How to write a job-winning healthcare resume
A 5-step resume guide for creating a resume specifically for applying to jobs in healthcare. This guide covers everything you need to know including formatting, writing a summary, including skills, and creating work experience and education sections.
First impressions are important – especially when it comes to essential jobs in healthcare. Healthcare providers seek out talented professionals, looking first to their resumes to see what a candidate brings to the table. To make your resume compelling to employers, you must focus on creating a well-organized and thoughtful resume that showcases your qualifications as a healthcare provider.
In this guide, we will cover 6 crucial components of your resume to pay attention to, including tips for tailoring each section for the job you are applying for. Keep reading to learn:
- How to choose the right resume format for your healthcare experience level
- How to write a healthcare-specific resume summary
- Which key healthcare skills to select for inclusion on your resume
- What details to include in your work experience descriptions
- How and when to create a dedicated certifications section
1. Choose the right resume format for your healthcare experience level
There are many different types of positions within healthcare – and the position you are applying for effects which resume format will best suit your needs.
These positions include:
• Medical Doctors and Assistants
• Mental Health Professionals
• Pharmacy Technicians
• Physical Therapists
As for resumes, there are two main formats you can choose between for a standard resume: reverse-chronological and functional.
Reverse-chronological resumes are well-suited for experienced job candidates who have enough relevant work history to fill out a large, main section on the resume. This is also the most common type of resume format, so employers will have an easier time navigating this format visually and textually.
Functional resumes take the emphasis off work experience and place it instead on skills, education, certifications, and any other sections a resume may have. This format is sometimes preferred by recent college graduates who may have unpaid internship experience, but few formal jobs to showcase.
PRO TIP: For highly experienced healthcare professionals, consider a CV-style resume. CV stands for Curriculum Vitae and is a long-form resume with multiple pages. If you are applying for a high-level healthcare position, such as an executive, a CV will give you a greater opportunity to list all of your qualifications – including research and publications.
2. Write a summary of your healthcare qualifications
Whenever you write a resume, it is a good idea to include either a brief summary or objective statement at the top of the document.
Your resume summary gives you the perfect opportunity to showcase the best of the best of your healthcare qualifications – and can compel an employer to read the rest of your resume.
Incorrect healthcare resume summary example:
"Healthcare professional with many years of experience working in medical administration and office management. Strong understanding of medical terminology and excellent communication skills."
What's wrong with this example? Though there are some good details included here, such as the candidate’s experience as a medical administrator, this summary lacks specificity. For this type of summary, you want to highlight your best accomplishments and qualifications to help your resume stand out from your competition’s.
Corrected healthcare resume summary example:
"Driven healthcare professional with more than 5 years of experience in medical administration and office management. Highly knowledgeable in managing patient records, medical billing, and hospital expenses. Implemented a new patient scheduling system that boosted patient retention by 20% in previous position."
Why is this better? In this example, the candidate provides specific details regarding their years of experience and the types of responsibilities they held. Additionally, they include a notable achievement of boosting patient retention – thus, highlighting the value they can bring to a new employer.
3. Select key healthcare skills to include on your resume
The skills you include on your resume will ultimately depend on what position in healthcare you are applying for.
Job descriptions are often rich with keywords and skills that the employer wants from applicants. Finding and including these on your resume will not only help you impress employers but will show that you have a close attention to detail as well.
Best hard skills to include on a healthcare resume
- CPR & First Aid
- HIPAA Knowledge
- Customer Billing
- Patient Record Management
- Quality Assurance
- Medical Budgeting
- Data Entry
- Outbound/Inbound Calling
- Urgent Care
- Pharmaceutical Sales
Best soft skills to include on a healthcare resume
- Active Listening
- Compassion & Empathy
- Emotional Support
- Conflict & Stress Management
- Time Management
- Work Ethic
- Attention to Detail
4. Include specific and quantifiable details in your work experience section
As you write out your work experience section, it is crucial to include as many of your achievements and key responsibilities as possible.
You don’t want your work experience descriptions to come across as too bland or ordinary. Using action verbs to emphasize your participation in previous jobs is key, as well as including specific and quantifiable details regarding your achievements.
Here is an example of a well-written work experience entry on a healthcare resume:
Medical Administrator | Kindred Hospital Denver
Denver, CO | June 2017 to January 2021
- Onboarded and coordinated care for more than 200 patients.
- Implemented a new scheduling system that increased patient retention by 20 percent and decreased scheduling expenses by 35 percent.
- Reviewed more than 100 medical applications on a weekly basis.
5. Create a dedicated certifications section aside from your education section
On a healthcare resume, your education section matters – sometimes even more than your work experience.
While you want to include all your relevant educational information – such as your university, degree, and year of graduation – you will likely also have a plethora of certifications to include as well. Whether you earned these through your degree program or sought out additional qualifications on your own, including these on your resume is key.
As for where to include them, it depends on how many you have. If you have between 1 to 3 additional certifications outside of your degree, you may be able to include them in your education section.
However, we recommend creating a dedicated certifications section that goes alongside your education section. This way, your certifications are kept nicely organized without over-stuffing your education section with too much bunched-up information.