Join me as i speak with Jordan G. Roberts, PA-C and I will tell you why it is SO important to de-clutter your resume, offer a few tips (and cautions) on job searching in the current job market along with a few other job seeking gems. Oh, and i will tell you all about going to jail… for the right reasons. All this wisdom is delivered with a healthy dose of humor.
There seems to be some confusion about cover letters. I have seen some advice on the big box job sites that is telling job seekers that the advice to include a cover letter may be a thing of the past. No doubt this will have many of you jumping for joy – I mean, who likes to write a cover letter anyway?
Your resume needs to demonstrate that you have the skills the employer wants.
The only thing that matters is what the employer wants.
As a new graduate the most marketable experience you have is your clinical rotations.To be successful your resume must contain clear and easy to find information. You can’t get an interview if the recruiter can’t determine whether or not you meet the requirements. Your resume will have about 30 seconds to catch the eye of the employer, so it’s important to be sure all the info in your resume is easy to find. The reader shouldn’t have to strain or work hard to figure out who you are.In today’s market employers are expecting to receive a resume that is tailored to the position. When creating their first NP resume many new graduates get carried away and include too much extraneous information. Remember, your resume is just a snapshot to show the employer you are a match – not your entire life history.First, you must make it clear to the reader that you possess the appropriate educational preparation. Place your educational section at the top of your resume. Make sure you have included your degree and the dates it was earned (or will be earned). You can safely omit elements like your GPA, thesis, or doctoral project. This simply adds clutter to your resume without increasing your marketability. I know you worked hard for your GPA, but it doesn’t belong on your resume.Second, clearly indicate your certification. You will be seen as ineligible for the position if information relating to your certification status is missing. Identify the name your certifying body and note either “current” or the expiration date of your board certification. If you have not yet taken boards note “pending” or your scheduled test date. Also, be sure you list your RN licenses. This may seem like a no brainer but it is important that your nursing license(s) be on your resume.Next is your experience section. As a new grad your clinical rotations are your most pertinent and relevant experience. Take a look at the job posting and find the skills the employer has stated are a requirement. Then make sure you mention those skills in your student experience section. Avoid statements that reflect minimum entry levels skills. It’s a waste of space on your resume to say “manage acute and chronic conditions” or “history and physical exam skills”. That won’t set you apart. Give the recruiter some real data about procedures, specific conditions and populations. You should find this data in your clinical logs.Finally, take care not to focus on your RN experience. Employers like to see that you had RN experience but they are not interested in your RN duties. A simple entry indicating the department where you worked in will be sufficient. You are applying for an NP job and you are a new NP graduate, however, you are competing against candidates who have NP experience. To put it bluntly, what you did as an RN will not trump actual NP experience so it’s best not to waste the resume space because it won’t make you more marketable. If the employer wants to hear more about your RN jobs they will ask you about them in an interview.Oh, and a nice cover letter will help you get noticed too.I will send you my cover letter and resume guides via email.Good luck and keep me posted on your job search.~Renee
Hello New Grads!
Abe Lincoln once advised “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend 7 sharpening my axe”.
Don’t get worried, I don’t actually want you to chop anything down! My point is that I want you to be well prepared before you begin your NP job search.
In my last column for Advance for NPs & PAs I outlined 5 essential steps to include in your job search plan.
In my column you will find advice on
- Applying too soon (yes, you can apply too soon)
- Finding and choosing the proper references
- How to sell yourself and your skills
- Handling the dreaded “strength and weakness” interview question.
Graduation is exciting but also a little stressful. New grads (or maybe I should call them “soon-to-be-grads”) spend almost as much of their last semester worrying about getting their first job as they do studying.
Well, I personally have never seen any value to worry. It’s far better to spend your time preparing instead of worrying. And luckily for new grads there is some good advice out there.
Advance for NPs and PAs puts out a great “Guide for NP & PA New Grads” every year and it is chock full of both practical and valuable advice.
This year 2013 the guide has gone digital and you will find 4 extremely helpful articles.
The first (which just happens to be written by me!) is Salary Tips for the New Grad. I discuss realistic salary expectations as well as the proper time to negotiate. You might be surprised at what I have to say. Read more
There is also a nice article on Building a Better Resume. This piece includes some nice tips on social media, keywords and paper resumes. As your trusted NP Career Coach I can say without reservation that the advice is spot on and will help you be more successful in landing that job interview.
Speaking of interviews, did you know that the new trend is to do your interview via Skype? Check out the handy tips in Get Psyched to Skype. You will be glad you did.
