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Because many employers have online application systems, is the printed resume still necessary?

Monday September 24, 2012
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Dear Donna,

I just took the online CEU course, "Essentials of Career Development," (CE.Nurse.com/web36/Essentials-of-career-development), which was very good. Many employers have online application systems that include uploading an electronic resume, is the printed resume still necessary, other than to present at the interview? Usually, there is no contact person listed to send a letter and a resume to at the initial stages or screening. What would you recommend?

Online RN

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Online RN,

Absolutely, you still need a hard copy of your resume. There are many times you will need it and be asked for it. In a job application situation, you always should bring copies to an interview, as you mention. Believe it or not, there are still employers (particularly smaller ones) that will want you to send a hard copy, whether or not they also ask for something online. Regardless of your past experiences, there will be times that you'll have an address and contact information to send a hard copy as a follow-up to your online application or before an online application is even requested.

Resumes are not just for job applications; they are an important part of professional networking. When you attend a career fair (whether you're actively looking for a job or not), recruiters will ask for a copy of your resume, and you should have some on hand. You want to have irons in the fire at all times. At other in-person networking events, such as association meetings and conferences, you may be asked for a copy of your resume by networking contacts.

Nurses also are asked to submit hard copy resumes (even by email as a Microsoft Word document) for speaking and writing opportunities, consulting and if you run for office in a professional association. Whether you think you'll do any of those, you always should be prepared for anything.

Additionally, online resume submission does not give you the same opportunity to articulate your strengths and experience — and express a bit of your unique attributes — as a hard copy does.

So do invest time and effort into preparing a professional hard copy (or Microsoft Word document) resume to complete your professional package and be ready for anything that comes your way.

Best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://Events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.