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Career Coach

Resumes: Electronic vs Hard Copy

Published January 13, 2010 1:33 PM by Renee Dahring
One of the most frequent questions I am asked pertains to "hard copies" of resumes. NPs often wonder if after sending their resume via e-mail or after attaching their resume to an online application if I recommend also faxing or snail mailing a hard copy.

There is a certain amount of nervousness that seems to accompany the electronic method of submitting resumes. For some job seekers it just doesn't seem complete. This phenomenon isn't unique to NPs; I see this question posed to recruiters in other disciplines and professions as well. However, my advice is going to differ from what they usually say.

It's been my experience that when an ad or job notification asks you to submit your information electronically they really do mean to send it electronically. In other professions, mainly business, it seems that it's OK that applicants send a "hard copy" of their resume as follow-up to the digital copy. This is where our profession is unique.

Most feedback I get from HR and recruiters in the medical world is that if they want a paper copy they will ask you for one. Some even go so far to say that they find the faxed or mailed copy to be rather irritating.

HR specialists and recruiters deal with large volumes of information, and the vast majority of them are coping with this task digitally. Adding paper to the mix will feel like a huge step backward to them and may get you crossed of the list. Worst case scenario they assume you aren't comfortable with technology thus not suited for the job, best case scenario your resume ends up in the recycle bin and no one ever sees it.

I can't claim this is true for every single instance -- I'm sure there is some clinic or hospital out there that doesn't mind the paper shuffle. But speaking generally, it's really best to do what the job posting asks you to do. If it says send it via e-mail, then do it that way. If they want an e-mail attachment, then that's what you ought to send. Likewise if it says no calls, then don't call.

In our current economy most job openings have high numbers of applicants and are highly competitive. Do you really want to be the one who stands out because you failed to follow directions? ... I didn't think so.


Hi Ruth,

The first order of business is for you to get your certification updated.  If a refresher course is not required to recert I would still strongly recommend you consider taking one.  The competition is quite fierce out there and you want to stand out from the crowd.  Your main competition will probably be new NP's who will have had recent clinicals and classes.  If you aren't able to do a refresher course see if you can find a personal mentor to shadow.  That is one way of increasing your clinical knowledge while making some good connections.  

Renee Dahring February 20, 2010 8:22 PM

I would like some advice as to how I should proceed with my career.  I have been an RN for over 30 years and received my Masters Degree and Geriatric Nurse Practioner in 1993 at Stony Brook University. I have not worked as a GNP but rather had Director jobs in hospital based home care agencies. I have now relocated and would like to use my GNP but I need to update myself in this area. I was certified by the ANA but I let that lapse in 2004.  Would you be able to advise me as to how I should proceed. I love learning and I am very motivated.

Ruth, Home Care - GNP, Brookhaven Hospital January 29, 2010 11:40 AM
Patchogue NY

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About this Blog

    Occupation: Nurse Practitioners and NP Recruiters
    Setting: correctional healthcare/career consulting/teaching
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