Becoming a Three-Dimensional Candidate

Last Updated: 13 October 2023

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Keith Carlson

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Beyond Two Dimensions

In order to create a three-dimensional portrait of a valuable, intelligent and ambitious nursing professional, your task is to discover and then illustrate the skills, knowledge and expertise that make you most desirable.

Consider these six ideas to get your creative juices flowing when reflecting on your unique qualities:

  1. Ditch the Cliche Language

    Rather than generic terminology and descriptors, use authentic language in your resume and cover letters that focus on you as an individual. Too many resumes rely on overused buzzwords that quickly lose their meaning and impact. Some generic terms like 'ambitious', 'highly experienced', 'compassionate' or 'collaborative' are fine to use, but they must be paired with language that specifically speaks to your uniqueness.

  2. Use Tangible Examples

    When describing yourself on paper or during an interview, consider either quantifiable or qualifiable accomplishments that illustrate proven achievements. For example, if your interventions in the medical-surgical unit led to a 20 per cent reduction in hospital-acquired infections, use that quantifiable outcome to your advantage. If you led a team of four nurses, two nurse practitioners and eight medical assistants, describe the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the team and what your leadership achieved. If you chaired a committee, describe what the committee accomplished under your leadership.

  3. Reading an application

  4. Mention Community Service

    Community service contributes to your character beyond the workplace, and if your volunteer work is related to healthcare, this may be an additional plus. While these ventures only need a brief description on your resume, they help illustrate the totality of your life’s work.

  5. Establish a Professional Social Media Presence

    Although many nurses shy away from social media, having a strong presence on LinkedIn can put you ahead of the curve when it comes to your competitors in the job market. Many potential employers will likely Google you once they’ve received your application, so give them something positive to find online rather than Facebook photos of your drunken weekend in Thailand (which should actually be tagged as private on Facebook for the protection of your online brand).

  6. Get on LinkedIn

    Your LinkedIn profile can include powerful recommendations and endorsements from colleagues and supervisors - not to mention more thorough explanations and descriptions that may not fit on your resume otherwise. For this reason, an impactful and comprehensive LinkedIn profile can be a highly effective document that empowers and supports your resume.

  7. Do Your Research

    Prior to writing a cover letter, researching the potential employer can be beneficial. Use your findings to show that you’ve done your homework and understand who that employer is and what makes their organization tick.

Man researching on laptop

Three Dimensions of You

Many nurses’ resumes and cover letters use non-strategic language and design that do little for a job candidate who has much to offer.

Going the extra mile in order to make yourself stand out is smart, even if you need to hire a career coach or resume professional to make that happen. A few hundred dollars to get that perfect position is a small investment after the money, blood, sweat and tears involved in becoming a nurse in the first place.

Your potential employer wants to be wowed and impressed by you.

They will likely have more appreciation for a nurse who knows themselves, understands their worth and can authentically communicate that value both in writing and in person.

Focusing on being three-dimensional as a nursing professional in the job market is a worthy investment indeed.

Most nurses will rely on the usual methods of marketing themselves, but as a savvy and forward-thinking professional seeking self-actualization and career progression, being a well-rounded candidate will be beneficial and attract opportunities that may otherwise have been difficult to secure.

Nurse, embody your complete self and watch the offers roll in from employers who respond positively to the awesome person you are.

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