat. Bold, centered, capital text can be used to start a new section.

Suggestions for a Well-organized and Clear Resume

  • No italics or use them carefully
  • Book Antiqua, Times New Roman, Veranda, and Calibri are good fonts – only use one font in a resume
  • Bold headers
  • Bullet skills, experience and accomplishments in work experience
  • Summarize your educational clinical training below work experience – for PNPs with less than two years of experience
  • Before you list your experience, summarize your organization and unit in terms of number of beds, patients seen, or other salient attributes if you work at a hospital or large clinic
  • Align text on the left side of the page; do not indent more than 1.5 inches for any of the content
  • For new grads, when developing your work experience section, focus on your registered nursing experience, list procedural competencies, leadership skills, presentations, patient satisfaction impact, project design, creation or implementation
  • List work experience and academic teaching separately with headings of Clinical Experience, Academic Experience

Resume Tips

Resumes are typically reviewed quickly, so the reader must be led immediately to the information you most want them to see. A well-designed pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) resume can do this for you. Lead them there and the reader will focus on your action words and phrases. First, review the relevant information and determine what you want the reader to focus on immediately. Then use design techniques to your best advantage. These techniques include:

  • White space: This is the space not covered with print.  Balance white space and print to make the reader comfortable. Too much print makes a page difficult to read and the resume may be discarded.
  • Bulleted lists: Use them to emphasize information. This information should be important to the reader. Bullets outline specific experiences and skills essential to the job objective.
  • Uppercase and bold-type lettering: Use uppercase letters to set off different sections of the resume. Use bold type to call attention to positions held or organizations where you’ve worked. Use Italics sparingly for emphasis.
  • Spacing: Keep your margins uniform and not less than one inch. Avoid using too much information, which could upset the reader’s sense of balance. If you have too much information, review and delete some material or lower the point size of the type. Keep lines and horizontal spacing consistent, as the reader will sense this type of detail.
  • Type size: Use 12-point type if possible. You may need to use 10-point type to accommodate all the information you plan to include, but don’t use type smaller than 10 point. A serif type such as Times Roman is easier to read, (Serif letters feature a finishing cross stroke at the end of the main stroke).
  • Justification: We recommend not justifying the text — it’s easier to read.
  • Stationery: Use quality paper and envelopes. Choose white, off-white, beige or gray color 24-pound paper.
  • Borders and horizontal lines: While borders and horizontal lines can be effective, keep in mind that scanners may have a difficult time reading your resume. If you decide to separate sections or enclose material using this type of design, be careful.

In determining the best layout for your resume, ask these questions:

  • What layout will make the best first impression?
  • What layout will communicate the message you want to communicate and what the reader wants to know? Is this person organized, can they communicate clearly? Are they concise?
  • How will a combination of lines, boxes, bold text, text alignment and bulleted lists guide the reader?
  • How can you use the layout to direct the attention of the reader to the content that matches your skills, qualifications and accomplishments that will trigger the thought, “I want to talk with this candidate”?

Developing a Self-Assessment (Portfolio)

To persuade an employer or hiring manager to consider your candidacy, you need a solid understanding of the credentials, qualifications and accomplishments you bring to a new position. It’s important to develop a self-assessment of your qualifications before you create your resume. Ideally, PNP resume content is compiled over time when each new activity is fresh and clear. Using past position descriptions and performance reviews can jog your memory. Below are resources and ideas to help develop your portfolio. We recommend you collect and save this information electronically; this will enable you to update your resume quickly and easily.

Things to review for your Self-Assessment

Work Experience

This is the longest and most important part of your resume as a PNP. If you are in academics or research, you will write a curriculum vitae, in which case you can have longer sections for publications and grants. Articulating your work experience is the best way to stand out. List your information in bulleted form. If you are relatively young in terms of your PNP career, list and bullet experience dating back to your first position. For a longer career, include a bulleted list for approximately four jobs, then simply list the remaining ones. Additionally, create a bulleted list of the skills and experience that directly correlate to the job for which you are applying. That is why keeping an ongoing list is valuable; you can change the bullets depending on what provides the best evidence of your experience that applies to the job you want.

