Putting together a winning LPN resume often depends as much on formatting and appearance as it does on actual experience or the inclusion of keywords. In today’s post, we review each of the important elements of an effective practical nursing resume. We also provide a step-by-step walk-through on writing LPN resumes, and have included a professionally-written sample that you can use as a template.
Elements of an Effective LPN Resume
In order to catch an employer’s eye, and effectively communicate your strengths and qualifications as an LPN, a great deal of thought and planning should be given to your resume’s format and overall appearance. As with everything in life, first impressions matter, and effective resumes make good ones at a quick glance.
There are two basic types of formats used for virtually all resumes: chronological and functional. Either may be used by a Licensed Practical Nurse, but deciding which is appropriate for you depends on a couple of factors.
When to Use a Chronological Format
Chronological formatting works best for LPNs with established work histories. Its purpose is to emphasize experience and training to portray a candidate as ready for hire in any number of capacities.
When to Use a Functional Format
A functional format is ideal for new LPN graduates, people who have been out of work for a long period of time, and those who have large gaps in their employment histories. This type of formatting allows the person to highlight accomplishments, unique skills and other relevant qualities that make him or her ideal for the desired job.
The physical layout and presentation of your resume is also important. While it may not make a difference to the software program that scans the digital version of your LPN resume for buzzwords, it will make a big difference to the HR person or manager who ultimately interviews you.
Type Fonts and Characters
All of your text should be in an easy-to-read font and large enough to be visible from a couple feet away. Furthermore, while bullet points are acceptable, the use of less-common characters and symbols should be avoided.
The page itself should be divided into clearly-labeled sections with the most-important content at the top and the least at the bottom. Attention should also be given to centering, margin sizes and other basic attributes that serve to frame the content and present it in a visually-appealing manner.
Steps in Writing a Winning Resume
#1 – Provide Your Current Contact Information
The traditional approach to building a resume is to start-off by placing, in this order, your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address in the header section of the page. This information should be centered, bolded and in a larger font size than the rest of your resume so as to make sure that it stands out at a glance.
Make sure that you meticulously proofread the information you provide, checking it for spelling errors and accuracy. You’d be surprised by the number of people who provide old addresses, use wrong phone numbers and even misspell their own names on their resumes. Needless to say, if this information is incorrect, the chances are you won’t be contacted for an interview.
#2 – Write a Targeted Introduction
Moving on to actually writing your LPN resume, the first thing to include is a short, targeted, introductory paragraph just under your name and contact information. The purpose of this introduction is to tell the reader in three or four sentences: who you are, and exactly why you’re the right person for the job. Tailor this introduction to the specific job you’re applying for – don’t use a generic statement!
You should also strategically include buzzwords related to practical nursing and, if applicable, list-out the specific skills and experiences you have that are relevant to the position. Doing so should help your resume rise above the others who have forgotten this important step.
#3 – Sell Yourself with Specifics
Regardless of whether your resume follows a chronological or functional format, the purpose of the body will be to provide specific, tangible examples of your qualifications. All information presented should be descriptive and accurate, but also concise and easy to understand.
Again, organize the body by importance with your most-recent job or greatest strength (depending on which format you use) listed at the top in bold-faced type. Underneath each section should be a list of achievements related to that job or attribute. Bullet points followed by short sentences are a great way to achieve this.
#4 – State Your Educational Background and Licensure
The final step in writing your LPN resume is to state your educational background and licensure. You should specify any diplomas or degrees you’ve earned, the LPN school(s) that awarded them, and your LPN license number.
A Sample LPN Resume
The following is a sample LPN resume that incorporates all of the steps outlined above. Feel free to use this as a template if you wish, and good luck with building your winning resume!