Submitting your resume for a potential position is typically the first impression a recruiter or hiring manager has of you. Having a clear, concise, and well thought out resume is vital for success in the employment market. Whether you’re in the medical field or another industry, avoiding these common resume mistakes will help make the right impression. Our tips will give you the best chance at success when applying for your dream job.
Mistake: Including personal information
Although it may have been previously relevant to include your home address, that is no longer the case. Additionally, your marital status, religious beliefs, or nationality should not be included. It is illegal to make hiring decisions based on those factors. However, implicit biases are real, so it is best to avoid those types of personal details on your resume.
Mistake: Adding social media profiles not related to the job
Certainly, there are professions where one’s social media profiles are relevant to their ability to curate content and present a certain aesthetic or communicate a certain message. Hence, why it is a separate mistake. However, that is rarely (if ever) the case in the medical profession. If you are applying for a clinical or bedside position (as opposed to a marketing position, for example), your social media should not be included on your resume. The only exception to this would perhaps be LinkedIn where the recruiter can get a better insight into your work experience.
Mistake: Having an unprofessional email address
While there is a lot of information you no longer need to include, a valid email address is certainly a must have. However, avoid long, complicated, or unprofessional email addresses. You should opt for a simple variation of your name- first, last, or both if needed. Creating a new email address is free and easy. As an added bonus, if you have an email address simply for job applications, you reduce the risk of correspondence going missing or defaulting to spam.
Mistake: Using an outdated, unreadable, or unprofessional font
Everyone wants their resume to stand out. However, you don’t want it to stand out for the wrong reasons- including not being readable or looking childish because you used a silly looking font. Your accomplishments and experience should be what makes you stand out- not because your resume is hard to read or looks like something a child created.
Mistake: Forgetting that “Less is More”
It’s important to remember that you should focus on content quality, not quantity. Whether the initial review is by human or software, that review is usually less than one minute. Excess information can distract a hiring manager from the most crucial point- how you can add value to their company. Pro tip: Focus on short and concise sentences starting with an action verb, where you focus on your achievements with numbers and percentages wherever possible.
Mistake: Overdoing it with the buzz words or ambiguity
Is your resume filled with buzz words like “strategic thinker,” “best of breed,” “Go-to person,” “problem solving skills,” “hardworking,” “detail-oriented,” “dynamic,” or “thinking outside of the box?” Delete them immediately! Employers prefer specific, tangible examples of how your efforts made a difference. Buzz words or ambiguous statements will ultimately undermine your credibility and, thus, jeopardize your ability to secure that new position.
For example: instead of “charting” try “patient documentation utilizing focus charting.” Or, instead of “hardworking strategic thinker who implemented a new program in just a few months,” opt for “(Project name) went from strategic concept to full-fledged implementation after six months of hard work and overcoming (example 1), (example 2), and (example 3).”
Mistake: Not proofing for spelling or grammar mistakes
Once you’ve reviewed and revised your content, it’s important to review your resume for spelling or grammar mistakes. Even the best writers can overlook a mistake – whether it be spelling, grammar or even an unintentional typo. If possible, make revisions and then step away. Coming back with fresh eyes will help you catch possible errors you may not have noticed initially. It can also help to have someone else review it. Having someone other than yourself provide feedback is always a great idea.
Mistake: Using the same resume for all your job applications
You’re a busy medical professional with limited time. We are in a global pandemic, after all. However, it is important to adjust your resume for each particular job on your wish list. While you may think your skills and experience are universal, there are subtle differences to consider. Take travel versus staff (local) nursing, for example. Some nurses are better suited for travel positions than others. Likewise, not every nurse is suited for a local, staff position. It’s important to tailor your resume to reflect these differences.
Other Don’ts to consider when working on your resume
There are other points that candidates should keep in mind when drafting their resumes. Use personal pronouns sparingly. Avoid using acronyms or jargons (while recruiters and HR managers are in the medical field, they may not be as well versed as those providing patient care). Avoid “salary negotiable” and “references available upon request.”
BONUS: Things you SHOULD do when writing your resume
Don’t underestimate the power of your summary. You should always tailor to reflect the specific position. When at all possible, keep your resume to one page if you don’t have more than five years of relevant work experience. If you feel your experience might be lacking, expand on your education and certifications.
Let’s make common resume mistakes less common
Now that you understand the most common resume mistakes, don’t let them keep you from your dream job. Don’t let these easily addressed faux pas the reason you are overlooked for another candidate. When you put forth a clear, concise, and well thought out resume, you are putting forth the best possible first impression and that’s the best first step towards your dream career.