Writing a resume is one the most daunting yet imperative task that you will complete at some point in your life. The mention of it being daunting is mostly due to the challenges that many of us face when trying to pen all of our greatness to a potential employer into a 2-3 page document that may not convey the whole story of the qualifications, experiences, skills, and personal/professional development that we possess. Nevertheless, it is a requirement that you can not avoid!
As a nurse leader, one of my principle responsibilities consist of reviewing resumes for interns, volunteers, and personnel and I have to be honest here & say that many healthcare professionals resumes SUCK! Now hold on before you get offended here.... what I mean by this is that many healthcare professionals have so much greatness and value in them and they display hardly any of it on their resume. Your resume can literally mean you getting acknowledged by a potential employer or not. Think of it as a good first impression that you want to make on someone by putting your best foot forward, but you have to do it without you being able to personally talk with them. Yes difficult, I know! But as always, I can't drop a bomb and not give you some help.
So here are 4 tips to help you to Get Your Resume Noticed:
1. Have A Killer Objective- Often times I see resumes that says "To Have a Productive Career as a Nurse". Ummmmm what does that mean? This is normally the place where decision makers will decide whether or not they will even proceed with reading the remainder of your resume so it has to be captivating. Now check out a objective that states " To obtain and maintain a productive career in the healthcare field as a Registered Nurse, with the sole purpose of impacting vulnerable communities that are plagued with chronic illnesses". Do you see the difference and why a potential employer will either say "next please" or "let me read more" .
2. Clearly Define Your Qualifications- More often than a little, people will list the following as qualifications: hard-working, dependable, team player, knowledgable, medical surgical, punctual. Once again what does that mean? Now look at these qualifications: Diversified clinical, skilled and professional Registered Nurse experience; Knowledgeable of ICD-9 coding, medical technology with ability to read and comprehend information to comply with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance guidelines; Goal oriented driven professional with exemplary work ethic and leadership qualities. Do you see the big difference here..... I am clearly sating what value I am going to bring to the organization.
3. Clearly State Job Descriptions- Many times when listing previous work history, a 20-30 word description of the role is given that barely even highlights the amazing skills and value you brought to that organization in that role. So while not writing a whole book, be a little more descriptive in what your role or responsibilities were.
4. Be Aesthetically Appealing- This one is HUGE! It is huge because if it doesn't look professional and polished then nine times out of ten it won't even get looked at. Be sure the the fonts are consistent and basic ( no nice pretty curvy/elegant fonts that are hard to read... good ole Times Roman is PERFECT), font size should be consistent throughout and generally set at 12 pt., have properly aligned margins. And while I know your favorite color may be pink, purple, green, etc. please only use black ink. Remember we are professionals ad want to present ourselves as such.
Nicole Thomas, DNP(c), MSN, RN, CCM