Resume Tips for Health Care Professionals

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Health care has undergone significant changes in the past 20 years, and health care organizations are increasingly sensitive to cost control and productivity.

Funding sources for both public and private health care organizations have cut back reimbursement and allowable expenses. Your resume must reflect an understanding of these changes. It must show evidence of skills, experience, a commitment to quality, and an ability to evaluate yourself, your peers and your department.

There are different ways to reflect your key selling points in your resume. What is important is creating the right document, written in the right way to get you in that interview room.

Related: Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Get a FREE assessment.

Which Format Is Right for You?

Resume: A resume is preferred for health care professionals seeking positions in administrative or back-office operations. When seeking a management position, reverse-chronological resumes are preferred, as your experience and skills can be evaluated vis-a-vis the organization's own needs.

Hospitals and agencies need qualified people in accounting, purchasing, plant operations and MIS; these departments are usually open to qualified applicants from fields other than health care.

Curriculum Vitae ("Course of One's Life"): CVs are used primarily by people in medical, academic and scientific professions. CVs should have a tone of understated modesty. The professional should list all credentials, but not necessarily boast (as in a resume) about the achievements.

Typical headings include education/degrees, internships, professional experience, awards and honors, publications (books, articles, reports, journals), speaking engagements, conferences and professional affiliations. The length depends on the level of experience -- a CV for a new grad might be one page, whereas someone at the top of his profession might have multiple pages.

Related: Search for nursing and healthcare jobs.

Getting Interviews

When describing your work history and accomplishments, use an abundance of buzzwords or keywords to get noticed:

  • Caseload: If you wish to stay in a similar health care field, elaborate on the type of caseload you've managed, including the number of patients/clients served and the specific challenges your caseload presented.
  • Computer/Tech Skills: Include software and program expertise, especially if it is related to health care. Your technical skills can be listed in a separate Technical Summary section or within the context of another achievement. For example, "developed and implemented patient status/tracking system using MS Access."
  • Continuous Quality Initiatives (CQI): Quality improvement initiatives that highlight an understanding of systems and process analysis, problem identification and qualitative oversight. Keep in mind that generic QI oversight is a normal and expected component of any professional's background.
  • Grant Writing/Fundraising: Money talks, and if you know the language well enough to develop new funding streams, recruiters notice.
  • Operating Revenue: Whether you are a clinician, line staffer or administrator, the size of your budget influences the prestige and significance of your past work experiences. Be aware that an organization's budgets are often available in the public record and can be verified.
  • Program/Service Development and Expansion: In today's health care environment, you expand services or you don't succeed. Speak to costs, revenue, patients served and other quantifiable information.
  • Research/Publications: Are you keeping up on your industry's cutting edge? Employers are normally impressed by a distinguished list of publications. Avoid obscure or unrelated publishing credits.
  • Regulatory/Government Agencies: Include expertise in regulatory compliance and successes with city, state and federal agencies and programs, such as HCFA, JCAHO, Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Training: Confident public speaking and presence count. Have you developed and/or implemented a training curriculum on subject matter in your profession?
  • Transdisciplinary/Interdisciplinary Teams: No man or woman is an island. Note your ability to work with different groups of professionals. Ideally, indicate a successful outcome that resulted from collaboration with others.

Related: For the latest veteran jobs postings around the country, visit the Job Search section.

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