A friend who is currently in nursing school reached out to me asking about how to make her resume stand out from the crowd. Everyone takes the same nursing courses in nursing school and everyone completes the same rotations, so how do you set yourself apart without pushing yourself too hard? The physical body can only take so much at one time, so how can you rise above and beyond without crumbling under the pressure? How much is too much?

The bare minimum is to do the best you can in nursing school grade-wise. Get as close to all A’s as you can. Certain job applications require GPA minimums to even apply. Don’t let your poor grades keep you from getting a job. The below are different ways you can add to your plate without burning out:


Join organizations like the Nursing Student Association, Oncology Nursing Society, Tri Gamma, Relay For Life, and so forth. This shows school involvement and adds to your resume. Organizations like the Oncology Nursing Society are free for students. They send you monthly magazines and a certificate showing your involvement.


If possible, get leadership experience in one of the aforementioned associations. There are some roles that are really easy and require little work. Seek these out and add it to your resume!


At the very least, get your CPR certification. Over a school break, get your ACLS and PALS certifications. This adds to your resume and can be done over a school break, this way you are not overdoing it and can focus on your classes…which are your priority.


If you can, volunteer or work in a healthcare setting. This adds so much to your resume. Your shifts do not have to be everyday. Even going one day a week for a couple hours will set aside your resume. Even more of a bonus would be working/volunteering for the span of your nursing school career. This shows dedication, loyalty, and time management to hiring managers.

If you can’t find the time to do this during nursing school, do it on your school breaks. Do not just sit around (as tempting as this may seem). Add to your resume and ease your nursing school load by taking advantage of your school breaks.


By all means, maintain a social life. If you don’t have any time to hang out with friends, this means you are doing too much. Cut back somewhere and prioritize your YOU time.

You can only take care of others if you take care of yourself. If you can’t take care of yourself socially, physically, or mentally then you are doing too much.

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