Format for Work Experience

Clinical Experience:

Hospital or Clinic, City, State, Date

Role – Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Unit

Or Staff Nurse II, Unit

Brief description of the hospital or clinic

Primary scope of practice: Collaborative member of the Pediatric Critical Care Team, including the procedural sedation service, Pediatric Critical Care Transport Team and Palliative Care Team.
Scope of practice: Evaluation, history and physical exams

    • Consultation, medical assessment and management of children (ages: one month-22 years) with such diagnosis as (ex. chronic conditions)
    • Treating and managing care with organ transplantation team including multi-visceral organ transplants, sepsis and other complex medical conditions.

Clinical skills:

    • arterial and central venous line placement
    • sepsis evaluations
    • airway management
    • moderate & deep sedation (>5000), PICC Line Insertions

Other activities: Pediatric Bioethics program, Society for Pediatric Sedation Founding Member.

Another Format Option

Hospital or Clinic, City State, Date

Role –Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, Unit

Or Staff Nurse II, Unit

Brief description of the hospital or clinic

    • Provided inpatient care and GI consultation services as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with 12 Pediatric Gastroenterologists.
    • Evaluated, diagnosed and developed treatment plans for pediatric patients with various gastrointestinal problems.
    • Facilitated referrals to transplant centers for patients requiring small bowel and/or liver transplantation and participated in long-term care of post-transplant patients.

Self-Assessment, Clinical Skills and Procedures

Include 5-7 procedures that are most relevant to the job you are applying for, especially for a new grad, if you are changing units or if you interviewing for a high procedural-based position. Continue to build your procedures list throughout your career. You will find this useful for your resume as well as for credentialing and annual review processes. Use your self-assessment portfolio to make your continuing education (CE) choices as you decide on the skills and procedures that you want to keep current and develop. The more intentional you are about your capabilities, the more rewarding your career will be. According to Locke’s setting theory, setting goals, self-assessment and feedback are powerful motivators. Goals and feedback not only help you get the job done, but they empower you to make career choices that are satisfying to you.

Here is the type of information you can include on a list of your scope of practice:

  • Completion of the history and physical exam that is appropriate for the chief complaint and correlates with the complexity of the presenting problem
  • Developing and implementing plans of care
  • Requesting appropriate consultations
  • Collaborating with internal and external providers
  • Ordering and interpreting radiological information
  • Ordering and interpreting laboratory tests
  • Prescribing appropriate pain medications
  • Prescribing appropriate out-patient medications
  • Discharge teaching
  • Participating in and conducting staff or family education

Self-Assessment, Accomplishments at Work

Accomplishments demonstrate your skills, knowledge and experience and the way you have applied them to solve problems, meet objectives or provide leadership and education. If you can, try to identify achievements made when you went beyond the call of duty to solve a problem or improve the work environment. List both independent accomplishments and those that involved teamwork to help convey your value. Use quantifiable measures such as the ones below. Think of your accomplishments in terms of the performance level needed to achieve the accomplishment; the actions taken to solve or improve a situation, and the results obtained. Often, accomplishments can be measured in terms of time saved, patient outcomes, family and patient education, safety, efficiency, research and money saved. Try to identify accomplishments that employers will relate to contributions you can make to the new position you seek.

