With residencies quickly coming to an end for physicians and graduation swiftly approaching for new nurses, job searching is probably a high priority on a lot of to-do lists. If you fall into one of these two categories, you therefore have a lot of competition – meaning you need to put your best foot forward to stand out amongst your peers.
From letting your personality shine through on an interview to properly following up with your hiring manager, there are a lot of steps to leading a successful job search. But perhaps, the most important? Your resume. “Your resume is your first opportunity to make a strong impression on an employer,” says Adam Bottorff, a Senior Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment division, who regularly helps his candidates revise their resumes. “If it isn’t formatted properly, your chances of making it past the initial application stage of the hiring process are relatively low. Hiring managers can receive hundreds of resumes for a single physician or nursing position, and they don’t have the time to review poorly organized documents – even for the candidates with the strongest clinical experience.”
Now that the job searching season is upon us, it’s time to ensure your resume positions you as the strongest candidate possible. To get you started, here are Adam’s top resume do’s and don’ts:
Do list your experience in chronological order. When reviewing your resume, medical facilities want to see a complete overview of who you are as a healthcare professional. As a result, it’s important that you highlight how your education and training have allowed you to build upon your clinical skillset over the years. Seeing this natural progression will help hiring managers discern if you’d be the right fit for the role.
Don’t include an objective section. If you are in the early stages of your career, you run the risk of hurting your eligibility for certain positions when you include an objective statement in your resume. “Let your background, certifications, and training speak for themselves,” advises Adam. “If you get too specific with what you are looking for in a job, you might inadvertently miss out on opportunities that you could have been an excellent fit for.”
Do list your past responsibilities. Many healthcare professionals make the mistake of leaving out the responsibilities they’ve held in past positions. However, the best way to align yourself with a job that matches your skillset and background is to detail your core duties in brief bullet points. Employers need to ensure that you have the relevant experience necessary for the position and they can’t do that unless they are able to see your previous responsibilities. On a related note, avoid using first person point of view at all costs. Saying, “ I was responsible for x” or, “I accomplished y” is considered unprofessional. Keep it objective.
Don’t list extracurricular activities. When evaluating candidates, healthcare organizations want to see the skills and experience, such as any fluency in another language or knowledge of an EMR system, that would make you the best fit for the job. “Save the small tidbits about your personal life for the interview,” notes Adam. “Instead, use that space on your resume to list a few different professional interests, relevant skills, and professional associations.”
Do watch your formatting. Since hiring managers often only spend a few short seconds reviewing a resume, formatting errors and a cluttered appearance can quickly make them lose interest. In general, your resume should be easy on the eyes and organized so that it draws attention to the right sections. This means your resume should have sufficient spacing, use consistent spelling and punctuation, and be as concise as possible.