Work on your nursing CV in the holidays, reflect on your past year in nursing and update your CV with key nursing competencies. It will help you when you’re looking for a new nursing job. About Matt Farrah - follow me on Google+

It’s a common misconception that a nursing CV doesn’t need updating until you’re looking for a new nursing job, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. A frequently updated CV is going to give a more inclusive and fuller picture of your key nursing skills and career progression. It’s who you are as a nurse that will get you the nursing job you’re going for, and it’s easier to be convincing and confident when you have the evidence in front of you in your CV.

Your nursing CV is above all a record of your achievements in your nursing career, and the end of a year is the ideal time to reflect on your progress and professional development, especially if you haven’t already updated it at least once in the year! The more nursing experience you have, the more previous jobs can take a back seat, so it's good to move the emphasis to your current nursing role and leave any previous jobs or career lower down in your CV.

How to update your nursing CV

Start by listing your current job responsibilities, professional development qualifications, key nursing competencies, and career ambitions in a separate place to your CV. It’s easier to brainstorm on a separate document, whether that's on a computer or an A4 pad, because there’s no pressure to get everything in exactly the right order to start with. Then compare the list with your CV as it stands. This will help you identify the areas that you’ve progressed in, and what information you need to add.

Details about your job responsibilities are some of the most important you can include on a nursing CV. Combined with your current job title, they immediately tell the employer if you’re experienced and qualified to do the nurse job you’re applying for. If you’re already working in the UK it will also tell the employer that you are NMC registered and eligible to apply for their nursing job.

Current and previous nursing jobs

Comparing your current and previous job roles will help show how you have developed as a nurse, and how much more skilled you are now. You don’t need to embellish this section with anything that isn’t accurate, but I expect that as you think through everything you do in a day, week and month, you can find more than enough to show you’re a brilliant nurse. If you've recently been promoted or changed jobs it's a good idea to give some detail about how you have progressed into this new opportunity.

Make the most of your nursing competencies

Professional development is a key part of progressing your nursing career, and it should also be near the top of your nursing CV. This is section usually relates to key competencies as well, and it should list the title and the date of each professional development activity. If you have room to write a short description of each achievement and what it has enabled you to do in your current nursing job, that’s definitely beneficial. If you need to add more detail to this section, you can, by giving a short insight into the professional development you have planned for the immediate future and where you think this might lead your nursing career.

Just by adding a few recent details about your current nursing job and career achievements, you can greatly improve your chances of getting the nursing job you’re applying for. The disadvantage of only updating your nursing CV when you’re applying for a new job is that the small details and extra responsibilities you have undertaken tend to get overlooked, when they could be the key to making your good CV a really great one.