By Melanie Szlucha, contributing writer from Redinc, LLC
I look at resumes all the time, either from wound care professionals like you looking for help, or from the classes I teach. I also have over 15 years of experience in hiring people to work for me in various positions throughout my career. And there is one question that an employer asks about a job candidate that has held true then, and now.
As an employer, all I care about is this: What's on your resume that I need?
That's it. I don't know that you've left off parts of your experience, I don't know that your last job was really more about critical care than wound care – but you're applying for a wound care position so you're emphasizing your wound care background. All I ask is, how does the person on this piece of paper fit with what I need?
How do you know what I need? Well, I told you in the job description.
The Job Candidates Who Get the Interviews
Who am I going to decide to call for an interview to get to know better? The candidates who impress me the most within their resumes who share the changes they made at their last facility, showing examples of taking initiative to find better ways of doing things, and explaining the ways that they improved their last company.
Who am I going to be interested in, but may or may not call? Candidates who look like they did the same job at another facility, but don't look like they really made an impact.
Why won't I call them? Well, they'll go in my "Maybe" pile, but if they're trumped by other candidates who made more of an impact with their resumes, I'll be more excited to call them, and might get to you later. Could there be a great candidate hiding behind a poorly written or formatted resume? Yes. And as an employer, this is always my nagging concern during the hiring process.
As an employer, will my job requirements change as I look at more resumes and whittle down the competition? Yes. If I mention that particular skill or qualification is preferred in the ad, as I'm culling through the candidates to call I might make it a requirement just to make the pile more manageable.
Will I still call people who show that they've made an impact? Yes. But if their resume is in a gray area where they don't have that preferred skill, and their contributions are non-existent, then I'm going to pass.
What Your Wound Care Experience Looks Like on Paper
So what should you look for in the performance review of your resume? Does it include a mix of the job description, and clearly, obviously labeled accomplishments? (i.e., do you have a section under each position labeled "Accomplishments"?) Have you made it user-friendly by putting the needs of the facility first, rather than your own preferences or what makes sense to you?
Have you taken time to look for other resume formats that might tell your story better? A book I love is The Gallery of Best Resumes, by David Noble. There are some resume examples in there that are great, and some that aren't, but you'll learn a lot and see that there are many options for formatting your resume.
For the resume formats that you like, why do they work for you? Does it more clearly tell your story as a candidate? Is it eye-catching without being over embellished? How is your writing? Here's a tip for you: You should not have blocks of text longer than 2.5 lines if it can be at all avoided. Why? Because it's more difficult for a prospective employer to visually scan to get an overall impression of who you are. Employers don't READ resumes; your resume isn't the latest Tom Clancy novel. Is there enough white space between the bullets and around them to make it easy to scan?
Really analyze what you like and what you don't like in the resumes you see, versus just saying that it "looks nice." And when assessing your own resume, put yourself in the place of the employer and consider if you'd give that candidate a call based on that piece of paper.
About the Author
Melanie Szlucha has been a hiring manager for over 15 years, and a career coach for 6+ years through her company Redinc, LLC.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.