Sometimes individuals underestimate their accomplishments or do not consider a specific accomplishment important. However, no contribution is insignificant, and all your previous activities may be accomplishments if you:

  • Achieved more with the same resources, such as increasing production or decreasing waste
  • Educated, trained or otherwise contributed to the clinical knowledge of peers, nursing staff or health care workers
  • Resolved problems with a minimum increase in time, effort, expense, personnel, etc.
  • Created and presented curriculum to families, patients, staff, advanced practice providers or physicians
  • Reduced costs
  • Developed or improved productivity and teamwork
  • Designed, implemented and developed a program from start to finish
  • Improved quality, safety or work conditions
  • Initiated, lead, or contributed to a committee, research, goal, outcome, resolution of group or team issues, project or other contributing activity.
  • Chaired, developed, or implemented a program, quality or safety project or committee
  • Participated in root cause analysis or hospital-wide committee
  • Effectively educated or designed a program around evidence-based practice
  • Championed, led or developed electronic health records implementation (specifically list the name of the EHR), utilization or solutions-based outcome

To help identify accomplishments, ask yourself the following questions.

Business/patient focus

  • Did you improve the cost-to-value? Did you develop any cost-cutting measures without comprising value? If so, how much? Under what conditions?
  • Did you initiate policies or procedures to improve patient satisfaction?
  • Do you have training in coding and billing for your services?
  • Did you use electronic health records to cut costs or track costs?

Innovation

  • Did you recognize opportunities to improve processes and develop alternatives? If so, how? What were the results?
  • Did you suggest or launch a new product or program? Did you take the lead or provide support? What were the results?
  • Do you offer any unique patient-value programs, such as breastfeeding counseling or asthma education?

Initiative

  • Did you assume new responsibilities that were not part of your job?
  • Did you ask for new projects or were they assigned to you? Why were you selected?
  • Did you conduct community education presentations and education?

Teamwork

  • Did you participate in any group problem-solving programs? What actions did you take or recommend? What were the results? Highlight any specific role that you played.

Planning and organization leadership

  • Did you develop and implement systems to measure performance against objectives? What were the results?
  • Did you lead or initiate an event? What was the outcome?

Leadership

  • Did you champion important issues through implementation? What were the results?

New Grad

We suggest you use the format above which includes procedures and scope of practice when listing your staff nurse, educator, manager or similar job history. Remember to target the information that you decide to include based on the job description. Include all relevant and truthful information even if it is similar but not specifically the same as the procedures that are required in the job.

Chronological Resume

Once your self-assessment is complete, you are ready to analyze the data and select the information to build your resume.

The easiest to read and write, and thus the most common resume format, is chronological. It begins with your most recent PNP experience and works backward through your previous jobs. This format is most widely used by your peers and is beneficial because you:

  • Are pursuing the same type of position as your current or previous one – this is true for new graduates as well
  • Have no major employment gaps – if you do, include a separate document called explanation of employment gaps, for gaps other than child-rearing or something you can insert in the space between jobs in 1-2 lines.
  • Can show progressive leadership changes
  • Have had past jobs that relate strongly to your job objective

A primary advantage of the chronological resume is that most readers are comfortable with the traditional layout of this format. It presents your background clearly and enables the reader to quickly review your information.

Once you have decided on a layout and content, it’s time to enter your information into the structure of your resume. Resumes typically contain the following data blocks that support your job objective. The majority of pediatric nurse practitioner resumes are organized in the following order:

  • Contact information
  • Job objective
  • Education
  • Summary of skills – may not apply to new grads
  • Clinical experience
  • Academic experience
  • New graduate: clinical training
  • Credentials
  • Awards and honors
  • Organization memberships
  • Publications and presentations
  • Community service

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Resume Guidelines

Here are 13 steps to creating a great pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) resume. While this page may be long, it’s detailed and full of tips to help PNPs find a great job with a professional resume.

1. Contact information

Your name, followed by your credentials, is your opportunity to ensure easy follow-up. Bold it, center it and add your credentials. It is essential that you include your credentials at the top of your PNP resume. Don’t put your name in a header on the first page, although you should make a header for all pages after the first that includes your name, credentials and contact information. Below your name, include your address, telephone number(s) and email address. Do not include details like your age, height, weight, sex, marital status, number of children, a picture of yourself or other personal information in this section or anywhere in the resume.

