How to Write the Perfect Resume for a Job in the Medical Field
Whether you’re fresh out of medical school or are in need of a career change, a resume is your lifeline into a new role. The average job requisite sees 250 applications, which means your resume has to be on point if you want to stand out.
Putting together a solid resume may seem irrelevant, especially as a medical professional. But, it offers employers a glimpse into your past experiences, which is imperative for landing a job.
You may really know your stuff. But, you also have to look good on pen and paper to even get considered for an interview. A lot of quality candidates miss out on roles because they didn’t take the time to prepare.
Don’t miss out on your dream opportunity because of careless mistakes. Let’s talk about how to write the perfect resume to land a job in the medical field.
Resume vs. Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Most job requisites specify whether they’re looking for a resume, curriculum vitae (CV), or both. In general, doctors or anyone on the education side of healthcare need to submit a CV. A CV consists of professional and academic work, including research projects and presentations.
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on writing resumes. Most healthcare professionals get by with a standard resume. These documents encapsulate your previous experience and education into one concise page.
It’s important you read the entire description and give them what they’re asking for. If they ask for a cover letter and a CV, but you send your resume, it will make you look careless.
So, start on a good foot by giving their exact requirements. Some will even throw in quirky demands to make sure you’re paying attention. Don’t fall victim to those ‘Make your subject line XYZ’ requests.
Tailoring Your Resume to a Specific Position
You don’t want to come up with one generic resume and use it to apply for all positions. The job hunters who get interviews take the time to prepare each application. Customizing each resume may seem monotonous, but it’s well worth the effort.
The simple reason for this is not all jobs require the same responsibilities. Even in the healthcare field where your role seems cut and dry, you may need to perform additional tasks.
When preparing a resume, look for specific keywords from the description you can use. Does the position call for someone with analytical skills and you have research experience? Put it down.
As a healthcare professional, you’ll most likely look at keywords such as ‘managing caseloads’, ‘research-oriented’, or ‘clinical experience’. It may feel copy-catlike to reuse these phrases, but trust us, it’s in your best interest.
Many job hunters use a keyword matching tool to help sift through the hundreds of resumes they get. If a specific word or variation of a word doesn’t appear, you may not make the cut.
Be As Specific As Possible
Most medical professionals graduated from a college or university, with some clinical experience. So, you need to sell yourself to stand out. Employers appreciate when candidates go into detail about various stages of their career.
Instead of saying, “I worked in an emergency room”, say, “I administered medications, cleaned lacerations, took blood work, etc.”. Most employers already have a gist of the work you’ve done by looking at your employment history. But, being able to articulate that on paper gives you that much more credibility.
Be as clear as possible when referencing work you’ve done that relates to description keywords. This shows you pay attention to detail and have the experience to back up what you’re claiming.
Anyone can go in and say they’ve worked a certain job. But, it takes someone who actually performed the role to disclose relevant information.
What to Include: The Basics
A lot of applicants struggle deciding what is and isn’t important to include on a resume. We’re always told to keep our resume to a certain length, but does that hold true? What if you really do have too much experience to list on one page?
As a rule of thumb, it’s okay to go over a page, but don’t inundate your reader with too much information. You have to decide what’s important to include. This is where tailoring your resume to each specific application comes into play.
If you’ve been in the healthcare field for a while, it could take a lot of space to list all your experience. That’s why you only list relevant information that pertains to the job you’re applying for.
Think of it this way. If you have 10 years on the job as a Chief Nursing Officer, 4 years as the Director of Critical Care, and 6 as a Charge Nurse, does it really make sense to list your year and a half as an orderly? Most employers understand you already have a certain amount of experience that allowed you to qualify for the bigger roles.
All experiences are crucial to your development as a medical professional. But, if you want to present a neat, concise resume, you’ve got to do decide what’s most important.
Highlighting Scholastic Achievement
Aside from job experience, you should also include your education history, certifications, licenses, and involvement in any organizations. If you’ve conducted any research work, make sure to list it. Also, any classes you’ve taught or presentations you’ve done are relevant, too.
When listing these accomplishments, you need to include certain information. Obviously, the full title of your degree and school are important. But, you should also include any relevant coursework that pertains to the job you’re applying for.
If you have any licenses or certifications to include, make sure you list their expiration date. It’s also important to include the license or certification number, as well when you first received it.
