Bad Resume Advice
I read a lot of resume advice. I like to keep up with what
others are telling you to do.
I realized even when I was a new graduate NP that much of
the resume guidance I was receiving was not particularly helpful. I could sense
that it wasn't geared toward the medical professions, much less applicable to a
Even the placement services at universities and colleges
seemed to be a bit clueless when it came to resumes for our professions. This
hasn't changed much. In fact it might be worse now that the online job boards
are getting into the act and have started handing out resume and job search
I can place much of what I read into three categories:
- Ok advice
- Questionable new and trendy advice
- Sad and outdated information
The hardest part for you as an NP or PA is figuring out
which is which. Let me help you.
The majority of the new and trendy advice is not going to
fly in our professions. For instance, the latest recommendation I saw was for
something they call the "talking resume". Near as I could tell, it is an
audible version of your resume. I also read that you should include a photo of
yourself on the back of your resume - exactly how this would work in a resume that
is submitted in electronic format is rather sketchy. But at any rate both of
these tactics should be avoided.
What you as a PA or NP job seeker should understand is that
this type of advice is geared towards people seeking positions in new and
trendy industries such as web development, advertising and some innovative new
business models and it won't adapt well to healthcare. No matter how cutting
edge we believe ourselves to be, you will find it generally isn't going to go
over well if you step that far out of the box with your job applications.
When it comes to outdated info you will read well-meaning advice
about paper choices (hello! 2001 is calling and wants its snail mail resume
Alternate formats seem to be popular topics as well. In our
profession we strongly prefer the chronological format over the functional
format. If you want to impress us please, please don't give us a resume with
your skills in a separate section that is detached from the position where you
performed said skills.
And speaking of outdated, if you're instructed to begin your
resume with an "objective" you should be aware that this advice is soooo 5
years ago. And furthermore, there is no longer any reason to end with
"references upon request". Duh.
I am also still seeing recommendations for those of you over
40 to omit graduation dates from your education because it may give away your
age. BAD ADVICE. Leaving off ANY dates can be a red flag and may disqualify