When writing resumes for healthcare professionals, it is all about quality, competence, versatility, and compassion. As a Certified Resume Specialist in Healthcare & Medical (CRS+HM), I understand how critical it is to strike the perfect balance between hard and soft skills while still keeping the reader engaged. Specialization in a specific patient population or medical discipline will help you stand out. Degrees, licenses, certifications, and other credentials are required in this industry whereas they may simply be preferred qualifications in others. Quantifiable achievements for this field are different from other career paths as well. Instead of highlighting increases in sales, achievements such as growth in patient satisfaction levels, expanded caseloads, decreased safety incidents, reductions in supply costs, and improvements in inspection ratings will make your healthcare resume shine.
Here are a few of my key observations/insights for the following healthcare professionals that I write resumes for on a regular basis:
Nurses: Often a nurse will tell me, “I just did my job,” but after asking the right questions and digging deeper, I will find ample information to include on their resume. For example: filling in as a Charge Nurse during their supervisor’s short-term leave, covering the night shift independently, creating a new way to organize patient charts that increased HIPAA compliance, participating in quality improvement programs, or leading training sessions for new hires. Essential skills to emphasize (and demonstrate with concrete examples) are a collaborative attitude, ability to handle fast-paced and high-pressure settings, and an unwavering focus on patient care and safety.
Pharmacists: The interesting thing about writing resumes for pharmacy professionals is that the subject matter (and overall resume strategy) will differ drastically based on their specific background: retail/community, hospital, mail order, nuclear, etc. A retail/community pharmacist might have increases in revenue to tout, whereas a hospital pharmacist might have participated in committees or research endeavors. Additionally, I have worked with many pharmacists wishing to make a change from one setting to another, presenting the challenge of highlighting transferrable skills and accomplishments that will create excitement for their intended audience.
Healthcare Administrators: Though primarily involved in the business side of things, healthcare administrators should equally show their dedication to profitability as well as quality patient care on their resumes. While they are not performing medical procedures, these professionals are expected to create and maintain efficient work environments for those who do. The specific medical settings they have experience in should be mentioned (hospitals vs. private practices, for example) as well as their ability to liaise between multidisciplinary medical team members, patients, and community resources and navigate the complex and ever-changing insurance landscape.
Radiologic Technologists: Entry-level radiologic technologists (including career changers) are among my most common clients. Quantifiable achievements can be difficult to come by for this role – especially for new graduates – so I will often focus on skills gained and the diversity of clinical rotations completed. In many cases, I will create an expanded skills section to cover exams performed and equipment systems used as well. To supplement that, accomplishments might be earning the trust of superiors to train others and/or work independently, being recognized for consistently producing top-quality images, or receiving personal commendations from patients and family members for delivering outstanding care. For career changers, I will include a brief line in the summary covering their transferrable skills or a separate “Additional Experience” section at the end of the resume to show those skills in action and potentially help the job seeker stand out against brand new professionals.
It may be difficult at first to look beyond your day-to-day job duties, but by asking yourself (or getting a colleague to ask you) those probing questions, you’ll discover the unique skills, qualifications, and accomplishments to include on your resume. Remember: as a healthcare professional you chose your career path for a reason – to help others – so be sure to carry that theme throughout your resume.