Resume and interview tips and tricks



Getting started:

  • 1 page is best (1.5 or 2 but only if you have previous experience that is relevant or pertains to the position you are applying for).
  • Font size 10 or 12. Keep font size and formatting consistent. Keep neat, easy to read and professional. Can use Ariel, Times New Roman, Tahoma, Calibri.
  • Avoid personal information(single/married/children) and your street address. Can keep to city and state.
  • Use action verbs to describe your experiences. Describe your specific role and responsibilities. Do not use “I”.
  • Use short phrases and powerful words to stress accomplishments.
  • Watch verb tense. Use past tense unless it is current.
  • Give your resume to 6-10 sec. test. Your most relevant information must catch the eye of the employer. Most employers/managers will give your resume a quick read to determine if they want to interview you.
  • PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD. Have someone else read it too.

 Helpful action verbs 


  • Education
  • Clinical experiences(type of unit, responsibilities,# of hours)
  • Work experiences
  • Volunteerism/ community service
  • Awards

The Interview: 3 step process

  1. Preparing for the Interview.
  • Think about yourself and the information/skills/values you want to share with the interviewer.
  • Research the unit/area you are interviewing for. What types of clients do they care for, what type of nursing care they provide. Get to know the unit and see if it would be a good fit for you. The more you know about the unit, the more the manager will be convinced of your interest their unit (can check the facilities’s website).
  • Before an interview, have a mock interview with an instructor or someone who can give you constructive feedback.
  • Prepare for questions that you may be asked:
    • Your strengthens, weakness, what your career plans in 1/5 years.
    • Tell me about yourself. Why you went into nursing? What is your interest in this position?
    • How would your peers describe you?
    • How do you handle stress/work under pressure?
    • Have you encountered conflict with co-workers? How did you handle the situation?
    • Can you give an example for how you prioritized care of a group of clients?
    • Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of and why? (Can give employer an look into your personal values).

Prepare by thinking specifically about situations in classes or other work situations that may help you answer these questions.

2. The Interview
  • Dress professionally. If you are shadowing, it is OK to wear scrubs(make sure they are ironed).
  • Be prepared to answer questions about yourself (see Preparing for the Interview questions above).
  • Come with your own questions. They will demonstrate your interest in the job.
    • How would you describe a typical day?
    • Can you describe the orientation process? Working with 1 specific preceptor or multiple?
    • What are some professional development opportunities?
    • What do you see as a strength of the unit?
    • You may ask if they have a time frame for hiring. This will give you an idea if you need to contact them in the follow up (see below)
  • Remember to think about how to close the Interview. Summarize your interest in the position and leave a positive impression.
3. The Follow-up

  • Send the interviewer a short thank you letter. It shows you appreciate their time and and chance to reiterate you interest and qualifications. Also it will help them remember you.
  • If you have not heard back within the hiring time frame, it is OK to contact them to see if a decision has been made.
  • Evaluate the interview. Were there question you were not prepared to answer? Were you satisfied with your answers? How can you improve for next time?

Template examples

Job Hunting

  • For specialty units, like Pediatrics or ICUs, start the application process earlier. For example, if your graduation date is in December, apply for residency/specialty area positions in September.
  • Have your resumes ready by the beginning of your third semester.
  • Make connections with your instructors who are in the specialties that you are interested in.
  • Ask questions and offer to help during your shadowing experience.