Create a Job-Winning Healthcare Resume (& Why it Matters)
If you’re applying for a new job in healthcare, it’s time to dust off (or create) your resume and make sure it’s in top form. Here’s how to create a healthcare resume that will land you the job.
You hear the word “resume,” and it conjures images of black ink printed on white paper, a bolded name in Times New Roman perfectly centered at the top of the page. Just below it, in smaller type, the address and phone number of the hopeful applicant followed by their work experience, education and the all-important “References available upon request.” Yes, it’s every bit as boring as it sounds.
Welcome to the 21st Century, where we have all sorts of options available to us. And we have the internet, and templates, and the ability to tailor every single thing to the individual. Yes, we’re in the era of self-expression, which is great. We’re all for allowing your personality to shine through in your resume presentation, but just know that at the foundation of a flashy and impressive healthcare resume are some key features and crucial elements that set an applicant apart from the pack.
When you’re ready to begin putting your resume together, here are the key components to include as well as an explanation of why each part matters.
Yes, the name, address and phone number are still needed on your resume, even in the 21st Century. However, you should also have an email address as well. Worth noting, though, is the importance of having a professional email address. “As I was preparing to graduate college, and I was sending out my resume to different employers, I wasn’t getting much interest,” says Ashley Haugen, a Nashville, TN-based professional. “My dad asked if he could look at my resume and offer some input, and the first thing he spotted was my email address, which was something ridiculous and unprofessional that I’d had throughout college. So I created a new email address that included my name, and I updated my resume to include it, and I did actually start hearing back from people.”
One more important thing to keep in mind is that in the age of social media, a potential employer will most likely be doing a quick Facebook or Instagram search to get a look at the “real” you and how you present yourself online. If you have some of those racy selfies still lingering around from spring break a few years back, it may be time to delete them. A simple audit of your online profiles is a great way to save you any unwanted embarrassment. OK, lecture over. Moving on ...
Below your personal information, provide a line or two about why you’re qualified for the job for which you’re applying. What are your strongest assets that you bring to the table? Are you warm and personable? Those are great qualities if you're going to be dealing with people. If you're a detail-oriented person, that's great to know if the job for which you're applying requires such skills. Select your top strengths, and present them in a concise but compelling fashion. Keep in mind the importance of navigating the fine line between confident and egotistical. You want to appear capable and equipped to perform the duties that the job requires; you do NOT want to appear like a self-righteous know-it-all who thinks the company would be lucky to snag you.
Next, include a concise, bulleted list of the skills you possess that are directly relevant to the job for which you’re applying. And if the types of jobs you’re applying to differ at all, then you need to tweak this section accordingly. “The more specific your skills are to the job, the better,” says career expert Alison Doyle on thebalance.com. Just as important is the use of verbiage and buzzwords that are relevant to the role for which you’re applying. Demonstrating your ability to effectively “speak the language” underscores your experience — or your aspiration to garner the experience — in the field. If you need a list of relevant keywords to include, do a quick Google search.
Job Responsibilities & Professional Experience
A section that provides hard evidence of your experience in the industry is a must, even if it’s unpaid internships. And while it’s tempting to be flowery and fluffy in an attempt to impress, the better approach is to be succinct and specific. “It’s one thing to note that you were the lead general practice nurse at clinic XYZ from 1995-2003,” says healthcare industry writer Angela Rose, “but it’s another to back up that statement with hard facts that illustrate the significance of the position.” Examples she cites include providing the number of people you may have supervised or managed, specific examples of achievements, etc. “Hiring managers are interested in this type of information,” she adds.
Education & Training
You will definitely want to include a section about your education and any relevant training you’ve had. Be sure to list your undergraduate degree, as well as any post-graduate degree(s) you have earned. Also, include the name of the college or university you attended, your major and the years you attended the school. If there is a gap in between any of your schooling, be prepared to provide an honest, concise response as to why you took time off.
If you have gone through any relevant training programs that give you an edge over another applicant, include that here as well. Just make sure it’s information that is pertinent to the job and/or industry. If you happen to be a certified knitter with the American Knitter’s Association, that may be best saved for another resume.
Awards and Certifications
At the end of the resume, provide any awards and certifications you have received. This is the last 1-2-punch that will knock your potential employer’s socks off. Perhaps you won “Employee of the Year” three years in a row at your previous job. Or maybe you got certified in a highly desirable specialty in which not many people are. Now’s your time to provide one last glimpse at why you’re the shining star in the stack of resumes. Again, though, a succinct listing is needed, not a monologue filled with all sorts of fluffy, feel-good adjectives. Humbly hit the highlights, and call it a day.
Layout and Formatting
When you have all of the needed components of your healthcare resume typed in, it’s time to format it and make it look amazing! Don’t be afraid to bring in a modest touch of color or some lines to divide the sections. But remember that less is more, and unless you’re a graphic designer (which you’re not because you’re applying for a job in healthcare), err on the more conservative (not boring!) approach. If you have a few extra bucks and want to enlist the help of a designer, have at it — I’m sure it will look great! But otherwise, there are plenty of resume templates online that can be found with a quick search that can be tweaked accordingly. Just remember, the goal is to create a professional-looking resume. (Keyword: professional!)
If we’ve left you with anything, let it be this: make sure that you have a solid understanding of the role for which you’re applying. Do your homework, learn what the job entails, and then give an honest assessment of your skills. Include the relevant experience you have in your resume, and make sure you tweak accordingly for each different job you’re applying for. The worst mistake you can make is having one general resume that you send out to every different job. No two jobs are alike, and while your resume may work for one job, it likely won’t work for another. Take the time to customize it accordingly.
When you have your resume in what you consider to be its final form, have a trusted friend or loved one read over it to ensure that it makes sense and is free of typos. And always use spellcheck. Lastly, step away from it for 24 hours, and then re-read it with fresh eyes for one final pass. Odds are high you will spot one tiny something that you want to change, and that waiting period will allow you that opportunity.
The bottom line is this: If this is a job that you really, really want, then take the time and the necessary steps needed to create a solid resume that’s customized for the job. The added effort will be evident, and you’ll be a much stronger candidate because of it!
- “10 Things You Must Have on Your Healthcare Resume” by Angela Rose
- “Healthcare/Hospital Administrator Skills” by Alison Doyle
If your resume is ready and you're eager to get started on the job hunt, check out the great healthcare job opportunities on Relode.