Big Resume Mistakes That HR Experts See

Big Resume Mistakes That HR Experts See - Health Callings JobsHuman resource leaders share their experience of the mistakes they’ve come across in candidates’ resumes.

By Angela Rose for

In the search for a new healthcare job, making a good impression begins with your resume. Unfortunately, far too many professionals submit documents with mistakes that lead to automatic rejection—including typos, generic templates, missing skills and dates of employment, and inappropriate email addresses, among others. While a little common sense and careful proofreading is enough to eliminate most of these egregious blunders, other less obvious missteps may also get you kicked out of the candidate pool. Before you apply for your next healthcare position, consider hiring managers’ opinions of the following five resume snafus.

1. Using an automated, mass mailing service.

Some professionals approach the job search like it’s a numbers game; they believe the more positions they pursue, the greater their chances of getting hired. To save time, they enlist the help of a vendor to print and send their resumes to employers. While efficient, this practice can easily backfire. The low quality of paper, envelopes, and printing make it quite obvious that you used an automated service and may make the hiring manager believe you are lazy. Whether you’re a time-crunched healthcare executive or busy head nurse, it’s best to address, stamp, and mail each resume yourself.

2. Ignoring quantifiable data.

All healthcare employees—from nursing and medical assistants to advanced nurses and physicians—play a part in protecting their hospital, clinic, or practice’s profits and minimizing its losses. However, if you submit a resume that does not provide details on how you’ve done this for your past employers, the hiring manager may form the opinion that you don’t have what it takes to make a difference in this way. Whenever possible, replace the “responsible for” statements in your resume with quantifiable data (such as “reduced readmissions by 25 percent”).

3. Disregarding the chain of command.

Unless you want to ruin your chances, never send your resume to anyone but the individual specified in the job posting—even if you had already met the Director of Nursing at a conference and she mentioned her hospital has a nurse opportunity available. Doing otherwise will lead the hiring manager to believe you’re a) unable to follow directions, and b) disregarding the chain of command—and this could lead to your immediate rejection.

4. Expecting a referral to get you the job.

Healthcare employers generally appreciate job seeker referrals from their current employees. Not only do referred candidates tend to be a better cultural fit, studies have shown they are also likely to stay with the organization longer. If you’re an x-ray tech who happens know to someone within the hospital you’re interested in working for, a referral can help you stand out in a crowd of applicants—but don’t expect it to get you the job. Submit a resume like everyone else and show the hiring manager you’re not the type to look for favors.

5. Using a functional resume format.

While a chronological resume emphasizes your employment history, a functional resume highlights the skills you believe will benefit an employer. For this reason, many job applicants use the functional format to disguise periods of unemployment, frequent job changes, and other red flags. You may not be among them, but submit a functional resume and the hiring manager is likely to believe you have something to hide. Whatever your situation, stick to a chronological document if you want to appear straightforward and truthful rather than sneaky.  Use the cover letter to explain the gaps of employment.

The healthcare industry is booming, and there are thousands of opportunities available across the nation for healthcare execs, physicians, nurses, x-ray techs, and other medical office staff. If you avoid common resume mistakes and these less obvious missteps, you should find securing your next position anything but difficult.

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  1. BY Mary Ruman says:

    Great advice!

  2. BY David Reiner says:

    My issue was attempting to actually Apply for a position for a role at my local hospital-couldn't get past the second page to complete my application-Very Frustrating!!!!!!!!!
    Should I contact the local HR dept. directly..?
    Can you please advise

    • BY Angela Bellizzi says:

      Hi David-
      I would first check their webpage to see if they have a help link. That may connect you to a tech person that can get your application through faster. It that option isn't available, I would contact the HR department to ask for their assistance. Good luck!

  3. BY WaitingforajobinUSAfromIndiasince2008 says:

    Not all job seekers are created equal.Some situations vary.

    For example I worked in USA from 98-2008. Received several awards from clients and even appreciation from CEO of multi-billion dollar company in USA. I had to come to India for some personal work to India in 2008, hoping to return to USA in 2-3 months or 6 months.It has been difficult to land a interview from India. If I were an American or European I could have been easily working in USA for the company I worked from 2000-2007. I think the employers, when they say that they are Equal Opportunity Employer they also need to do what they mean and hire me quickly.I love my employer in the USA and the country USA itself. I hope that they just rehire me and relocate me to USA immediately without wasting time on any unnecessary things. That is make a positive result.

  4. BY Kurt Hoddelmann says:

    I recently graduated with a Medical/Coding Billing Certificate in HIM and also have an A.S. Degree in HIM from Seminole State College Of Florida. I live in the Orlando, FL area and healthcare is such a huge industry in our state. How do recent graduates compete is this highly competitive market?