Tips for Nurse Leader Resume and CV Writing

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DNP nurse with resume

After earning doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degrees, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) must be able to highlight their years of education and skills in a readable and concise format. A well-written resume or curriculum vitae (CV) and a portfolio can best illustrate the talent and expertise that comes from an advanced education.

When writing a clinical nurse leader resume or CV, APRNs should highlight the years of work it took to get an advanced degree and describe what being an effective nurse manager means. In addition, DNP-educated nurses should consider keeping a portfolio that highlights individual skills and accomplishments. Together, a resume or CV and a portfolio provide a well-rounded snapshot of the leader’s abilities.

“The portfolio does not replace a nurse’s CV or resume, but rather it is the supporting documentation that validates what is stated on the CV,” writer Michelle Clark said in HealthLeaders. “Whereas a nurse’s CV or resume is an overview of past education, employment, skills and other pertinent professional activities, the portfolio provides a detailed look at a nurse’s accomplishments.”

Indeed, anyone seeking a career as a nurse leader after earning a DNP, including a degree from an online DNP program, should create a detailed document that summarizes and showcases career and educational experiences. The first step is determining if a resume or CV is the best option.

Resume or CV — What’s the Difference?

Both resumes and CVs are used in the job application process and to verify credentials, but they have distinct differences. More specifically:


According to The Balance Careers, resumes are personal marketing documents that showcase individual competencies, including skills, achievements, and work experiences.

Resumes are concise with a chronological (listing job experience by occurrence) or functional (listing work experience by skill) format. Sometimes resumes include objectives and career summary statements. Resumes are usually a single page.


A CV is multi-page document that details career history, awards, honors, achievements, teaching experience, academic and scientific research, grants, licenses and publications. A CV can include professional references, information about fieldwork, hobbies and interests and a personal profile page that lists positive attributes.

CVs are generally written in a chronological format beginning with educational experience. Sometimes employers prefer a one-page CV, The Balance Careers said in “The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae.”

Job review site Glassdoor said CVs and resumes each have their place in the job market, depending on the audience.

“While a resume is a sprint through your background, a CV is a leisurely stroll, allowing time to go over many different relevant achievements,” Glassdoor said in “What Is a CV & How Do You Write One?”

American Nurse Today writers Krista A. White, RN-PhD, and Cynthia L. Castaldi, DNP, said a CV is “vital for nurses in all settings and at all levels of their careers.”

“The CV really is all about you,” White and Castaldi said in “Creating and developing a professional CV.” “It documents your accomplishments and experiences as a nurse, and beyond.”

CV and Portfolio

White and Castaldi recommend that nurses follow several formatting and organizational tips for a professional-looking document:

  • Include sections in the CV that are pertinent to individual experiences. For example, a DNP-educated nurse who presented topics to a hospital board could include a section on professional presentations.
  • Always include personal credentials, contact information, educational history and work experience.
  • List the most current skills and experiences first.
  • Keep the CV simple and clean. Use easy-to-read fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial. Do not use fancy fonts or include graphics.
  • Use a professional-sounding email address.
  • Include responsibilities from non-nursing jobs or volunteer work if they are relevant to leadership.
  • Include critical soft skills that relate to nursing leadership, such as critical thinking and conflict resolution.

In addition to the CV, many nursing organizations advocate for all nurses to maintain a portfolio that shows professional growth. Clark, from HealthLeaders, said portfolios expand as the nurse grows.

“The primary purpose of a master portfolio is to document, categorize and showcase knowledge, skills and abilities (KSA); growth; and progress as an individual, a student and as a professional,” Clark said in, “The Importance of a Professional Nursing Portfolio.”

For APRNs who are planning to expand their careers by earning a DNP, either in a traditional setting or through an online DNP program, a carefully crafted CV helps open the doors to new career opportunities.

At Duquesne University, DNP students complete a Doctoral Practice Project, which allows them to explore opportunities for improvements in patient care and clinical practice. Once completed, the project details can be added to a CV.

About Duquesne University’s Online DNP Program

Duquesne University’s online DNP program prepares APRNs to practice at the highest level of clinical leadership. DNP program students work with some of the leading nursing professionals.

The university’s nursing program, which is 100% online, has been repeatedly recognized as a leader in nursing education, most recently as a “Best Online Graduate Nursing Program” by U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, contact Duquesne University now.



The Importance of a Professional Nursing Portfolio: HealthLeaders

The Difference Between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae: The Balance Careers

What’s the Difference Between a Resume and a CV?: Indeed

What Is a CV & How Do You Write One?: Glassdoor

Creating and developing a professional CV: American Nurse Today