Working on Your Resume? Remember the ‘Big 3'
Dear Career Coach: I think I need a professional to write my resume. I have a resume right now that is 8 pages long and so boring it puts me to sleep. I'm sure there is a ton of overkill in it but I'm a nurse practitioner, not a resume writer. I'm not sure what to keep and what to get rid of. My resume goes all the way back to my first nursing job. I just can't seem to let it go for some reason. Maybe it needs to go or maybe it needs to stay ... I just don't know. I would greatly appreciate any recommendations from you.
Dear Reader: It seems that the hardest thing for nurses to do is edit themselves! It may make you feel better to hear that most NPs have a tendency to put too much info into their resumes.
When trying to decide what information to include and what to remove, try repeating this phrase to yourself: The purpose of this resume is just to get me an interview. No one has ever been hired based solely on their resume. This will help put you in the proper frame of mind to begin the process of letting go.
Employers want only one thing, and that is to put the right candidate in the right job. Your resume should demonstrate to the employer that your qualifications are a potential match for the position. Too much other information just muddies the waters and won't increase your chances of landing an interview.
To boil it down to the basics means that the reviewer will be focusing on what I call the "Big 3."
1. Do you meet the educational requirement?
2. Do you possess the correct license and certification?
3. Does your experience and skillset match the job description?
What stays and what goes? Look at each entry on your resume and ask yourself if it is pertinent to the job you are seeking. Prune out information that is not applicable. If an item isn't pertinent to the job you are applying for, then it probably isn't worth keeping on your resume and you can safely let it go. How do you know when you have it right? If a reader can look at your resume and know exactly what sort of job it is that you seek, you have written an effective resume.
Don't get too carried away. You don't want any gaps in your employment, so if a previous position is not relevant do NOT omit it, just make the entry brief. No need to elaborate on skills and duties that have nothing to do with the job you are seeking.
The rule of thumb for how far back to go on your work history is 10 years. Seasoned NPs need only include their NP experience, so that should help you cut down the size considerably.
And lastly, I don't recommend hiring someone to write your resume. The reason for that is twofold. First, you need to tailor you resume to the position. A resume writer will produce a generic one-size-fits-all version and you won't be much better off than you are now. Second, employers often complain that candidates don't seem to know their own resumes. I suspect this is because they hired someone to write their resume for them.