Maybe you already have a job offer, or maybe you know you'll need your resume ASAP once you pass your NCLEX. Either way, it's worth polishing up. (For the record, resumes should be updated every six months regardless of your job status. It makes it that much easier to whip out when you REALLY need it.)
So what should be on a nursing resume if you've never held an official registered nurse position before?
1. Any previous healthcare experience.
I don't care if all you were doing was patient transport! If you did it in a hospital, you better list it on your resume. That also includes volunteer work if you did things like fetch water for patients, read to them, or any other volunteer services in hospitals. And if I were you, I'd apply to that hospital for sure!
2. Any position where you managed others.
Showing off good time and people management skills is a great idea. You need both these abilities as a nurse anyway! It could be anything from being a junior manager to helping at a volunteer event where you organized others.
3. An interesting accomplishment or experience.
Have you run a triathlon? Helped consistently at a charity? Traveled across the world to de-worm infants in Somalia? List it. An interesting experience will catch a recruiter's eye in their sea of resumes and make yours stand out- maybe even enough to get a call back.
4. References that matter.
Don't list your parents, please, or a good friend who's not a coworker. In fact, try not to list coworkers who were at your same job level - you want to be listing your managers and supervisors. Whenever you do one of them a solid, say, "Hey, listen. I'm trying to get a foot in the door in the nursing field. Do you know anyone? Would I be able to list you as a reference?" (Make sure to ask before they get a call out of the blue that they're not expecting!)
What else have you included on your resume and met with success? Let me know.