Writing your perfect CV takes a lot of time and effort but employers generally only spend 5-7 seconds going through each one. Just a couple of easily-corrected errors could see your CV discounted immediately, regardless of your suitability for the role.
MSI don’t want to see your hard work go to waste, so we’ve put together this guide to the errors MSI most commonly see in agency nurse CVs and how to fix them.
Making it difficult to read
The general rule of thumb is to keep your CV concise, consistent and clear.
Your CV should be no more than 1-2 sides of A4. Don’t include any irrelevant information – you don’t need to include your hobbies, any unrelated (non-healthcare) work experience or any irrelevant personal information.
Long paragraphs should be avoided and information should be broken up using headings and bullet points, to make it easy to read quickly. Keep the way you format heading and sub-headings consistent throughout your CV.
Not making the most of your work experience
Your employment experience should be listed in reverse-chronological order, starting with your most recent experience.
As well as the dates and times of each role, you should include some relevant detail on your work there. But avoid simply listing everything in your job description. Instead, employers will be most interested in what skills or attributes you used or improved during your time working in that role, as well as any job specific training or qualifications you gained. Using action words can help you focus on your successes, but avoid using clichéd phrases that make your CV sound like everyone else’s.
Make sure you cover any employment gaps, eg for training or parental leave. You don’t need to go into details, just a quick line will do.
If you have done previous stints of agency nursing, you do not need to list every single shift you covered. Instead list the name or your agency as your employer and the overall dates you worked. You can include longer-term contract positions separately, but label these as successfully completed contract roles.
Not including a professional summary
Another mistake we often see our agency nurses make in their CVs is not including a professional summary at the start of their CV.
This is simply a short paragraph that introduces yourself to employers and ‘sells’ the key abilities you can offer them. You could include your personal qualities and strengths, a quick summary of your career history and experience, any areas you are particularly proficient in or passionate about and your career goals for the future.
The idea is to make an employer eager to read the rest of your CV.
This article on monster.com has some great advice on writing a professional summary for nurses, as well as some examples.
Not double-checking the details
Everyone knows it is vital to make sure there aren’t any spelling or grammar errors on your CV. Reading it out load is one of the best ways to proof your CV, or ask a friend or colleague to go through it for you.
Some other areas to double-check before you finish include making sure you use a professional email address, not something like firstname.lastname@example.org, and make sure that the information included on any professional social media profiles (eg LinkedIn) does not contradict the information on your CV.
Don’t forget to include additional skills, qualifications, training, professional memberships, but only if they are relevant and of interest to an employer.
Tool to check for spelling mistakes: www.jspell.com
Tool to check for grammar mistakes: www.grammarcheck.net
Reed.co.uk - Common grammar mistakes to avoid on your CV
The RCN has sample nurse CVs and tips available on their website: www.rcn.org.uk/professional-development/your-career/cv-writing and if you’re a member, they have a careers team who will look at your CV for you.
Nurses.co.uk What skills should I list on my nursing CV?
And finally, ask your MSI consultant for help. We’re happy to check your CV over or offer any advice.