What not to include on a healthcare resume

What To Remove From Your Healthcare Resume Today

Time to revamp your healthcare resume and make sure that the valuable space on the 1-2 pages of paper representing your professional life is used wisely!

Some of the recommendations in this article are space savers and formatting suggestions while others involve removing irrelevant or outdated details. The end goal is to present the most pertinent information as succinctly as possible by removing the unnecessary “fluff.”

1. Mailing address

It may have been customary in the past, but it is no longer necessary to provide your complete mailing address on a resume. Listing city and state alone are more than adequate. It is highly unlikely that the prospective employer will need to mail you a hard copy of materials until after you are hired (at which time you will be filling out plenty of paperwork with your address on it).1 The prospective employer does not need to know your exact commute either. This prevents presumptions of your commute being too far or too difficult for you to seriously consider the position. If they’re interested in your commuting plans, this can be discussed at the actual interview.

2. Additional contact numbers

List only one phone number (most likely your cell) and make sure you have an appropriate professional mailbox greeting set up. Listing multiple contact numbers, such as cell and current work line or home phone can make things confusing for both you and prospective employers. List a line that only you will have access to (rather than your mother or roommate etc.). Listing only one phone number also helps you to monitor calls and voicemails more efficiently.2

3. An unprofessional personal email address

Your “personal” email address still needs to be professional. Do not provide an email address with a nickname. Many new graduates use their college or graduate school email but most of these become inactive a few years after you graduate! Consider starting a new email account to make keeping track of applications and correspondences easier.3


4. Marital status, family status, or religious preference

Any or all of these factors can lead to unnecessary bias; this includes presumptions regarding time off requests, work hour limitations or reduced dedication level to the position. On that note, it is actually illegal for an interviewer to inquire into these areas directly because of the biases they can cause. In addition to the aforementioned, federal laws also prohibit potential employers from asking about age, national origin, disabilities, gender, pregnancy status or military status for the same reason.4

Occasionally these topics will still be brushed upon in a roundabout way, i.e.: asking if you are unavailable to work certain days of the week or holidays, but there is no need to make room for any such assumptions on your resume.

5. Objectives or goals

Stating a career objective or your career goals on the top of a resume has become outdated.1 Objectives can, however, be included in your cover letter. The cover letter, or letter of intent, should express what you are looking for in a potential position and why you feel that this particular position to which you are applying would be a great fit.

6. Hobbies or outside interests

Whereas this used to be promoted — the goal being to give you a unique and memorable persona — experts now consider it a waste of valuable space. Prospective employers can inquire as to your personal hobbies and interests at the interview itself if they are looking for some more personalized chatting points and to find out more about your personality and compatibility.3

7. Photo/professional headshot

Prejudice and discrimination issues have arisen from the practice of viewing applicants’ physical appearances in advance. Prospective employers have argued that photos assist in remembering who the candidates are when reviewing applications later on. In reality, the prospective employer can always look you up on LinkedIn before the interview if they so choose. Similarly, he or she can view photographs the same way after the interview if they’ve forgot what you look like; hopefully you will be memorable enough that he or she wouldn’t have to (but yet another reason to have an updated professional LinkedIn profile).

An exception to the rule is that residency programs and other school admission interviews do require headshots. If it is specifically requested by an academic program you should go ahead and provide it.1

8. Graduation years

Since graduation dates from college and/or professional programs can lead to age discrimination, you can go ahead and leave this out.3

An exception to the rule is if you are a new graduate and this accounts for your lack of work experience on your resume.

9. Grades

Grades are unnecessary, and this includes professional exam and board scores.

An exception to the rule is if you are a new graduate (within the past 3 years) and your GPA is > 3.5). If your GPA is <3.5 don’t bother.1

10. Irrelevant work experience

Any work experience from more than 10 years ago that does not demonstrate relevant skills should be removed. Also, any work experience that was short-term and only lasted a few months that does not demonstrate relevant skills should be removed.2

An exception to the rule for including short-term positions is having relevant job experience, volunteer projects or research opportunities that lasted a few months during employment gaps. The aforementioned emphasizes that you continued to learn and sharpen your skills even while on an employment hiatus.

