When translating a healthcare career’s worth of jobs, companies, and projects to the healthcare resume, significant achievements are often lost in the process. Objectivity can be difficult, and on top of that, many people want to avoid bragging. The sage advice I have encountered in this area is that “it is not bragging if it is true.” If you don’t put forth everything you have to offer on the healthcare resume, how will the HR manager understand what value you offer the company?
One of my clients, a lifelong M.D. and Director of Medical Informatics, had single-handedly managed the post-acquisition integration of two healthcare information systems without a single hiccup in hospital operations. He wrote a single line on the resume: “Performed implementations and system convergences following the merger of two healthcare groups.”
Consider how this phrasing worked against him. It says nothing about:
– the leadership role he took
– the complexities of the integration itself
– the results of the project
– the variety of systems he oversaw (which included information networks, infrastructures, ERP, finance, email, and ancillary systems)
It was a massive undertaking involving 400 people that he planned and executed successfully and that eventually spread out across three bullets on his resume to fully encapsulate the scope of the achievement.
When you think back over your career history, the feats that have propelled your advancement and cemented your status in the industry must be included on your healthcare resume. Specific achievements can turn a bland, generic document into a vital, breathing vehicle that differentiates you and tells the real story of your contributions. We work with numerous clients whose healthcare resumes read like job descriptions. By that, I mean that the healthcare resumes explain what an employee was expected to do in their role. The problem with this approach to resume writing is that a job description is by its nature a generic description of a given position. Any nurse can say on their resume that they “provide compassionate patient care.” If a statement can apply to anyone, what is it doing on the resume? The purpose of that document is to crystallize an individual candidate’s value proposition—what they will bring to an organization that another candidate cannot.
USE SPECIFIC ACHIEVEMENTS
Instead of a universal claim, target specific achievements. I worked with a nurse who casually mentioned that, after more than 10 years in the same hospital, she had never once received a patient complaint. For a resume writer, that sort of specific, unexpected achievement is absolute gold!
If you are a recent graduate or entry-level job seeker, you might need to be a little more creative. So long as the achievement is framed to speak to the targeted roles, it can work. An entry-level RN with a background as a Veterinary Technician was able to use that veterinary experience because, with her new resume, she was pursuing roles that involved working with non-verbal patients. We emphasized her keen ability to observe and assess behaviors and advocate for non-verbal patients (animal and human alike) by including an anecdote about her being the first to notice that an animal in the clinic was having an allergic reaction to a medication, alerting the vet, and playing a key role in saving the animal’s life.
If you are reading this and trying to dredge up achievements without any success, keep in mind that the experiences you have had might be perceived differently by your audience. How the achievement is framed can make all the difference, but the first step is always identification. That is where the question of objectivity comes in. Are you able to honestly assess your own career and determine the highlights? If not, you might benefit from having an objective professional resume writer who can draw out your key achievements and make sure that you are being positioned as an achiever instead of a doer.
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About the author
Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast
Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.
What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.
You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!
I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!
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