3 Essential Components of a Successful Nurse Practitioner Resume

NP Career Blog

3 Essential Components of a Successful Nurse Practitioner Resume

Tuesday Tip:

I have preached this for years.  Call it a resume trifecta, the holy trinity or the triple play but every (and I mean EVERY) NP resume must contain these 3 critical pieces of information.  If employers do not find this information – and find it quickly – your resume will never make it past the first round.

It’s a simple formula really

1. Your education
2. Your certification
3. Your skills

Create your resume around these elements. Remember, we review your resume in less than 15 seconds so you must make these 3 bits of data the centerpiece of your resume. Skip the fancy formatting, long winded “objective” statements and just focus on ensuring that this information as easy for us to find as possible.

What to know what to include under each of these 3 headings?
Read my latest blog here

Survey says: 2012 was a Good Year!

The “2012 Advanced Practice Clinician Compensation and Pay Practices Survey Report” a survey conducted by Sullivan, Cotter and Associates indicates that 2012 was a good year to be an NP or PA.

Key findings include:

NPs and PA job openings:

  • A 17% increase in the number of Advanced Practice Clinicians positions was reported by 63% of the respondents
  • In addition half the respondents plan to increase the number of NPs and PAs in their organizations by 15% during the coming year

NP and PA salaries:

  • 62% indicated that NP and PA salaries increased by an average of 3.9% over the past year.
  • At least half revealed they are planning salary increases of an average of 3.1% in 2013 for their Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants.

Reasons cited for the trends:

  • Team based care driving the demand for more NPs and PAs
  • MD shortage
  • Recent national trends to ensure all medical professions can work at the top of their practice level and training.

While this is only one study it does confirm that the market is moving in a positive direction.  This doesn’t mean we can relax just yet though, my contacts tell me that open positions are still attracting large numbers of applicants.

2012 Salary updates

This time of year always bring a new batch of PA and NP salary survey information.  I like to review the various surveys to compare if they match up with the trends I observe.  Sometimes they do, and sometime they don’t .

As always, a few words of caution about salary surveys.  First, they keep in mind the participants are self-selected which may skew the results.  In my experience those doing well are more eager to fill out salary surveys while those experiencing less favorable compensation tend not to want to talk as much.

In a volatile or rapidly changing employment landscape a salary survey can often lag behind current trends.  This has been especially true for PA and NP jobs over the last previous years, however, this past year has seen some increasing stabilization which make recent surveys more reliable.

Here is a quick summary of the most recent salary survey from Clinical Advisor along with my comments:

For an NP in family practice the yearly pay averages in the mid 80K range  Womens health and pediatric NPs come in about 10K lower.  Specialties, such as geriatrics or heme/onc will bring in a yearly salary in the 90K bracket.

My take: This is not a surprise to any of us in the recruiting biz.  For those certified in womens health and peds wages and jobs have been in decline for years. What this survey doesn’t say is how the respondents for these categories are certified.  An FNP working in these areas will earn more than those certified as peds or WH.

PAs earn about 10K more a year than NPs. The exception is in family practice where they come out only slightly ahead of NPs in pay.

My take: The other categories listed are specialty practice areas.  No surprise they earn more. Specialty practices bring in more revenue so it logically follows that they will pay more too. PAs also still dominate in specialty practices.  They tend to be more open to specializing than NPs although that is beginning to change too.

The survey also compares experience.  In both categories experience brings more pay but for PAs the increase continues over their careers while the earnings of NPs level off after 5 years.

If you want to check out the entire survey, which includes further breakdowns by geographic region, it can be found here.

NP Career Coach interviewed for Contraceptive Technology Updates

Most people think of January as the season for snow and winter activities, but for your NP Career Coach it’s season of the annual Salary Survey.

And with the salary survey comes interviews…

Recently I was interviewed by Contraceptive Technology Updates and asked for my thoughts on how to be best prepared in the event budget cuts result in a decrease in your work hours or find you out looking for a new NP job.

In the article I discuss the value of having a “master resume” ready to go, the importance of flexibility in this market and whether it can benefit you to consider signing on with a recruiter.

Family Planning Salaries Hold Fast – Where will 2012 take Employment Levels?

Click here to read the entire interview which begins on page 13.

Do you have a passion for Rural healthcare?

I don’t often discuss specific job openings but I am going to make an exception for this position.

How do jobs make my “short-list” you might wonder?

Because I feel I have a certain trust level with my readers I won’t blog about any and every position. I will only promote a PA or NP job if I feel the employer values and respects nurse practitioners and/or physician assistants. This job meets my criteria due to the high level of independance their NP and PA providers enjoy.

Another plus is this NP/PA job is in my home state of Minnesota – actually small town Minnesota to be exact.

Here are the details:

This position is a true family practice position in a rural satellite clinic providing care for all ages across the lifespan.

Hours are Monday – Friday, 9a-5p.

There is occasional Saturday morning (8-noon) coverage in a neighboring clinic required which is rotated among 6 (yes I said 6!) other advanced practice clinicians.

Other responsiblities include “PRN back-up” for call in nearby Critical Access ER.

Back-up call and Saturday clinic coverage does pay additional compensation on top of the base salary.

Speaking of salary…

Salary range is $75-$95K depending on experience.

Position includes Medical Benefits, 401K, plus CEU/licensure reimbursement. Relocation assistance is negotiable.

They will also consider NEW GRADS! How cool is that?

Now excuse me for a minute while I brag about my home state. I’d like to remind everyone that Minnesota has alot to offer and this clinic location has something for everyone. I’m talking about easy access to the best fishing and camping in the state for you nature enthusiasts as well as theatres and large shopping centers for you city folk. (FYI – Minnesota DID invent the shopping mall) And when you want/need to come to the big city Minneapolis-St Paul is less than 2 hours away.

