Director of Nursing (DON) Resume Tips and Examples

At any given time, there are thousands of Director of Nursing (DON) positions open across the country in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and CCRCs. And when you're actively looking for your next role, it is key that your resume be in tip-top shape for the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers. Get noticed and get hired faster with these nurse leader resume tips.

What Recruiters Want To See

If you're working with a healthcare recruiting firm to find your next interim or permanent DON role, there are things you can do to make their job  -- and your job search -- easier. Healthcare recruiters view dozens of nurse manager resumes each day, the good and the bad. Here's how you can show your recruiter that you're a stellar, serious candidate:

  • Submit a resume that is formatted correctly. DONs should include work experience, starting with the most recent and working down chronologically,  in this order:

    1. Job title
    2. Facility name
    3. Accurate start and end dates (including month and year)
    4. City and state
  • List your nurse licensure number(s) on your resume. This is especially important if you have a common name (e.g., Jane Smith) because recruiters must verify your license via Nursys before moving forward with an interview.

    When nurse resumes do not include license numbers, recruiters are left guessing and spending unnecessary time finding accurate information. If applying for a travel contract, please also note whether or not your license is compact, and/or if you hold separate individual state licenses.
  • Relevant experience and industry knowledge. If applying for a DON at a skilled nursing facility (SNF), then your experience should align. Whether you're looking for your next job at a SNF or assisted living, it is critical that you communicate that you're knowledgeable about Medicare and Medicaid regulations.

If you're a nurse leader with decades of experience, that's great! However, it is not necessary to include every single position. Healthcare recruiters agree that the last 10  years of employment history is recommended on a resume.

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DON Resume Best Practices
Under the "Work Experience" section, rather than including a laundry list of DON job duties, include specific accomplishments using bullet point format. Three or four bullet points beneath each position will suffice. Remember, use your space wisely.

A lackluster example would be, "Completed daily DON duties and oversaw 50 full-time staff." 

Put power into your resume instead by including tangible successes, and how you achieved them. List metrics related to prevention/reduction programs, such as falls, hospitalizations or UTIs. Here a few things to include on your DON resume:

  • Maintained deficiency-free SNF surveys for three consecutive years
  • Successfully led a team of 46 direct care staff (CNAs, LPNs, RNs) while maintaining an 80% retention rate over the past 24 months
  • Developed and implemented a fall prevention program, reducing falls by 52% over the first six months
Career Advancement - Education and Certifications
Note any additional certifications that you have received to further your career as a nurse leader in long-term care, such as a wound care certification, infection control certification, or DNS-CT, which stands for Director of Nursing Services-Certified.

Keep It Simple 
Recruiters and hiring managers look for clear and concise resumes. As a nurse manager, you don't need to include a headshot. You don't need to add color, or to spend time making the design "fancy." Professional resumes should be easy to scan. As a rule of thumb, include your name, phone number and email address at the very top.

Director of Nursing (DON) Resume Example 
Need a quick example of what a clear and concise DON resume looks like? See the example below.

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Ready to take the next step and find your next interim or permanent DON job?

Visit our Job Board for a complete list of open DON positions across the country.

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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.