As the nation’s largest nursing corps, VA nurses care for Veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It’s a job that requires the right mix of skills, experience and education — all of which should be prominently highlighted on your nursing resume.
Ready to apply? Great! Before you submit your resume for a nursing opportunity at VA, take a moment to do these five things:
- Address the basic requirements.
Review the required qualifications listed in the nursing job opening. Simply put, if you don’t meet these qualifications, we can’t consider you for the position. Address each of these requirements in your resume.
These requirements might include a detailed list of certificates and licenses (including license type, licensing state, expiration date and licensing number), proof of graduation from an accredited vocational program, and proficiency in the English language.
- Note your experience with the preferred qualifications.
While not required for employment, meeting the position’s preferred qualifications can help your resume float to the top of the pile. These are desired but not mandatory position skills.
It’s a good idea to specifically call out how you meet the preferred qualifications on your resume. Even if you’re missing some of that experience, don’t get discouraged — you could still apply and be considered for the role.
- Create a list of job-related accomplishments.
Making a list of your past job duties might make for a passable resume, but to stand out, go beyond that. It’s important to shine a light on what you accomplished while you were there. Did you win an award? Receive a promotion? Get recognized by your co-workers or other departments? Highlight those accolades.
And when discussing previous work experience, add some power behind your statements by making them measurable achievements. Quantify your work with statements like “Led and mentored 10 newly licensed nurses in developing and achieving professional expertise,” or “Turned over 30 beds in one day.”
- Mention the soft skills you bring to the job.
Skills aren’t just certifications and past experience. VA highly values interpersonal qualities in a nurse candidate. Illustrating how you demonstrate teamwork, time management, patience, flexibility and communications skills on the job shows the level of care you bring to the Veterans you serve and the VA team members you work with.
- Include any previous experience with Veterans.
Have you ever volunteered or worked with a Veterans’ organization? Don’t forget to add that information to your resume! Understanding the needs and experiences of our nation’s Veterans helps you excel personally and professionally at VA.
As for your resume’s length, there’s no hard and fast rule. But keeping it between one to three pages is generally good advice (approximately one page for entry level positions and up to three pages for senior management).
Choose a VA nursing career today
Put your skills into practice as a nurse at VA and make a difference in the lives of more than 9 million Veterans who count on us for their care.