Other Assets to List
It may be good to include a little nonmedical-related experience, too, especially if you’re early in your career. This can help beef up your resume if you don’t have much health care experience.
Think of past experiences that will contribute to your success as a medical professional. Most jobs require a basic level of customer service, which you’re likely to have experience in. Skills like this prove you have the ability to work well with patients.
Another asset you should list is if you’re bilingual. If you know a second language of any kind, include that. Hospitals and offices see people from all walks of life.
Having managerial experience is also favored within healthcare professions. Good managers have organization and leadership skills, which carry over well into medical roles.
Skills and Objectives
In addition to having separate sections for ‘experience’ and ‘education’, you need one specific for your skillset. There, you can list things like time management, thoroughness, problem-solving ability, teamwork, etc.
A lot of applicants overlook their ‘objective’ or keep it too generic. You should be as clear and indicative as possible, as these personal statements can add a lot of value.
Specify exactly who you are, (i.e. Nursing Administrator/Licensed Optician/Long-Term Gynecologist) and what you’re hoping to achieve through your resume. You should also mention the company you’re applying for.
Don’t just state that you’re seeking a position. Explain what you can offer to the company, in terms of skill set and professional capability. Do you have any personal achievements you can highlight? Throw them in!
Here’s an example of a well-thought-out objective: “Registered Medical-Surgical Nurse with a track record of providing quality care of up to 8 patients at a time”. Giving specific examples of your expertise is an untapped art in resume writing. Use it to your advantage.
Proofreading Your Resume
Once you’ve listed the important elements of your past experience, it’s time to go back and edit. Some hiring managers would toss a resume that has a spelling or grammatical error.
Proofread for punctuation, capitalization, and the proper use of apostrophes. Spelling is also very important, so make sure you run your document through a spell checker.
A lot of people misuse homophones or words that sound the same with different meanings and spellings. Common examples of this include ‘their’ vs. ‘there’ vs. ‘they’re’ or ‘to’, ‘too’, and ‘two’.
A spell checker won’t pick up on this error, as it’s not technically a spelling problem. To be safe, have a friend read through your resume to make sure you’re not misusing these words.
Maintaining an appropriate tense form throughout the resume is important, as well. Prior experiences you’ve had should be in the past tense, while current roles in the present. It’s confusing when an applicant uses the same tense for all experience, even when they occurred at different times.
Including a Cover Letter
You’ve got a killer resume and now you need a cover letter to really drive your message home. A lot of applications won’t directly ask for a cover letter, but it’s best to include one just in case. (That is, of course, unless they specify to not include one.)
A quality cover letter emphasizes the main points you convey in your resume/CV. It should provide a synopsis of you as a candidate. Make sure this is also tailored to the specific role you’re applying for.
Don’t go over a single page letter; your hiring manager won’t want to read it. Be as direct as possible, and clearly explain why you feel you’re a good candidate.
Use the same header that you include on your resume, i.e. full name, address, phone number, and email. Make sure you directly address the receiver by name, if there is a name listed. Don’t use a ‘Hey/Hi/Hello Mrs. Xyz’- go for a more formal greeting. A proper salutation, such as ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Best’ is also recommended.
Consider Meeting With an Agency
The last tip we’ll leave you with is to consider working with a recruiting agency. These HR specialists usually don’t come to mind when looking for a job in the medical field. But, as with a job hunter in any industry, they provide a wealth of knowledge you can’t match.
Plus, they have connections with employers actively seeking new candidates. They can help you prepare your resume and other supporting material. They can also prepare you with questions an employer would ask during an interview.
They’ve built a reputation among certain employers, so their recommendations are valuable. Some companies no longer post requisites online and rely solely on the help of an agency. It’s likely you’ll find positions you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
Keep in mind it may take some time to find the right fit for you. An agency doesn’t want to just stick you somewhere and hope for the best. But, once the right opportunity comes along, they’ll make sure you’re well-prepared. Oh, and they’ll also make sure you have an incredible resume.
Final Thoughts on How to Write the Perfect Resume
We all know that applying for jobs is a job in itself. It takes a great deal of time and research on both the applicant and employers’ end. But, you do have to put in the effort to customize your resume on every single application if you wish to stand out.
Halo Staffing understands just how frustrating the job search can be. That’s why we offer specialized expertise in the medical recruiting field. Whether you’re looking for a career move or to embark on a new path, we’d love to help you out.
Contact us today and we’ll show you how to write the perfect resume.