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Career Coach

Resume Tip: Skip the "Objective"

Published January 26, 2011 3:50 PM by Renee Dahring
Most of us were taught in the past to begin our resumes witha one-sentence “objective.” The objective statement was meant to indicate to the reader what type of position we were seeking. Consequently most objective statements ended up looking something like this: “Nurse Practitioner is seeking (fill in the blank) position in a (fill in the blank) facility where I can provide quality healthcare to my patients.” Rather dull and, I might add, rather predictable because (surprise!) the objective statement always seemed to sound suspiciously like the job description. 

You can make better use of space on your resume by writing instead a “Summary of Qualifications.” Thisis a short paragraph summing up your experience and qualifications that is pertinent to the position for which you are applying. And when I say short, I really do mean short. Three sentences maximum.

Craft this statement carefully; every word you use should serve a purpose and have meaning. Resume real estate is too valuable to waste on statements that don’t tell the reader anything of value or give them any indication of why they should hire you. Remember the goal of a resume is to get you an interview, so make every word count.

New grads often ask me how they should handle this section.With no previous experience in the advanced practice role they just aren’t sure what they should say. New NPs tend to emphasize their RN experience but this can be dicey because it can suggest that they have some role confusion. New PAs might find creating this statement even trickier. 

My advice to the new grad is to briefly sum up your student experience, but only if you can find a way to make it sound impressive. You can say you did a specific number of total hours in specific settings and achieved certain levels of independence in whatever procedures or clinical areas. 

The statement would go something like this: “Ambitious new graduate (NP/PA) with 1,000 hours of clinical experience in ER, surgery and family practice in a fast-paced environment. Diagnosed and treated 20 patients daily with high level of independence."

If you can’t come up with anything that is worthy of the space it occupies on your resume then just omit this section, especially if keeping this section means it adds an extra page to your resume. 

Questions, suggestions or comments? Email rdahring@gmail.com

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