Make Your Healthcare Resume Stand Out

Healthcare is the largest industry in America. Access to healthcare is growing and jobs are continuing to rise in the medical field. While there are good resume writing habits that transcend industry, creating a resume for a healthcare job requires an extra level of attention to detail than most. You probably have a long list of certifications, research, professional groups, and more to highlight.

Generally speaking, if you’ve been working in the industry for a couple years, your resume should be two pages long. That is normal for healthcare professionals. If you are fresh out of college or are seeking administrative work, your resume shouldn’t be more than one page long. Getting a job in this industry can be tough. However, a strong, clean resume will help make you stand out from others – regardless of what’s included in the body.


Use bullet points. Chances are that your potential future employer will be flipping through resumes all day. You want yours to be organized and easy to read from the top to the bottom of the page. Don’t get crazy with italics or bolded words. You should bold each block of your resume – skills, education, certifications, etc. You can italicize your job titles if you think your experience needs to stand out a little more. Times New Roman is usually preferred because it is easy to read. Never use a font size less than 10.

Now, let’s discuss the order of the resume. It is entirely up to you how you decide to format it. There are two recommended ways to organize your resume listed below. Figure out which resume layout best suits your experience and go from there.


  • Chronological Resume: Header, education, experience, skills/certifications, activities or professional affiliations, and references.

This is the most common format for resumes in every industry. It has an easy flow and tells more about you the more you read. If you have a strong educational background, this is an ideal resume because it is listed at the top of the page. If you are applying for an entry-level position and don’t have a lot of experience yet, this also might be the one for you.


  • Functional Resume: Header, skills/certifications, education, experience, activities or professional affiliations, and references.

The functional resume is great because it immediately shows the employer what you can do. Then, it leads into where you acquired your skills. All the extra and less-important information is left at the bottom. This resume is ideal for the candidate who has a vast skillset or valuable certifications.


Write your name at the top of your resume. Make sure to include your full title. Employers should have an easy time telling who you are. Below your name, list your contact info (address, phone number, professional email address, and website if you have one). Avoid writing an objective statement. This used to be recommended; however, objective statements are widely considered to be outdated now. The employer already knows what position you are applying for, and most of the time, you will be asked to write a cover letter. Save a discussion of your goals for your cover letter.


Read the job description and find the big keywords that stick out to you. Make those keywords fit into your resume. Most big employers don’t see all the applicants because they filter through a recruiting system first. The system looks for keywords to find the more applicable candidates. You can have a strong resume, but it doesn’t mean anything if you never make it past a computer. If you want to increase your odds of getting to meet another human being, make sure that your resume has keywords that are relevant to the position.


List any certification you have. Remember, keywords! Make sure you list any certifications that the job posting specifically mentions, as well as any others that are relevant to the position. If there is a certification you are working towards that you haven’t finished yet, put it down. Just make sure you include an expected completion date.

Be specific

If you are a nurse, for example, your employer will want to know which floor you worked on. Working in the OR is a different experience than working in the ICU. When listing your jobs, include the name of the organization along with the month and years of the time you worked. If you studied abroad, include it in your education. Learning and working in a new place with a language barrier will help you stand out. When listing skills, don’t list adjectives like “hard-working,” “dedicated,” etc. You should list professional or technical skills. Anyone can say they work hard, but you will stand out by telling your potential employer exactly what tasks you can accomplish for them.


References are an important part of a healthcare resume because it can open doors for you. Also, many candidates skip over this step of the resume since they want to fill their resume with more about themselves. Everyone will talk themselves up. The proof, however, is in your past experiences with other healthcare professionals. A credible recommendation will carry more weight than you tooting your own horn. Always include two to three professional references.

Get a second point of view

Do you know someone in the healthcare industry? If you do, have them look over your resume. Maybe there is something that makes sense to you, but doesn’t make sense to someone else. If you don’t know someone in the industry, have your professor or employer look at it. They’ve probably seen more resumes than you could imagine, and they could offer some valuable feedback. If you are working with a healthcare staffing agency, they can also provide you with fresh insight from an informed, third-party perspective.


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