The job search is all about making good first impressions. Step one, and one of the most important components in applying for a new healthcare job, is the resume. This document is meant to highlight your past achievements, particular set of skills and a little bit about yourself. But beyond this, the resume is meant to portray you in a way that will catch an employer’s eye and land you an interview. At Radius Staffing Solutions, we know that top medical roles are highly competitive and the need to stand out from the crowd is very important. Here are our list of do’s and don’ts for how to write a resume to make sure yours shines above the rest.
Do: Cover the Basics
You can have all the experience in the world, but if it is presented in an unprofessional way, the interview process could be over before it even begins. Poor formatting looks sloppy and rushed, and reflects badly on the person who wrote it. For example, not having your contact information (phone number, email address etc) at the top of the resume, your name in an unclear font and/or your margins out of line are common errors people make when formatting their resumes. There are several resume templates available online, and different resume formats that highlight different individual strengths.
Reverse-chronological is the most common and usually the most effective way of presenting information on a resume. However, depending on how much experience you have in the field that you’re applying for, and depending on what you want to highlight, other formats may be more effective, such as functional or combination. Put some time into making sure your resume is both aesthetically pleasing and comprehensive, because a professional-looking resume makes all the difference.
“A professional-looking resume makes all the difference.”
Do: Include a Cover Letter
Applications to highly specialized healthcare roles often benefit from a cover letter. Make sure to include one along with your resume if you want to stand out amongst the competition. The cover letter is a great chance to go into more detail about yourself, your background, experience and what you can bring to the table in the new position. It can seem redundant, as a lot of the same information will be on your resume as well, but the cover letter presents your experience in the context of the role for which you’ve applied, and offers more personality as to why you’re interested in it. The individual reading your resume and cover letter has most likely read a thousand similar ones, so try to make yours as original as possible! This is the first thing that they will read about you, so make sure it demonstrates exactly how you want to be portrayed.
Don’t: Include Anything and Everything
You may have had a wide range of exciting roles under your work history belt, but there is a time and place for those to be revealed. Especially when applying for top healthcare roles, there is no need to include irrelevant work history – as it really won’t help your case. Chances are, if you’re applying for a field that has a narrow window of specialization, you’ve got some relevant experience working in this realm. If you don’t, just try to include the positions that you had the most success in, or were at the longest. Usually, listing the last five or fewer relevant positions is sufficient. You will have time in the future to discuss all of your past successes with your future employer, so try to keep it to the necessities on the resume. You want to try to fit your employment history on one page, so there is no need to clutter it up with filler!
Do: Go into Detail & Sell Yourself
Your resume is a chance to showcase all that you’ve got to offer – this is not the time to be modest! Don’t simply list the responsibilities that you had at your previous jobs – go into detail about problems you overcame, things you achieved and praise that you were given. It can be assumed that you carried out the basic duties of your job description at your previous positions, but your interviewer wants to know how you went above and beyond, and how you will potentially do the same in your new position. Listing specific examples of things that you did that made you stand apart from the crowd is not boastful; it is acknowledging that you have something special to offer. You want to present yourself as a valuable member of the team – think about this when describing your previous positions.
“Listing specific examples of things that you did that made you stand apart from the crowd is not boastful; it is acknowledging that you have something special to offer.”
Do: Highlight Education, Volunteering and Certifications
Your resume is like a run-down of all the qualifications you have that will make you a great employee. In addition to your work experience section, there are other elements that should be included in your resume to round you out as a professional. Including an education section is pretty commonplace, but you only really need to include post-secondary and later – i.e., employers don’t need to know where you went to elementary school.
Listing volunteer experience is useful if you don’t have tons of work experience but want to show that you are trying to get yourself out there in some capacity. Try to keep volunteer experience and certifications to the same field that you’re interested in, as resume space is limited, but if you can somehow translate an unrelated point into being applicable to the position that you’re applying for, go for it!
Don’t: Include References
There is no need to include references along with your resume and cover letter – unless it is specifically requested. Sometimes they won’t be requested at all! Once your potential employer has your references in hand, you are essentially granting them permission to call them up. Being bombarded out of the blue with questions about a former employee can be off-putting, so much so that your former employer may not give a good reference at all! Offering a heads-up and letting your references know that they may be contacted gives them a chance to think of what to say when they do receive the call, which will only benefit you in the end.
What are your do’s and don’t of writing an amazing resume? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.