And finally, read Networking Know-How and find out how to make the most out of your networking.
Access the entire guide HERE
I have preached this for years. Call it a resume trifecta, the holy trinity or the triple play but every (and I mean EVERY) NP resume must contain these 3 critical pieces of information. If employers do not find this information – and find it quickly – your resume will never make it past the first round.
It’s a simple formula really
1. Your education
2. Your certification
3. Your skills
Create your resume around these elements. Remember, we review your resume in less than 15 seconds so you must make these 3 bits of data the centerpiece of your resume. Skip the fancy formatting, long winded “objective” statements and just focus on ensuring that this information as easy for us to find as possible.
What to know what to include under each of these 3 headings?
Read my latest blog here
Most people think of January as the season for snow and winter activities, but for your NP Career Coach it’s season of the annual Salary Survey.
And with the salary survey comes interviews…
Recently I was interviewed by Contraceptive Technology Updates and asked for my thoughts on how to be best prepared in the event budget cuts result in a decrease in your work hours or find you out looking for a new NP job.
In the article I discuss the value of having a “master resume” ready to go, the importance of flexibility in this market and whether it can benefit you to consider signing on with a recruiter.
Click here to read the entire interview which begins on page 13.
Do you have a negative in your history? By negative I mean a dismissal, misconduct or a disciplinary action by your board. Personal negatives include criminal charges, DUI’s or a history of substance abuse.
All is not lost.
If you are a nurse practitioner or physician assistant and you have one of the above issues and you are struggling with how to frame a past transgression in your NP or PA resume I have some advice for you.
My latest column in Advance for NPs & PAs outlines some strategies for dealing with negatives in your professional background. I discuss when and how to bring up your past problems as well as what steps you must take to convince an employer to take a chance on you.
Dear Career Coach: I am a NP seeking to return to the workforce after a 10 year employment gap. I have experience as an adult nurse practitioner Occupational Health, Cardio-thoracic, Primary Care, and Student Health. I recently completed 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacy and passed the certification test for Adult NP in preparation for my NP job search.
Should I include this information in my resume and cover letter? How do I handle the lapse in my professional career? I have 3 kids and we moved several times. I was active with volunteer activities and held several leadership positions. Do employers really want to see this information in my resume?
Dear Reader: This information needs to be included in both your resume and your cover letter. I suggest you start your resume off with a “Summary of Qualifications” section, this will allow you to highlight your qualifications and future plans.
EXAMPLE: “A nurse practitioner with a wide variety of experience with an emphasis in (list your specialties) Recently completed a total of 150 CEU’s including 75 in pharmacology and have used this knowledge to successfully pass the certification test for Adult Nurse Practitioner. Passionate to resume hands on patient care. Possess the energy and flexibility of a new graduate plus a wealth of past knowledge which will benefit both my patients and my future employer.”
Next on your resume list your experience starting first with your recent CEU’s that are pertinent to the job you are seeking. Highlight your proficiencies for each past job and communicate that you are still comfortable with those skills.
You also MUST write a cover letter. You can use your cover letter to discuss your passion for the position, highlight your proficiencies and emphasize the knowledge you recently acquired in your CEU courses. It’s also a good idea to mention your desire for a long-term employer. In the last paragraph, before your closing, you can then disclose and explain your employment gap.
Remember always to edit and tailor your resume and cover letter to match each and every position you apply for!
I was shopping today and as I was turned the corner into the soap aisle a young man was just ending a cell phone call. I heard him say a few stern words into his cell phone, then he hung up and exclaimed to a woman whom I presumed to be his wife “Can you believe it? They actually called me about a job I applied for while I am at Target!” Considering the job market these days this should have made his day, but no, he was quite indignant that they had interrupted his grocery shopping. Yeah, imagine that. He had given them his cell phone number and they actually had the nerve to call him, unbelievable.
I have long cautioned job hunters to think long and hard before putting their cell phone numbers on their applications or resumes because, well, employers tend to call them.
The great thing about cell phones is that they are portable, and the not-so-great thing about cell phones is that they are portable. If you listed you cell number as your contact number when you applied for an NP job odds are sooner or later a potential employer is going to call you at an inconvenient time (like when you are shopping at Target).
If your cell phone is your only phone then please think before you answer. If you are busy, in loud or bad reception area it’s better if you let the call go to voicemail and return it when you are free to talk. You get one chance to make a good impression and you don’t want to be deciding “paper or plastic” while taking a call from a potential employer.
Trust me, they won’t call back.