I make a terrible first impression. That being said, I’ve gotten jobs at places that weren’t even hiring because I write an impressive resume. A well written ophthalmic technician resume sets you up to get the position you want. If written correctly, when you walk into your interview, you’re already hired…you just need to decide if you want to work there.
Your contact information
This is a simple place to make a LOT of mistakes. Let me start out by saying that the hiring world is crueler and more judgmental than a 7th grade bully. So, be sure to check your beloved, super personalized emails at the door. No hiring manager is going to feel good about their decision responding to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep it bland, and make sure it includes your name.
In the title section, centered at the top of the page, include your credentials immediately following your name. It’s the first thing the hiring manager sees on your resume. Certifications like “COA” or “COT” read “qualified” right off the bat, and the rest of the manager’s time will be spent just trying to find reasons to dislike you (I told you they were cruel).
Keep in mind that every part of your resume is being critiqued, so if your address is 45 miles from the job you’re applying for, you should have an explanation for that in your cover letter.
Should you include a cover letter?
Absolutely yes. Every resume you send out should be tailored to the job you’re applying for, and the easiest way to do that is with a cover letter. You want to appear made for the position. Cover letters remove the guess work a hiring manager has to do when they look at your work history. They no longer have to try to piece together a narrative because you literally wrote them a narrative. However, if you are truly concerned that your writing skills (or lack thereof) might wind up costing you a coveted job, skip the cover letter and only include your objectives in a section immediately following your title on your resume. Write three sentences that carefully mirror the ad that was posted for the job. For example, if the job is at a private practice, make sure to include that one of your objectives is to work at a private practice. Do some research, and use that to further tailor your goals. Is it a rural practice? Mention how important it is to provide care for the community.
Paring down your experience
Editing yourself is important. Don’t include anything that isn’t needed. Oh, but you worked the cash register at Pizzeria Ramunto’s for three years while in high school? Cool. You may think that by including this, you’re showing that you have the ability to be trusted with money, and the motivation to hold a job while in school, but it’s not pertinent, and even if it is your longest stint of employment, it takes away from your strengths as an ophthalmic technician. You want to highlight the skills that the job is looking for, not just rattle off every task you perform throughout the day.
“Daily tasks include: history taking and refraction, assisting in minor procedures, and axillary testing such as OCT, Humphrey Visual Field, and Biometry.”
is stronger than:
“Daily tasks include: greeting patients, history taking, pupillometry, EOM, confrontation visual fields, testing IOP, refraction, autorefraction, keratometry, lensometry, visual field testing, pachymetry, Ascan, Bscan, IOL master, topography, assisting in Jones II testing…”
Hopefully you get the idea. It starts sounding like you’re just standing in a doctor’s office, listing everything in sight. Stick to the top three things you are great at, preferably all of which are listed as required skills at the job you are applying for.
The same rules apply for listing the position you held at your previous practice. “Front desk/Optician/Ophthalmic Technician/Surgical Technician/Surgery Scheduler” reads “I did a lot of everything, but probably I’m not really great at any of them.” If the job you’re applying for is an ophthalmic technician role, then write “Ophthalmic Technician” as your previous position, and during your interview, you can take the time to point out that you’ve been cross-trained in other areas.
Volunteering, certificates, and awards
Any volunteering you have done should be separate from your work history. Place it in its own section with other “bonus” material. If you’re certified to sell a certain product, or you won “employee of the month” 14 months in a row, include that in this section. We’ll call it the “Bonus, Fluffy, Humanizing Section.” Volunteer work is extremely valuable, because it shows a passion for more than just the money you make doing your job. Things like going to a nursing home and repairing glasses, data entry at a local society for the blind, or managing a booth at a health fair all speak to a deeper level of commitment that any employer would love to see.
You have to include references. It shows confidence, and you don’t want the hiring manager to have to ask for them. Who should you include? Make sure to list two or three (no more because it will look crowded, and no less because it will look stark) superiors from former jobs. Make sure they are people with whom you worked very closely; your references should be able to speak confidently about your strengths. Be sure to ask your references’ permission to use their names on a resume.
Include all of your references’ information, including:
- Place of Employment
- Contact information (preferably a phone number, as well as an email)
If you omit the phone number, that could dissuade a hiring manager from contacting the reference, and you do not want to create extra hassle for a hiring manager.
How and when to follow-up
It is not unreasonable to call or email an office a week after you’ve submitted your resume to inquire about the timeline of the hiring process. Some positions look to be filled immediately, while other offices may just be collecting resumes for a vacancy they will have in three months. I strongly recommend you learn the name of the hiring manager, so you can ask for them when you contact the office. You want your tone to be friendly and excited, not irritated. You may feel like you’re the best person for the job, and in fact you’re doing them a favor even applying, but if you take an annoyed, entitled tone, things are not going to go your way.