Preparing a resume in the healthcare field is similar to other fields in some ways, different in others. Creating a document that will work for you is a matter of figuring out what clicks within your particular field. What might be necessary for a heart surgeon’s resume may not be necessary for a lab technician. Unfortunately, there are very few rules for healthcare resumes.
The place to start is determining what kind of format is best suited to the type of work you are looking for. In most other fields, HR experts say you should try to keep your resume to a single page or risk having it end up in the waste bin. That is not necessarily true for healthcare. There are some positions in healthcare for which recruiters and HR departments want to know as much as possible. The previously mentioned heart surgeon is a good example. Recruiters want to know all of a candidate’s previous experience as well as continuing education, peer-reviewed research, books written, speeches given, etc.
Once you choose your format, the first heading underneath your name and contact information should be that of relevant experience. Whether you have a single page resume or a five-page document, the most important thing for any recruiter to look at is relevant experience. This experience tells the recruiter you have what it takes to hit the ground running upon being hired. Include not only professional experience, but also any volunteer work or extracurricular activity you engaged in while in school. If it is relevant, it’s important.
You can follow the relevant experience with other work and work-related experience commensurate with the position you are applying for. Obviously, it will not be necessary to list that pizza delivery job you had during your first year of med school. However, anything you did that is medically related should be included – even if it’s just a passing mention with a title and some dates.
What Makes You Different
There is a common misconception that the current shortage of qualified medical workers is causing recruiters and HR departments to settle for anything they can get. This is not true. There are plenty of facilities that prefer to run short-staffed than fill open positions with people who are not the best candidates on the market. Therefore, it is up to the job candidate to present him/herself as different from the rest.
What sets you apart? Why are you qualified for the position you are seeking?
This portion of your resume is your opportunity to list your unique skills, special training or anything else that sets you apart. That one seemingly obscure skill you may have picked up while working in a volunteer program overseas could be the very thing that gets you your dream job.
Education, Training, and Research
Include a separate heading for any education or training you have completed since beginning to practice. This education and training, along with any research you have done, thoroughly establishes the path you are on for your career. This lets recruiters and HR departments know where you are going.
You might also include details about the licenses you hold under this heading. If you like them here, some people create a unique heading either directly before or directly after relevant experience. At any rate, letting employers know the licenses you currently hold is helpful.
There are a plethora of online resources that can help you fine-tune your healthcare resume. Remember, getting a job in the healthcare industry is not a science. It is a lot of trial and error.
Disclaimer: The viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at Healthcare Staffing Innovations, LLC.