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How do I prepare my resume for a change in specialty?



Dear Donna,

I have been working as a research nurse for 15 years and am ready for a change. I’m interested in quality improvement, case management or nursing informatics. How do I prepare my resume for this change?

Ready for a Change

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Ready for a Change,

You don’t need to customize your resume for a specific specialty track in nursing. Your background in research and nursing are perfectly suited to all of the things you mention, and more. You can point out certain specific skills and background related to a particular position in a cover letter, such as organizational skills, detail-orientation, familiarity with protocols and reports and chart review.

To maximize your experience on paper with your resume and learn to create a cover letter where you can tailor your background to specifics of various positions, I suggest referring to “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of your Career” (

Because you are ready for a change, attend nursing career fairs, professional association meetings (even as a guest), and healthcare conferences and conventions. Networking is a great way to explore options and find a job. Also, it will help you to “test the waters,” hone your networking and self-marketing skills and make valuable professional contacts.

Best wishes,


About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is’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 and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit

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