TIPS FOR AN OUTSTANDING HEALTHCARE RESUME
Healthcare is the largest industry in the American economy. If the trend continues, as reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of jobs in healthcare will continue to rise—and healthcare will remain a great industry for job seekers. Whether you’re already in healthcare and looking to switch roles, or if you’d like to newly join the industry, competition and high standards demand you not only have the appropriate skills and experience, but are savvy enough to market yourself well. There are many ways to reflect your best selling points in a healthcare resume. Below are some key tips.
Choose Your Best-Fitting Format
In healthcare, two types of formats are used—a resume or a CV (curriculum vitae). A resume is the standard for healthcare professionals seeking roles in management, administrative work, or back-office operations. For example, hospitals and healthcare agencies need qualified people in accounting, purchasing, technology, and operations, among others, and these roles are typically open to qualified candidates from all fields. The resume is the format you would use.
A CV is used primarily by candidates in the more academic and scientific professions in healthcare, such as doctors, scientists, and researchers. If you’re uncertain which format is right for you, or how to properly use the given format, you may want to consult professional resume writing and editing services.
Keywords are Key
Most companies, including hospitals and healthcare agencies, now use recruiting management software to screen candidates by searching for keywords when going through their resume database. To increase the chances of your resume matching open roles, it should include the same keywords that appear in the job descriptions. You should also include keywords relevant to your targeted area.
For example, include “caseload” if you serve patients or clients, and “grant writing” or “fundraising” if you’re in management or business development (money talks, and if you can grow new funding streams, recruiters notice). “Quality control” is a standard and expected component of any healthcare professional’s background; “training” is important to include if you’ve developed or implemented a training program on a subject in your profession (this skill alludes to confident public speaking and presence, which matter strongly in many healthcare roles).
Among other examples, “operating revenue” is critical to include, whether you are a clinician, office manager, or administrator, as the size of your budget influences the significance and prestige of your past work experiences. “Program-development” or “service-development” shows your ability to expand the business, an imperative in an ever-growing industry; and healthcare employers are usually impressed by a distinguished list of “research” or “publications,” showing you are keeping up with healthcare trends.
Sell Yourself (Outside the Box)
The typical resume strategy of listing your responsibilities will certainly not harm your chance of landing an interview, but it may not work in your favor either. As the authors of a book on expert healthcare resumes note, it is crucial to also sell yourself through your resume by describing actual benefits and results of your accomplishments. But don’t limit yourself to just on-the-job attributes.
As Donald McCoy, a radiation therapy program chairman observed, clinical experience is not the only way applicants can demonstrate knowledge of their profession. “Even medical experience outside the field is important because it indicates the motivation and temperament of the applicant. And volunteer work and shadowing experience indicated on your resume is a plus.”
Mr. McCoy also suggests listing technologies, machines, and procedures not typically used in healthcare. Volunteering or participating in a community organization or external patient support group helps you stand out as someone who goes above and beyond, and truly wants to help people.
In addition to the nuts and bolts of the resume, it could be beneficial to include a section for your interests and hobbies—especially if they can be seen as enhancing your healthcare work. The person looking at your resume can infer a lot about you through your activities.
Are you an avid runner? The drive, discipline, and dedication this endeavor takes can be readily applied to any challenging healthcare role and recognized by recruiters. Do you fly planes, rock climb, or sky dive? If so, your ability to think on (or off) your feet and make accurate decisions under high-adrenaline situations lends itself well to emergency room or EMT work, trauma care, and other high-stress urgent care roles—a point not to be missed by employers.
Ever played team sports? “Participation in competitive athletics indicates a winning mental set that supports success,” says recruiting executive Sally Haver. “Getting to be an expert in any physical activity requires putting in the time, practice, dedication and skill-honing [which] translates directly into your work ethic on the job.”
If you’ve written an article for a publication or given a presentation or speech, include it. “A nurse who has given a presentation on something like emergency prenatal care will stand out from her or his peers. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone who has a publicized area of expertise?” observed healthcare recruiter Karen Riley.
In a rapidly changing, highly regulated industry like healthcare, you resume should demonstrate that you’re current with relevant technologies, policies, and practices, and that your credentials are up-to-date with the job description. You may need to reevaluate your career training to ensure you have the necessary skills for the position (which may have changed since your last job search), and you may need new certifications or licenses to get the job you want.
In short, when considering what to include on your healthcare resume, be sure to avoid overlooking your achievements that can make the difference between you and the next candidate, and create a resume or a CV that will highlight how your skills—and who you are—will benefit the specific role.
Whether you’re reentering the work force after a long absence, transitioning to a new career, or making your mark in your chosen industry, the certified writers at ResumeEdge can help. We specialize in resume editing, resume writing, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and interview coaching through our JobInterviewEdge services. Our writers are skilled in 40+ industries and have decades of experience.