This is a rare opportunity to provide true family practice services with maximum independence in a rural setting that values nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

If you would like to hear more call Katy at 800-856-6385. ext. 2113.

Be sure to tell her the NP Career Coach sent you!

 

To err is human…but a second chance needs to be earned

Do you have a negative in your history? By negative I mean a dismissal, misconduct or a disciplinary action by your board. Personal negatives include criminal charges, DUI’s or a history of substance abuse.

All is not lost.

If you are a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and you have one of the above issues and you are struggling with how to frame a past transgression in your NP or PA resume I have some advice for you.

My latest column in Advance for NPs & PAs outlines some strategies for dealing with negatives in your professional background. I discuss when and how to bring up your past problems as well as what steps you must take to convince an employer to take a chance on you.

Click here to read my advice

Attention: Dallas-Fort Worth area NPs!

I haven’t done this before but judging by the number of emails I get from NPs who are looking for work I thought I might post a job opening.

I just spoke with an employer who is hiring for an innovative and intriguing nurse practitioner job in the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas. Reliant Health House Calls is looking for several NPs to join their team seeing patients in their homes. This is a FULL-TIME opportunity with benefits. They are also willing to hire NEW GRADS.

Salary: $80,000 – 106,000

If you want to learn more contact G.S. Reddy at 817-808-3443 or gsreddy99@gmail.com

Be sure to tell them I sent you!
Renee

Returning to the Workforce

Dear Career Coach: I am a NP seeking to return to the workforce after a 10 year employment gap. I have experience as an adult nurse practitioner Occupational Health, Cardio-thoracic, Primary Care, and Student Health. I recently completed 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacy and passed the certification test for Adult NP in preparation for my NP job search.
Should I include this information in my resume and cover letter? How do I handle the lapse in my professional career? I have 3 kids and we moved several times. I was active with volunteer activities and held several leadership positions. Do employers really want to see this information in my resume?

Dear Reader: This information needs to be included in both your resume and your cover letter. I suggest you start your resume off with a “Summary of Qualifications” section, this will allow you to highlight your qualifications and future plans.

EXAMPLE:
“A nurse practitioner with a wide variety of experience with an emphasis in (list your specialties) Recently completed a total of 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacology and have used this knowledge to successfully pass the certification test for Adult Nurse Practitioner. Passionate to resume hands on patient care. Possess the energy and flexibility of a new graduate plus a wealth of past knowledge which will benefit both my patients and my future employer.”

Next on your resume list your experience starting first with your recent CEU’s that are pertinent to the job you are seeking. Highlight your proficiencies for each past job and communicate that you are still comfortable with those skills.

You also MUST write a cover letter. You can use your cover letter to discuss your passion for the position, highlight your proficiencies and emphasize the knowledge you recently acquired in your CEU courses. It’s also a good idea to mention your desire for a long-term employer. In the last paragraph, before your closing, you can then disclose and explain your employment gap.

Remember always to edit and tailor your resume and cover letter to match each and every position you apply for!

Good luck!

Can’t we all just get along?

They say nursing “eats it’s own”. I had this recurring fantasy that when I became an NP that something would change, unfortunately this hasn’t been the case for me or many other Advanced Practice Nurses.

I have been receiving several letters lately from APRN’s all over the country expressing their frustration with their RN peers. They recount stories of the RN’s behaving like “tyrants” towards them. They accuse them of nitpicking, refusing to help and generally making the NP’s work life miserable. In some cases they tell me, RN’s are even assigned to supervise the NP’s. (This is a situation that seems wildly inappropriate at best, and downright dangerous at it’s worst.) The nurse practitioners attribute the RN’s behavior to “professional jealousy”.

Now I know there are 2 sides to every story and I am sure the nurses have their tale to tell as well. But unfortunately I too have observed and experienced some of this behavior firsthand. A few years ago I was working an assignment in which the RN’s refused to do vitals on my patients when they roomed them. Why? “Because you are a nurse” was the response. I shrugged it off because I personally liked these nurses but I must admit it really grated on me professionally.

This is a sad and disappointing side to our profession. When I teach new nursing students it’s one of the first things they ask me about in class. What does this say about us? In my years working as a recruiter I can tell you that it’s not money that leads many NP”s to search for a new job. Most Nurse Practitioners quit because they are unhappy and frustrated with their current work environment.

I’m throwing this one out to you for discussion. Do you have a story like this to tell? What have you done to resolve the problem? If you are a Physician Assistant does this happen to you as well or is this strictly a “nursing” problem? Leave me a comment.

To Cell or Not to Cell

I was shopping today and as I was turned the corner into the soap aisle a young man was just ending a cell phone call. I heard him say a few stern words into his cell phone, then he hung up and exclaimed to a woman whom I presumed to be his wife “Can you believe it? They actually called me about a job I applied for while I am at Target!” Considering the job market these days this should have made his day, but no, he was quite indignant that they had interrupted his grocery shopping. Yeah, imagine that. He had given them his cell phone number and they actually had the nerve to call him, unbelievable.
I have long cautioned job hunters to think long and hard before putting their cell phone numbers on their applications or resumes because, well, employers tend to call them.
The great thing about cell phones is that they are portable, and the not-so-great thing about cell phones is that they are portable. If you listed you cell number as your contact number when you applied for an NP job odds are sooner or later a potential employer is going to call you at an inconvenient time (like when you are shopping at Target).
If your cell phone is your only phone then please think before you answer. If you are busy, in loud or bad reception area it’s better if you let the call go to voicemail and return it when you are free to talk. You get one chance to make a good impression and you don’t want to be deciding “paper or plastic” while taking a call from a potential employer.
Trust me, they won’t call back.