Tuesday, March 10, 2015

5 Resume/CV Tips for Healthcare

Resumes and Curriculum Vitaes (CVs) have been around for a long time. We used to use them as a good-faith, honest account of who we are and what we offer in the job market. It was supposed to be an accurate representation of our professional footprint. Now, with the advent of social media like Linked In, we're seeing that resumes/CVs are around simply for verification. It has become a formality really, not so much a function anymore. Increasingly, the job market is more about relationships. That said, every single application you fill out *will* want a resume or CV out of the principle of the matter.

So without further ado....!

5 Resume/CV Tips for Healthcare

Regardless if you are a new grad, recent grad, or seasoned professional, NO ONE CARES about where you went to school, what your GPA was, what you other test scores were, or anything else. There are over 200 PT schools, nearly 2000 nursing programs, and roughly 150 medical schools in the United States. Do you really think that a hiring manager will know every single one of them? Their reputation? How good or bad the program is?


Chances are, unless you went to a big name university, no one will know or care about where you went to school. Rather, they will be more interested with where you did your clinical rotations. This leads us to our first tip:

Tip #1: Highlight clinical experiences.

Once you've established: Hey! I did this and that, worked with so and so with this much experience and credentials for so long. I gleaned everything I could in that time and was seeing this many ranges of patients, you have now made yourself more valuable. Why? Because now, the hiring manager doesn't have to worry about spending exorbitant amounts of time and resources training you on the job. You already got it before and probably just need a quick refresher.

After this, the next concern of the hiring manager will be how best to discern your work ethic, leading us to...

Tip #2: Highlight your productivity.

By showing the manager reviewing your resume how productive you were as an intern, they can basically extrapolate how productive you will be in their clinic/department. For this reason, I always encourage students to fulfill some basic operational goals during their rotations. Namely, I tell them to appropriately request that their CI train them to qualify as an entry level co-worker: "Teach me what I need to know to work here with you."

So, it's getting exciting. You've demonstrated that you rotated at some pretty cool clinics. You've seen a nice range of patients, know how to treat them, and more than that, you treat them effectively, keeping a strong schedule, and favorable productivity. You're a work horse! You will definitely fit the budget.

Now... how do you get along with others? See, this "teamwork" thing job descriptions put on there really isn't about true teamwork. It's about playing nice with others. It's about minimizing the HR headaches that the hiring manager may have to deal with after they hire you... either because you're the problem, or, because other people have problems with you. Therefore.....

Tip #3: Highlight your potential as a good colleague, employee, and coworker.

Now that you've established you know what you're doing, learned from the best, experienced a good breadth of things, are highly productive, AND, know how to be nice in the playground, the hiring manager will now be very interested in you. When you convey, subtly mind you, how much of a team player you are, that you like to help out where you can, and that you know how to respect organizational structure, it is time for you to get the hiring manager truly interested in your personage.

This is a good time to express your interest, angle, and/or investment in your profession.

Tip #4: Highlight your actions in advocacy and extracurriculars.

When I was a director, coming across a resume that demonstrated truly impressive levels of dedication wowed me. It speaks volumes that a student, already struggling financially, is willing to march on political battlegrounds to safeguard the future of the profession. This is what I call a dual equalizer. The types of firms you want to work for will care about your level of professional advocacy and extracurriculars. The firms that you need to run from like the plague couldn't give a hoot.

A student who is willing to be passionate off the job will certainly give full efforts on the job. Speaking of this job, it is a good time to lead into our last tip of the day....

Tip #5: Highlight your career goals.

It is helpful to put down some career goals because some organizations really want to invest in you. They will spend upwards of $20-30k on simply your hiring and training. They want to keep you for at least five years, maybe more. If they like what they see, they may put you on a leadership track. If they couldn't care at all about your future, then you should regard in kind... after all, that isn't the type of place you'd want to work for per se. Knowing career goals helps me understand what I can do for you as a manager, and, helps me understand if we'll be a good fit. If not, its okay. Keep shopping. This, just like Tip #4, is a dual equalizer. Remember, when you're looking for a job, you should be shopping them as much as they are you. As such, Tip #5 could really help seal the deal. If they could care less, why invest your life into such a place of employment?

Just keep in mind, please don't put down "I want your job." or anything to that effect on your career goals. No joke. I seriously had one applicant interview saying that she wanted my job. I had a good laugh. And no, she didn't get the job.

