NP Resume Red Flags- Avoid These Common Mistakes

Job postings are often met with a flood of resumes from nurse practitioners vying for an interview. So, hiring managers sort through resumes quickly, tossing them into the recycling bin (or virtual recycle bin) at the slightest sign that a candidate might not be the right fit for the job. In crafting your nurse practitioner resume and planning for your future career, it’s imperative you avoid a few common mistakes to give you the best chance the next time you submit a job application.

Here are a few common resume red flags to avoid.

1. Spelling, grammatical and formatting errors

Nothing says sloppy like misspellings and formatting mistakes. Read and re-read your resume eliminating each and every error. Have a friend or family member look over your resume as well as a second pair of eyes can often detect mistakes you may miss. Look over your resume not only the day you draft it, but again a few days later. A little distance allows you to pick up mistakes you may have otherwise missed.

Finally, check formatting carefully. Print your resume so you can view the entire document at once. This helps you check for formatting consistency. Getting margins to align can be frustrating but don’t cut corners when it comes to formatting- your resume it making a first impression on an employer.

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2. Writing too much

Ideally, your resume should be just one page. It is a quick summary of your greatest educational and professional accomplishments. Employers don’t want to read a list of each and every one of your prior job responsibilities. Nor do they care where you attended high school. Keep your resume succinct and relevant. You may have qualities and characteristics you wish to share with employers, but save these for the interview.

3. Using a ridiculous email address

You may be resistant to change the email address you’ve had since freshman year of college. But, for the sake of finding a job, choose a new one immediately. No employer feels comfortable sending an interview request to Not only does an outdated server like AOL or Comcast signal you are behind the times, some email addresses may give too much insight into your past or present hobbies etc. Create a free Gmail address, ideally using some version of your full name.

4. Stating everything but your accomplishments

Pointing to specifics when it comes to your resume is best. Rather than describe your last nursing job by saying you triaged patients, state that you took effectively reduced the ER wait time by 50 percent when placed in triage. The more specific and outcomes oriented you can be, the better. This gives employers a tangible way to assess the value you can add to their company.

5. Not using keywords

When writing your resume, use keywords from the job posting to help you stand out. If employers scan your resume and recognize the same descriptors they used in a job posting, they may be more likely to select your resume for a second look.

Employers may also search resume databases used by job search engines, for example, in trying to fill a position. If your resume doesn’t contain relevant keywords it won’t come up in a search.

6. Job hopping or a lengthy gap between jobs

Switching jobs every few months, or even every year, is a big no, no when it comes to your career. It raises concerning questions about you in the eyes of an employer. Were you fired? Are you unable to get along with other employees? Do you have a problem with commitment? No one wants to hire someone who is always looking for the next best thing.

7. Inconsistencies or untruths 

It’s easy for a potential employer to vet your resume’s claims. Between LinkedIn, calling on references, and the information you give in your interview, hiring managers will assume you are either lying or sloppy if inconsistencies arise. Employers are looking for a straightforward story when it comes to your employment history and accomplishments. Don’t embellish. Put dates on your resume. Neglecting to do so may obscure a lapse in employment, but hiring managers assume something sketchy if you don’t give a timeline when it comes to your prior positions. Information you give to employers and that you post online must be accurate and consistent.

8. Laying out your life’s employment history

If you are a new or recent graduate, outlining all of your prior job experiences in your resume may be the way to go. But, if you’ve been out of school for a while now or otherwise have an extensive work history, it’s not necessary to include each and every position on your resume. This makes your resume wayyy too long! Employers aren’t interested in where you were working 10 years ago, especially if these positions aren’t related to the job for which you are currently applying. Include only your most recent jobs in your resume. A brief line saying something along the lines of “complete employment history available upon request” will suffice when it comes to summing up your entire career.

9. Lack of professionalism

Being professional applies to all parts of the nurse practitioner job application process. Not only should your resume be neatly laid out and free of colors and graphics, but all communication you have with your employer must be graced with a professional tone as well. Keep emails written to prospective employers appropriately formal and grammatically correct. Check your social media profiles prior to a job search to make sure they won’t give employers the wrong impression.


Could you use help drafting your resume or finding a job? The ThriveAP Career Advisor Program can help! Send us your question at


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