HospitalJobs.com shares tips on what to include in a resume, how to describe work experience, and proofreading ideas. With over two decades of experience, our top recruiters have been closely following the trends in the medical industry. When applying online for a hospital job or health care position, it’s important to submit a great resume along with the online application.
What hospital hiring managers look for in a resume
Your resume should list the qualifications needed for the job, and make it easy for the hiring manager to see you in that role. Often, the HR Department screens out potential candidates who do not have the core skills listed on their resume.
- Getting started
At the top, your resume should list your current contact information. Include your name, phone number, and email address.
Use a standard font such as Arial, Calibri, Verdana, or something similar with 10 and 12 point size. As a general rule, you should use the same font and font size that you use in your cover letter.
For most resumes, keep it to one or two pages. If your resume is longer, consider if everything you’ve included is necessary.
- Grab attention
After your contact information, begin your resume with a headline or summary statement clearly highlighting your most relevant qualifications. This short description (one to three sentences) should advertise your skill set and professional goals. Expand on your qualifications deeper in your resume and in your cover letter.
For example, a medical receptionist with a track record of customer satisfaction might write: “Medical front office professional with 3+ years of experience in patient customer service”.
Similarly, an experienced medical assistant could write: “Certified medical assistant with 12+ years in direct patient care”.
Headlines can also be followed by a slightly longer summary of your skills and career goals. Examples include:
- Headline: Medical front office professional with 3+ years of experience in patient customer service.
- Summary: Experienced in resolving patient concerns via phone, email, and face to face; routinely recognized by management and peers for excellent service.
- Headline: Certified medical assistant with 12+ years in direct patient care.
- Summary: Extensive experience in charting, scheduling and delivering excellent patient care. Vast knowledge of clinical procedure and medical terminology. Looking for new opportunities in hospital or private practice.
- Headline: Aspiring hospital medical records professional with RHIT certification.
- Summary: Registered Health Information Technician with excellent written and verbal communication, pursuing entry-level roles in hospital medical records.
- Show outcomes from your work experiences
The bulk of your resume should focus on your work experience. List your past jobs in chronological order, from most recent to oldest. Bold your previous titles, add employers with locations, and make sure dates of employment are accurate.
Take time to explain how you excelled in the position. Use action verbs; give specific examples and include as much quantifiable data as possible. For instance, instead of simply saying “Responsible for overseeing hospital department” show the value of your work by including the following type of details: “Department Nurse Manager overseeing a six-person team responsible for # patient visits per month”.
Listing out your experience is not as simple as writing down everything you’ve done in your career. Instead, you want to only include the details of your past positions that are especially relevant to the work you want to do next.
Follow these guidelines to list out your work experience so employers can quickly understand your background:
- Use bullet points rather than paragraphs. Writing out your experience in a list has the double benefit of using fewer words and making it easier for employers to read.
- Lead with strong action verbs and follow with an accomplishment rather than a task. Employers are interested in what you’ve achieved, not just what you’ve done. What’s the difference between an accomplishment and a task? Here are a few examples:
Task: Greeted patients
Accomplishment: Provided friendly and helpful service by greeting patients
Task: Took patient vitals and updated charts
Accomplishment: Performed routine clinical procedures while ensuring patient comfort and updating charts via an EMR system.
- Include more details about your most recent jobs and fewer details from roles you held earlier in your career. If you have many years of experience, it’s reasonable to only include information from the last 10 to 15 years. Employers are most likely to be interested in your current accomplishments.
- If you can, fill employment gaps with other experiences such as education or freelance work. If you took classes, earned any certifications or volunteered during the time you weren’t formally employed, fill those gaps. If you worked on personal projects or as a freelancer, put “Self-employed” where you would otherwise list an employer. The same guidelines about how to write out your accomplishments apply here, too.
- If you have positions that have short lengths-of-stay, add a “Reason for leaving” explanation at the end. An example would be “Reason for leaving: per diem role; accepted a permanent position.” or “Reason for leaving: night shift position that did not transition to day shift as planned.” or similar.
- What to include in the education section
Education is commonly listed at the end of your resume. Exceptions to this may be if you’re a recent graduate and you are looking for your first relevant position based on your education.
In the education section of your resume, list all of the relevant degrees or certifications that make you qualified for this job. If you have attained a degree, list your degree type and field of study followed by the name of your educational institution and the city and state. List honors, if you have them. You don’t need to include your GPA, especially if it’s under 3.5. Unless you’re a recent graduate, you don’t need to list your graduation date. For example:
University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ
A.A.S. in Cardiac Sonography
Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs, CO
Honors: Dean’s list
If you have multiple degrees, list your highest level of education first.
If you are currently in a program of study, you can list the degree you’re pursuing and your expected graduation date. If you’re still in school and applying for internships, potential employers may want to know your GPA. For example:
B.S. in Computer Science, degree anticipated May 2020
Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs, CO
- Showcase your skills
List the skills you have that make you qualified for the jobs to which you are applying. Employers will indicate the skill sets in their job descriptions, so match these in your resume.
In general, there are two types of skills: soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills include things like interpersonal communication, organization, or attention to detail. Hard skills are more often tied to specific tools, software, or knowledge. Hard skills will vary by industry or job type while soft skills tend to be more universal.
You can list your skills in a single paragraph with each skill separated by a comma. Start with the skills you’re most proficient in.
Include any specialized talents, such as foreign language fluency, as it could give you an edge in getting an interview. Likewise, list any awards or recognitions that you’ve received, especially if relevant to the position.
If certain hobbies or personal interests are relevant to the position or company, be sure to include them. Otherwise, feel free to leave these off.
- Include keywords
Many hospital human resources departments will scan resumes and cover letters looking for the keywords from their job postings. The key to writing a resume that gets through their filter is to use words and phrases that match their job listing. Update your resume for each job you apply for, tailoring it to highlight your most relevant work experience. Following the employer’s lead on keywords also shows that you pay attention to detail and that you understand how to write a resume tailored to the specific job.
- Proofread your resume!
After taking the time to write a great resume, PROOFREAD! One simple mistake could end your chances of being considered for an interview. A hospital recruiter who has many resumes to review will not be impressed with a typo. Proofread your resume for spelling and grammatical errors. In addition to running spell-check, reread your resume from top to bottom and then from bottom to top. Another good idea is to ask a friend or family member to read it as well. A pair of fresh eyes can find mistakes that are easily overlooked by the writer.
As the need for professional talent grows, employers want to hire people who are able to make an immediate impact. The right job applicants understand their industry inside and out and have a track record of showing initiative. Knowing how to write a resume is the first step in proving to a hiring manager that you fit the bill and deserve an interview.