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Resume Tips

A weak and poorly written resume will not get you a job interview.  As hospital management recruiters that specialize in placing Directors, CNOs, and VPs, we see too many resumes from individuals that do not represent the candidate’s qualities and accomplishments as well as they should.  A majority of these resumes are hindering the individual from getting an interview with a prospective employer.  If you would like our expert opinion as to how your resume stacks up against the competition, send it to us and we will be happy to review it as a free service to you.

The only purpose of a resume is to prove to the decision maker that you have the past experiences and accomplishments to qualify for the position that you are seeking.  We would like to share some tips that will help you get the initial interview with the hiring authority by writing a concise yet informative resume that highlights your career achievements.

Do Not Write a Job Description

Most candidates are writing what we call a job description resume.  They are telling the reader everything that they do and very little about their responsibilities and accomplishments.  Most people are writing their resumes in very generic terms which are very boring and non-informative for the reader.  You need to remember that the decision maker knows what a Director, CNO or VP does.  What the reader wants to know about you is what have you accomplished?

Do Not Write an Objective Statement

Most objective statements go something like the following: "I am seeking a position that will allow me to utilize my skills ....."  These statements are coming from your perspective.  The decision maker is reading from their perspective - and they want to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.  

Replace the objective state with a very brief Summary of Skills. *EXAMPLE* "Offering 10 years of Directorship experience in Emergency Room Management; Excellent understanding of patient flow issues; Practice holding staff accountable for continuous improvement, etc ..."

The Summary of Skills statement needs to be brief.  Do not write a book.  This statement should be located at the top of the resume and is the first thing that the reader reads.

See the difference between the two statements.  The first one is what is in it for you and the second statement is what you bring to the table.  Which one do you think will impress the decision maker the most?

You Must Write Bullets of Accomplishments That are Quantifiable

Remember you are writing your resume from the decision maker’s perspective i.e. what is in your past experience that will convince the reader that you have the talent they are seeking.  The most important thing is the scope and accomplishments of your past jobs.  Remember, the decision maker is not looking for a job description.  They are looking for a few bullets that clearly and simply state your scope of responsibility and accomplishments.

Examples for a Director of Surgical Services:

  • Responsible for 8 OR suites with an average of 8,000 cases annually and 3 Endoscopy Suites with an average of 2,000 cases.
  • Maintained OR Operating budget at 3% below target.  
  • Decreased turn over time from 27 minutes average to 20 minutes average.
  • Administrative Management Over the Following Departments: OR, Endo, PACU, Same Day Surgery Unit, Central Processing.
  • Total of 150 FTEs in all departments.
  • Total budget responsibility of $6 Million.
  • Increased patient satisfaction by 25%.

These types of bullets prove to the decision maker that you have the experience that they are seeking.  They show quantifiable statements of accomplishments.  These accomplishment statements let the reader know you have been there and done that, in other words, you can do the same at their hospital and you have a past history that proves it.  Remember, numbers stand out on a resume, use them everywhere you can.

White Space & Why is it Important?

Many resumes are so crammed with information that they are dysfunctional and so difficult for the reader that they are passed over for the easy-to-read resume.  The decision maker is only glancing at resumes at first.  They are skimming to see which ones they want to go back to read later.  You do not want your resume to get tossed to the side. That means no chance of an interview.  

White space is the answer.  Look at the example above, what do you see?  The moment your eyes go to the statements they see numbers and the statements are easy to read quickly.  At a glance the reader can see that this is a person that they will want to learn more about.  The reader is not struggling to figure out what the writer wants to convey.

The average reader will only spend 20 seconds looking at the resume and if you do not catch their attention with meaningful information immediately, your resume may get tossed into the dreaded file 13 (trash can).

Do's

  • Do use white space effectively.
  • Do use bolding only where appropriate, i.e. name of past employers, titles, etc.
  • Do review every word until you are totally confident that you have written a very precise document.  Remember it is a reflection of your abilities.
  • Do convert your resume to a text-only format.
  • Do proofread three times and then have someone else proofread it.  The writer’s eyes will not catch as many mistakes as someone reading it for the first time.
  • Always put your email address and cell phone number on your resume.

Don'ts

  • Don’t capitalize every word on the page.  We see this way too often.
  • Don’t format your resume with headers, footers, or columns or boxes.  Did you know that when you email or post it, the format will not hold and the resume becomes unreadable?
  • Don’t have any typos.  
  • Don’t write a book.  It will not get read.

Remember the purpose of the resume is to impress the decision maker only enough so that they will want to set up an interview to learn about you.  At the same time, the resume can also convince the decision maker that they do not want to learn anything further about you.

The trick is to not provide too much information, but the right information.  Most people make their resume too lengthy.  Remember you are to write your resume from the reader’s perspective.  Decision makers are very busy people and they will only spend a few seconds looking at your resume.  So catch them with short concise quantifiable statements and you will start getting the interviews that you are after.

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