11. Expected salary

Unless the position requires an expected salary to be listed with your application, do not include this on your resume. You do not want to limit yourself to a certain monetary value. This could ultimately diminish any leverage you may have had making a potential salary negotiation.

If you are required to list an expected salary, it is best to include a range based on your researching other colleague salaries in similar positions in a similar geographic area.5

12. Previous salaries or pay rates

This information should be left for discussion at the interview similarly to expected salary. You do not want a prospective employer to assume you will work for the same or similar rate as in the past. Also, some up-font salaries are not exactly comparable. For example, an independent contractor or part-time position may have a higher hourly rate than a full-time position with benefits or additional commission opportunities. These additional factors are best discussed in person most thoroughly rather than outlined on your resume.5

13. Reasons for leaving previous positions

Again, this information is best discussed at the interview. If you have gaps of few months, between positions, simply remove months and just list years.6

An exception to the rule is if you have a lengthy gap with a reasonable explanation you may want to add a very brief statement to clarify. For example, returning to school to finish a degree, relocating, etc.

14. Boss/supervisor information for previous positions

See below!

15. Reference list

Your reference list should be presented as a separate document available “upon request.” This saves space on the resume and also ensures that only serious inquiries are provided with the information of your contacts. On the reference list you can provide the reference name, contact information and capacity of your relationship with the person.

16. Formatting faux pas

We all know that your ideal resume should be sleek, concise and easy to navigate.

In order to bring that to fruition, edit and proofread your resume to avoid basic formatting errors. The most common (and obvious) errors include: spelling errors, paragraph-like text blocks, distracting or illegible, fonts, inappropriate spacing, and inconsistent formatting.2

17. Too many details and excessive descriptions

This can go hand-in-hand with deciding between using a resume and curriculum vitae (CV). Since this is a common point of misunderstanding, especially in the healthcare field, we will have a quick review of resume vs. CV and when to utilize each.

A CV is a much more lengthy, detailed, and academically oriented document that fully summarizes your degrees, work experiences and skills. A CV also entails detailed descriptions of other items such as research projections, publications, and achievements.7 Whereas a resume should be 1-2 pages long and very concise, a CV may be several pages long. In a way, you can think of your resume as the abbreviated version or an outline of your CV.

A CV is generally used when applying for medical or research positions, grant applications, or positions at academic institutions. For non-clinical or research positions a resume should generally be used. If specified in the job description to submit one or the other, be careful to read instructions and submit accordingly. If possible, it is a good idea to have an up to date version of each on hand.

Final thoughts

Your resume is often the first glimpse a potential employer has of your professionalism and tact. By having a resume that is up-to-date and easy to traverse, you grant a potential employer quicker access to your many impressive qualities and qualifications. Make the first impression count!

References

References

  1. Yeager, M. “What to remove from your resume right now.” U.S. News Money. Oct 13, 2016.
  2. Iran, V. “Things you should remove from your resume immediately.” LinkedIn. Dec 22, 2016.
  3. Smith, J, Gillett R. “34 Things you should remove from your resume immediately.” Business Insider. Nov 16, 2016.
  4. Giang, V. “11 Common Interview Questions That Are Actually Illegal.” Business Insider. July 5, 2013.
  5. Doyle, A. “Curriculum Vitae (CV) vs. a Resume.” The Balance. June 22, 2017.
  6. Ryan, L. “Ten things to add to your resume—and ten to remove immediately.” Forbes. Sept 11, 2017.
  7. Doyle, A. “When and how to disclose your salary requirements.” The Balance. Jan 29, 2018.

 

About Danielle Kalberer

Danielle Kalberer
Danielle Kalberer is an optometrist practicing on Long Island in New York. After graduating from the SUNY College of Optometry, she completed residency at the Northport VA Medical Center. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry and is board certified in medical optometry.

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