2. Job objective

Note that some employment consultants suggest not listing an objective on your PNP resume. Instead, they suggest including this information in your cover letter, tailored to the position you are seeking. However, many job seekers do list a job objective on their resume. Your job objective briefly states the kind of work that you are pursuing. It is also the starting point for building a clear, consistent and concise professional image. If you choose to include an objective, avoid general or obvious statements such as, “I want to get a job as a PNP.” Each stage of resume-building involves analyzing and selecting information to sell your accomplishments, experiences and skills. How specific should your objectives be? If you know exactly which job you are after and are qualified for, you can spell it out.

An example objective might be: 

To obtain a position as a pediatric nurse practitioner, serving the pediatric population and their families with the greatest care and compassion, while furthering my knowledge and expertise in holistic health care practice. I believe my determination, passion, fast learning abilities, solid work ethic and dedication would be a great asset to any healthcare organization.

Or,

An experienced pediatric nurse seeking a position as a pediatric nurse practitioner in a family-centered environment with the opportunity for continual professional growth.

As with all resume content, the objective statement should align with the job you are applying for.

3. Summary

You may want to include a summary as an opportunity to grab hiring managers’ attention and highlighting your attributes as a candidate that are most important to you and that clearly align with the job description. This is a snapshot of experiences and skills that define your capabilities relative to the job objective. Write the information in paragraph form or use bullets. Limit this block to six to eight items or sentences that should contain:

  • A broad statement that gives an immediate overview
  • Specific experience and skills related to the job objective
  • General background information that can help the reader understand your career

This information previews what you will detail in the rest of your PNP resume. Include information that you will support via your accomplishments, experience or skills in the preceding information.

Skills: These are good starters for a summary. Enumerate and evaluate your skills by relating them to your work experience and accomplishments. Skills are abilities you have or develop that enable you to achieve goals. You can determine the skills you use most by categorizing them as people skillsinformation skills and technical skills. As you examine your jobs and accomplishments, you will notice that you’ve used two or three skills consistently throughout your career. Consider these skills to be your major strengths. Examples would be leadership, education, training, communicating, listening, collaborating, attitude, interdisciplinary collaboration, flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving, seeking out new learning opportunities, compassion and technology (EHR, IT, electronic scheduling). 

4. Education

List all college, graduate school and additional education reverse-chronologically. You may also want to include the title of a capstone project under the degree conferred. Experienced PNPs may want to list education after work experience.

5Clinical Experience: 

List clinical experience in reverse chronological order. 

6. Academic Experience:

State University, Acronym, City, State
Assistant Professor – College of Nursing

  • Fall 2019: August to December 2019. Lecturer for Professional Nursing course in the Baccalaureate program. Acronym Distance site: Hospital, City.
  • Fall 2018: August to December 2018. Lecturer for Assessment and Planning Nursing Scholarship Acronym Distance site: Hospital, City.

7Graduate Clinical ExperienceNew Grads

Option 1:                 

Core Rotations

Pediatrics, City, State
Family Practice, City, State
Inpatient Medicine, City, State

Advanced Preceptorships 

Family Practice, Health Center
Internal Medicine, VA Medical Center

Option 2:

Pediatric Management Clinical Experience

January – August 2010

  • Capital Pediatrics and Adolescent Center – City, State
  • Southern High School Wellness Center – City, State
  • North City Pediatrics Group – City, State

Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Residency                 

August – October 2010

  • Pediatric Partners – City, State

Option 3:

Roxboro Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Clinic

  • Completed 120 clinical hours
  • Worked in a rural clinic where a variety of conditions were treated including depression, ADHD, type II diabetes and others.

UNC Pediatric Endocrine Clinic

  • Completed 120 clinical hours
  • Worked at the weekly Endocrine Clinic and the Diabetes Clinic
  • Completed histories and physicals with some management for patients with type I diabetes, congenital hypothyroidism, Graves’ disease, Obesity, type II diabetes, cystic fibrosis-related diabetes, short stature, growth delay, precocious puberty and other endocrine-related conditions.

