An ICU (Intensive Care Unit) nurse, also called a critical care nurse, is the one who provides health care to patients with severe illness or injuries in intensive-care units. This position’s typical responsibilities include closely assessing and recording each patient’s recovery condition, explaining intricate medical knowledge with patients and their families in an understandable way, and assisting the doctors with the treatments.
Some people may confuse an ICU nurse with an ER (emergency room) nurse. Although there are some similarities between them, an ER nurse faces a more fast-paced environment since he/she has to evaluate patients’ conditions and give treatments almost simultaneously in a very short time. They have to deal with patients in various situations, from sore throat to even gun-shoot injury. By contrast, an ICU nurse’s daily work is to give detailed care only to seriously ill patients.
Now, if you are excited to do a highly stressful but meaningful job, it is time to write an ICU nurse resume to land the job!
Before discussing what to include in one’s ICU nurse resume, here are six steps you should know when it comes to resume writing.
Both CV (Curriculum Vitae) and resume are about one’s professional experience, but the information in an ICU nurse resume tends to be more compressed.
Therefore, an ICU nurse CV will usually exceed two pages, while an ICU nurse resume is only one page (at most two pages). It is better to confirm whether the employers require a CV or a resume since different regions may have their practices.
Here are four types of resume formats to choose from for your critical care nurse resume: chronological, functional, hybrid (combination), and targeted resume format. It is optional to use some of these resume formats at the same time to create a layout that distinguishes you the most.
For example, the hybrid resume format uses both chronological and functional resume format. That is, you can list your work experience in reverse chronological order, and meanwhile, emphasize your skills.
Before writing your ICU nurse resume, it is helpful to look at how others did. In this article, we also provide a sample for an ICU nurse resume.
If you are going to apply for the ICU nurse position in several hospitals or healthcare facilities, try to tailor each of your ICU nurse resumes.
For instance, since the ICU nurse position is sometimes under a specific ICU unit, it is weird if a cardiac ICU nurse resume (or CVICU nurse resume) is the same as a neuro ICU nurse resume or a pediatric ICU nurse resume.
Although not every employer requires a cover letter, an ICU nurse cover letter is another opportunity to demonstrate one’s qualifications.
Proofreading is essential for resume writing! One of the crucial characteristics of an ICU nurse is detail-oriented, and an error-free ICU RN resume can prove your attention to detail.
📍 Your ICU nurse resume should include the following sections.
✔️ A resume profile is about one’s personal details and should have:
It is up to you to include your Linkedin and personal website.
🚫 On the other hand, some information is not recommended to put in your ICU nurse resume since they are irrelevant to the evaluation:
A resume headline is a cue to trigger employers to read through your critical care nurse resume. It indicates the most outstanding accomplishments of an applicant. Hence, it is best to list several of your greatest strengths related to the ICU nurse position first and craft them in one capitalized sentence.
Critical care nurse resume sample for the headline section:
📃 Further Reading: Resume Headline｜Examples, Templates, Writing Guide
Since employers do not have so much time on one’s resume, it is thoughtful to provide a summary to outline your most distinguishing achievements. Keep note that a summary should be concise and within two-to-three sentences.
ICU RN resume sample for the summary section:
📃 Further Reading: Summary for Resume｜Examples, Templates, Writing Guide
Your critical care nurse resume will include either a resume summary or a career objective. Both have a similar layout, but a career objective is more about one’s career goal and hence, more suitable for people with no experience.
Example of critical care nurse resume objective:
📃 Further Reading: Career Objective for Resume｜Samples, Formats, Writing Guide
The skill section is one of the most critical sections in one’s ICU nurse resume. Hiring managers can quickly understand the expertise you have and decide whether to call you for an interview.
There are 4 ways to list your ICU nurse skills on a resume: a simple bullet list, an expanded bullet list, integrated with work experience, and a categorized skills section. No matter which method to adopt, remember to back those skills you listed up in other parts.
Sample of ICU nurse resume skills:
📎 Technical skills
📎 Personal skills
Most ICU nurses need at least one year of experience in critical care or nursing. To receive an interviewing chance, try to adopt position-specific keywords to your intensive care nurse resume. You should take a close look at job descriptions to know the skills and personal traits employers expect.
