Nursing Resumes & Portfolios

Resumes vs. Portfolios: What is the difference?

A resume:

  • Is usually 1-3 pages long
  • Follows standard format
  • Describes education, work history, and other relevant experience in short blurbs (i.e. 2-3 sentence paragraphs or bulleted lists)
  • Is standard in most job applications (note: Some larger employers use computer to scan resumes for keywords, making these computers the mechanism for "cutting" many applicants before a human ever see the application)

A career portfolio:

  • Is an in-depth document that supplements (not replaces) a resume
  • Takes many forms but generally includes artifacts (e.g. tangible objects that demonstrate  work such as care plans, marketing brochures, outlines of training sessions, manuals, spreadsheets, memos)
  • Can be paper or electronic, including webpages, PDFs, and even PowerPoints
Sample Resume 1
A Microsoft Word resume from a U-M Family Nurse Practitioner, which can be used as a content guide and as a formatting template.

Sample Resume 2
Same content as above with a different layout.

Complete Guide to Resume Writing for Nurses
From Mary Somers at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing; includes guidelines and worksheets for preparing information. Excellent starting point!

Resume Tips for Nurses
From, a one-page, must-read overview resume writing for all nurses, whether they are new to the profession or advancing in the field. See also the sample entry-level nursing resume.

What Attracts Nurse Recruiters to a Resume?
From, a page discussing how to think about experience and choose how to write about it. A survey of nurse recruiters shows that in a resume, they look for: 
  1. Detailed work history in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)
  2. Shifts available 
  3. Department of interest
  4.  Well-developed career goal
  5. References; at least one professional reference
  6.  Certification and licensure information
  7. Willingness to relocate, if any
  8. Any experience in performance improvement
  9. Minimum salary requirements
  10. Specific description of types of units and patients cared for and for how long
About Functional Resumes
From, a good format for people changing careers or returning to the job market after time off. See also their sample functional resume.

Nursing Job Help Online
A site maintained by a retired RN with tips on choosing the right nursing profession, preparing a job application, interviewing - even tips for dressing for an interview.  
About Student Portfolios
What are they? What are the different types?

About Faculty Portfolios
Portfolios for current faculty and PhD candidates

Portfolio Template
Change the look of a portfolio just by choosing a new color scheme 

Technical Instructions
PDF with how-to instructions for creating PDF, PowerPoint, or Web-format portfolios

Creating a PDF
Video (2.5 minutes, 2Mb, must use Internet Explorer to view) on how to use the resume template on this page and turn it into a PDF

Using Styles in Word
Use styles in Word to automatically create bookmarks in PDF documents, tables of contents, and change the look of text with one click

Using Word Styles (video)
Video (2.5 minutes, 1.6Mb, must use Internet Explorer to view) on how to use existing Word styles and create custom styles

Adding Bookmarks/Links to PDFs
Video (2 minutes, 3.3 Mb, must use Internet Explorer to view) on how to make your bookmarks and links without using Word styles

Sample Career Portfolios