Just to put things in perspective, so far your resume looks like this:
  • Name
  • Graduated from...
  • Licensed / License Applicant
    • Up to this point, that's all the need to know right? Are you graduated? Are you licensed? If they are willing to take PTLAs, great. If not, you may just have to wait. There's no control here on your side, but, it helps them. Helping them, will help you.
  • Clinical Rotation 1: Hospital ABC
    • Rotated with a PT of 15 years specializing in cardiac rehab. Also had experience in oncology, general medicine, ortho/neuro/trauma, and a special focus in wound care.
    • Assisted with scheduling, volunteered to switch schedules to help department needs.
    • Final caseload: 8 patients in an 8 hour shift, average treatment time at 45 minutes
    • Final Productivity: 75% 
  • Clinical Rotation 2: Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, Inc.
    • Rotated with a PT, OCS, SCS, CSCS of 8 years specializing in ACL rehab. Evaluated and treated a range of MSK populations including rotator cuff repair, total joints, chronic pain, and Division 1 college athletes.
    • Final caseload: 11 patients in an 8 hour shift, average treatment time at 30 minutes.
    • Final Productivity: 81%
  • Clinical Rotation 3: Pediatric Super Fun Therapy, Inc.
    • Rotated with PT of 3 years who is the owner in a small town, pediatric practice. Patient variety included X, Y, and Z.
    • Participated in a health fair with the clinic in addition to normal intern hours.
    • Offered to assist in back office duties to learn business aspects of the setting.
    • Final caseload: 7 patients in an 8 hours shift, average treatment time at 1 hour.
    • Final Productivity: 88%
  • Clinical Rotation 4... and so on...
  • Employment History:
    • PT Aide at Therapy Company 1. 
    • Valet at Hotel 2.
    • Tutor at Agency 3.
  • Professional Advocacy and Extracurriculars:
    • Part of this...
    • Part of that...
    • Went here...
    • Went there...
    • Helped raise this...
    • Helped kill this one bill...
    • Volunteered at pro bono clinic...
    • Etc.
  • Career Goals:
    • Get board certified...
    • Do research...
    • Open up practice back in your home town in 5-10 years...
    • Continue with political action...
    • Etc...

What about a cover letter?

This is actually a great place to put Tips 3, 4, and 5. Many times, the hiring manager just wants to see the bare minimum deal maker/breaker section of Tips 1 and 2. The cover letter is a good way to briefly give character to what you may not actually have in true work experience for Tips 3, 4, and 5. Keep the cover letter to something between half a page and two thirds of a page. The more readable the better. This is a good place to brag without getting in too much trouble. But really, this is where you want your personality to shine. Some managers read it. Others don't. It won't hurt to write it, but, depending on the type of organization, I can't promise that it will help.

A quick bit about Linked In and other employment oriented social media constructs:

Make sure everything matches up. Make it clean. Don't worry about how detailed everything is as much as the presentation. Also, realize Linked In will only help hiring managers confirm what they think of you and verify your resume contents. It will not typically tip the scales in your favor. However, if your Linked In profile (or any other profile) is a mess or unfavorable representation, it WILL sink you.

More likely than not, Linked In will be utilized by head hunters and spammers to get your attention. It may be annoying, but its not necessarily a bad thing as it helps you keep a constant eye on the climate of the job market around you. Linked In alerts (as well as Monster and other websites) are quite helpful in supplementing this area of awareness.

It probably goes without saying that EVERYTHING you put out there, public or private, basically is still public. Many companies will reject your application because of something you put online. For many organizations, so be it. For others, it's unfortunate. Either way, just remember that the media constructs circulating on the job front are really more there for your information in regards to the job market at large as much as it is for the recruiters trying to fill their openings' alert.

You need to have it, but its really more of a passive information post than anything else. Just keep it clean, tidy, professional, and up to date... it's a theme ;)

Closing Thought: Your resume is about deal breakers more than deal makers. Keep it simple, clean, and to the point. Make your resume frame you as an attractive candidate, hireable, productive, quick to train, easy to get along with. The relationships you have going into the interview is the deal maker. So very many hiring managers barely even take a look at resumes anymore. Like I said, I think it's becoming a formality than a function. Therefore, just make sure its quick and easy to go through, and, spells you out as a good employee. The real deal is always done in person.

As always, please let me know if there is anything else you'd like me to blog about, or, if there are things I didn't cover that you are still curious about.

Take care!

PS. If you liked this post, you may be interested in taking a look at this very popular post: New Grad Career Strategies as well as the Career Paths and #DPTstudent labels.


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