Nurse Keith: Four Essential Tools for Your Nursing Career Toolbox

Nurse Keith: Four Essential Tools for Your Nursing Career Toolbox

When preparing to graduate from a nursing program and launch into the next iteration of your career, there are tools to help you maximize your potential in the professional marketplace.

Whether you’re earning your first nursing degree or a second or third degree, being prepared for the next chapter of your career is paramount.

If you’re resting on your laurels with a BSN and are now earning your MSN, it’s time to take a deep look at the tools you’re using to interface with colleagues and potential employers. If nursing is an entirely new adventure for you, it’s time to re-examine how you approach your professional development.

1 – The resume

Online applications are common, but uploading a resume is still common practice, so make sure your resume is up to snuff. Understand that resumes have changed over the years; keep your resume current and in tune with the times.

If you’re unsure how to write an effective resume, invest in a career coach or resume writer who has experience in healthcare. Remember that you’ve shed a great deal of blood, sweat, tears, and money to earn your degree; a small investment in a top-notch resume is a solid strategy for success.

2 – Cover letters

A weak cover letter can greatly reduce your chances of landing an interview; an effective cover letter enhances and draws attention to the most important elements of your resume. Again, a small investment in professional assistance with crafting cover letters will boost your standing. 

3 – LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the largest online professional network, and its purchase by Microsoft early in 2016 cements its relevance. Many employers Google applicants when deciding on whether to offer an interview, so a strong LinkedIn presence is a smart move for every professional.

Other than creating a profile that serves as your personal professional website, LinkedIn offers the ability to connect with your colleagues in meaningful ways. Learn how to optimize your use of LinkedIn for the benefit of your professional growth and networking efforts.

4 – A business card

Every professional (and student!) should have a business card. If you have one from your current workplace, this doesn’t preclude having your own; a business card is small but powerful professional real estate whose importance should not be ignored.

Your business card can be simple, and should be two-sided to maximize available space. The front contains your name, credentials, telephone number, email address, and personalized LinkedIn profile URL; the back includes a bulleted list of your greatest attributes or skills.

You never know where your business card may end up: in a purse, a wallet, or someone’s desk. This small reminder may jog a connection’s memory and cement you in their awareness as a savvy professional.

Your career toolbox

There are other tools that belong in your career toolbox, but these four will launch you well on your way towards having a strong professional presence. Hone your tools, showcase yourself, and carve your place in the professional nursing ecosystem. 

Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC is a holistic career coach for nurses, award-winning nurse blogger, writer, podcaster, speaker, author, and popular career columnist for With two decades of nursing experience, Keith deeply understands the issues faced by 21st-century nurses. Keith’s two podcasts, RNFM Radio and The Nurse Keith Show, offer inspiration and practical support to nurses seeking to create meaningful, satisfying lives and careers. Keith’s message of savvy career management and professional satisfaction reaches tens of thousands of nurses worldwide. He can be found at

Empower yourself with knowledge through an online RN to BSN or RN to MSN degree. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case managementinfection control, and executive leadership.


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