Top Healthcare Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Top Healthcare Resume Do’s and Don’ts

On average, potential employers only spend about six seconds reviewing a resume. Because of that, making a good first impression is more crucial than ever. We’ve compiled a list of fundamental healthcare resume do’s and don’ts that will take your resume to the next level and set you up for success.


Include relevant experience

It may be tempting to include every experience you’ve ever had on your resume, but including only the most relevant ones will make your resume stand out to employers. A good approach to making sure you’re staying relevant is to read through and highlight the key skills and experiences in the job description and match them with your own. Don’t forget to include any relevant publications, licenses or certificates, and awards. Be sure to pay special attention to important keywords so that you can highlight them in your resume. This will ensure that your resume gets past those pesky screening algorithms that scan your resume for relevance. Your goal is to communicate to the employer that you are the best candidate for this specific role.

Pro tip: Consider adding a summary statement. In a few sentences, give a broad snapshot of your skills and experience and how they tie together to make an impact in healthcare-specific to this role.


Send in the same resume for every position

If you think you have the perfect standard resume for every position, you’re wrong. Because your resume is just that, standard. As a job seeker, you want to make sure your resume stands out so you can increase your chances of getting a callback. Employers can typically tell when they receive a generic resume that was not tailored to that role which more than likely will make a bad first impression. Although this process can be time-consuming if you’re applying to multiple positions, it will be well worth the investment since you’re increasing your chances of getting a callback. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity.

Pro tip: Even if you’re applying for the same type of position, like an ICU Nurse, for example, find ways to tie in the mission of the healthcare entity into your resume summary and/or cover letter to make it more relevant.  


Be organized

Just like a treatment plan, you want your resume to be organized. Make sure the information you have listed is relevant and in chronological order. For example: if you’re a recent graduate, you may want to add your education at the top. Whereas if you’re a seasoned professional, starting with your work experience would be more appropriate. Remember that the details matter. Misalignment of bullet points, margins, or titles can reflect poorly on you. Follow the same format for each aspect of your resume throughout the entirety of the page. Ending your bullet points with or without a period is up to you, just be sure to keep it consistent throughout. Also, try to include the most pertinent information in the first few bullets of any job description. A clean resume makes it easier for the employer to get to the relevant information they need as quickly as possible.

Pro tip: Send your resume in PDF format to avoid any possible formatting issues when the recruiter opens the file.


Forget to proofread

The majority of hiring managers will immediately reject a resume if they observe any spelling or grammatical errors. Proofread, proofread, proofread. And when you’re done, send it to a friend to review. Yes, it’s that important. If you’re a student, make use of your school’s career counselor who will typically review these types of documents with you. Online free writing tools like Grammarly will check for grammar and punctuation mistakes in your text and provide real-time suggestions on how to correct them.

Pro tip: LinkedIn will compile information from your profile and make it into a paper resume. Just click the “More” button and “Save to PDF”.


Include a cover letter

Many people dismiss a cover letter as something that’s just optional (often because it’s presented to you that way on a job application), but if you’re trying to stand out from the rest of the candidates, it’s an absolute necessity. As far as I’m concerned, a resume is incomplete without an accompanying cover letter. Remember how we mentioned how important tailoring your resume to the specific job is? Well, a cover letter allows you to expand on those specifics by allowing you to make a solid argument as to why you’re the best candidate for that role.

Pro tip: Some LinkedIn digging can help you find out who the hiring manager is (if it’s not already listed on the job description). Direct the cover letter to them for a personalized touch and to show that you’ve done your research.



Being on the job hunt can get stressful, but taking the right steps to be prepared can help ease some of that tension. You want to put your best foot forward as a confident and capable applicant and be able to translate that attitude onto paper. Practicing mindfulness is an effective way to manage stress by embracing the present moment.

Pro tip: My colleague put together some tips on mindfulness. Check out her facts, benefits, and tips on how to start practicing.  

There’s tons of advice online about how to put together the best resume. Although there’s no one size fits all approach, following these fundamental guidelines can ensure that your resume is in tip-top shape for a potential employer.

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About the author

Hajar Ahmed

Hajar Ahmed is a healthcare professional with a background in public health policy and management. She’s passionate about reducing health disparities and helping to implement wellness practices in everyday life. When she’s not off on a new travel adventure or cooking up a storm, she’s reading, writing, and talking healthcare.

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