📝Also, remember to provide:
Example of work experience section in surgical ICU nurse resume:
Surgical ICU nurse, Jan 2018 - Present
Lifecare Hospital, Phoenix
📃 Further reading: Work Experience on a Resume｜Samples, Formats, Writing Guide
Education is exceptionally fundamental to an ICU nurse. Most employers require an accredited nursing diploma.
According to All Nursing School, having a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree may land you a job with a higher salary. Hence, be sure to put your educational diploma in your critical care RN resume.
Here are things you need to add in the education section:
You can also include the following information in your ICU registered nurse resume:
Almost every employer states in their job descriptions that a current BLS and ACLS certification is necessary for the ICU nurse position.
ICU nurse is a job that needs compassion and dedication, and the volunteer experience can indicate your commitment and care for other people.
An ICU nurse should be able to shift between day and night and conduct physical tasks such as supporting and lifting patients, pushing beds & equipment. Hence, hobbies like hiking or jogging are a good demonstration of your physical stamina.
Tip 1: Customize Each of Your ICU Nurse Resume
Customization does not mean creating a totally different ICU nurse resume. If you are going to apply for positions under the same unit, say, medical ICU unit or trauma ICU unit, your resumes may be quite similar (even simply replace the hospital’s title).
However, if you apply for several ICU units, it is better to spend more effort on tailoring a medical ICU nurse resume and a trauma ICU nurse resume.
Tip 2: Quantify Achievements on ICU Nurse Resume
Quantified data is more measurable to the employers.
Tip 3: Create an ATS-friendly ICU Nurse Resume
Many large-scale organizations use the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter resumes automatically. A critical care nurse resume with too many graphical decorations is not ATS-friendly.
For instance, do not use charts like Likert-plots to indicate your professional level.
Tip 4: Use Action Verbs in Your ICU Nurse Resume
Action verbs such as “performed,” “coordinated,” and “conducted” can enliven your ICU nurse resume and make it more convincing to employers.
Tip 5: Send an ICU Nurse Resume in PDF
Unless employers require another file format, sending an ICU nurse resume in PDF can prevent any layout change.
It will be a pity if your perfect ICU nurse resume becomes a mess when it shows up on the employer’s computer.
CakeResume is a user-friendly resume builder. People can craft their outstanding resumes and save them as a PDF easily.
Since it takes employers 20 seconds on average to read one’s cover letter, creating well-structured content for your ICU nurse cover letter is essential.
✉️ Here are five necessary parts in your critical care nurse cover letter.
1. Contact Details
Just like your ICU nurse resume has a resume profile, your ICU nurse cover letter also deserves a personal information section. Place those contact details on the top of your cover letter.
Try to search for the receiver’s name and greet them at the beginning of your ICU nurse cover letter.
3. Motivation to the ICU Nurse Position
What makes you want to pursue a career as an ICU nurse in that hospital? This is the question employers are curious about, so answer this question in your critical care nurse cover letter.
4. Qualification to Be an ICU Nurse
This part is your ICU nurse cover letter’s primary purpose - to convince hiring managers that you are a qualified ICU nurse for their hospitals! You can select some of your most excellent achievements and connect them into a compelling story.
Remember to appreciate employers for their time and efforts and using a closing letter in the end.
Please send your nurse practitioner resume and CV in PDF files unless recruiters ask for Microsoft Word files. Transferring your documents to PDF files ensures the resume formatting on different devices like mobiles, laptops, and computers.
Compassionate ICU Nurse with 4+ Years of Experiences Cross-Training in Cardiac and Neurological ICU Units
Mobile: (567) 316-888
Email: [email protected]
Address: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
BLS & ACLS certified ICU nurse who delivered accurate and timely service to both pediatric and adult populations. Skilled in the administration of medicines and IV therapy. Awarded as the Hospital Star in 2018.
Neurological ICU Nurse | Grand Willow Medical Center
Oct 2018 - Present
Cardiac ICU Nurse | Blessings Hospital
Jan 2016 - Aug 2018
BSN | University of Washington
Relevant Courses: Foundational Skills for Professional Nurses, Practicum: Nursing Care of III Adults, Nursing Care of Childbearing Families
2011 - 2015
--- Originally written by Angela Ye ---