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Career Coach

3 Tips to Build the Perfect Résumé

Published January 10, 2017 3:15 PM by Renee Dahring

Have you ever wondered what qualities make a résumé great versus good enough? Submitting a "good" résumé is a gamble; you hope maybe it will be noticed while risking the chance it will be overlooked. Most job seekers would like a bit better odds than "maybe." The difference is that good résumés seek attention while great résumés demand the reader's attention.

I have reviewed thousands of résumés over the years and have created a short list of tips to guide you in crafting a résumé which stands out from the crowd.

Logical organization. Recruiters don't want to hunt for the information they need. In the NP and nursing world, we tend to prefer a traditional format in which information is grouped into categories. We want to easily be able to determine who you are, what your credentials are and what experience and skills you possess. Clinical duties belong under each job (or clinical rotation if you are a student). We dislike when job seekers create a separate "skills" heading and then provide a laundry list of skills that aren't linked to any particular position. We also like to see your employment information organized chronologically starting with the newest first. This way we can get the best overview of your career progression.

Clear dates. Don't bury your graduation dates or the start and stop dates of previous positions into the text of your résumé, making the dates difficult to find. In a great  résumé, the dates stand out and are easy to determine. Recruiters need to wrap their head around where you were and when you were there. And always, always make sure you include dates on all entries in your résumé. Missing or omitted dates is considered a big fat red flag. If your résumé is submitted electronically and doesn't contain dates, it's very likely your application will find itself in a digital black hole. Human reviewers won't be pleased with a lack of dates either.

Customize and tailor your résumé to the position. Résumés that contain information irrelevant to the position run the risk of being passed over. Remember the purpose of a  résumé is to show the employer you possess the skills the job requires-not to tell your life story. It's nice you can do well with child checks and treat STIs, but if you are applying to orthopedics... well, you get my point. Look at the job description and tweak your résumé to highlight the skills and experience you possess that show the potential employer you can do the job.

These three simple pieces of advice will help your résumé stand out and increase the likelihood an employer will notice your application. And when they notice you, they want to meet you.


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About this Blog

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