8. Certification

Learn more about the PNP certification organization, Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB). Also indicate if you have current certifications in other areas, (e.g., basic or advanced cardiopulmonary life support).

9.  Awards and Honors

List all your awards and honors including place of employment, school, organizations and many other sources.

10. Organizations and Memberships

Do you participate in NAPNAP? Other organizations? List your membership, leadership roles, dates and project title if applicable.

11. Research

For a curriculum vitae (CV), you will list all your research in one format is as follows:

Date                       Type of Grant, Grant name

#Grant number, Organization or Program Name

Foundation or Institute name Monetary Amount

PI Name of Investigator

Your Name Funded Percent

12. Publications and Presentations

Your resume or CV is a great place to keep track of your publications and presentations. List as follows:

Date            Title: Sub-title

Organization, Publication, or event

City, State

Name of Journal Name of Article.  Writers. Role such as Section Editor Name of Section.  City: Publisher.

Find additional protocols here.

13. Community Service

Listing relevant activities or community involvement that demonstrate important skills, accomplishments, commitment to health care and character.

Prepare Yourself for Resume Questions

You may need to consider how you will address any perceived weaknesses in your career history on your pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) resume. These are career situations, either past or present that employers may question in evaluating your suitability for employment. Common examples include:

  • Too many positions during your career
  • Noticeable employment gaps
  • Over-specialization in a narrow discipline
  • Inexperience
  • Over-experienced or overqualified

Anticipate any situation that could be perceived as a weakness or as a reason why you might not be hired. Develop answers to potential questions about these situations that demonstrate what you learned from the experience, without blaming others for your job loss—even if you’re convinced that’s the case. You should also establish a list of accomplishments or experiences that may offset any weaknesses. Plan to use this information during your interviews to answer tough questions.

It can be hard to articulate your skills and accomplishments. If you try to view your skills, qualifications, and accomplishments as what you did instead of how you did it, you can write about what you did to achieve your objectives, manage change, overcome challenges or to have an impact on something you cared about. Then, it is easier to tell your career development story with the goal of clearly guiding your reader through your PNP resume to lead them to a decision to set up an interview.

Creating a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Curriculum Vitae

A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, is similar to a resume. Its purpose is to provide a succinct, formal, yet positive overview of a candidate’s academic, professional and co-curricular background for an interviewer. In addition to the information provided on a resume, a CV may include additional information in the areas of research, clinical experience, publications, certifications/licensure and presentations/teaching. Given these additions, CVs are often more expansive and contain more information than resumes, are usually two pages in length for graduate students (or more as you advance in your career). A CV is most commonly used in medical, research, science and education fields.

You should create your CV, even a rough draft, early in the process so that you may provide it for those who are writing recommendation letters for you. Remember, the process of creating and refining a good CV takes time – plan ahead. It’s advisable to have several copies on hand during your interviews.

Each individual must create a CV that works best for them. Once you are ready to create your CV, there are several things you should keep in mind. In general, make sure it is easy to read and well organized. Follow these layout and CV writing tips:

  • Keep margins at 1-1.5 inches.
  • 1-2 pages are the standard length early in your career but don’t reduce the font size, change the margins, or leave important information out just to crowd it to one page.
  • Avoid splitting a section when going on to a second page.
  • A 12-point font is preferable, but 11-point is acceptable.
  • Stick with one font, or two similar fonts (one for headings, the other for everything else) – use only conservative, common fonts.
  • Headings should be consistent in style, size and formatting.
  • Use bold, italics, caps, and bullets to organize your CV – but use sparingly.
  • Check the text for misspellings and poor grammar – use proofreaders.
  • Avoid using abbreviations for states, degrees, addresses, etc.
  • Print your CV on a laser printer.
  • Use only high quality, bond paper — white, ivory, and light gray colors are most appropriate.
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