Health care providers added more than 24,000 jobs in May 2017 and are expected to continue hiring at a high rate over the course of the year, according to research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This recent rise in recruitment is part of a decade-long trend. By 2022, the sector will have added over 4 million new positions in 10 years, according to the BLS. What does this mean for graduate students in the Master of Health Administration program at the University of Cincinnati?
Most graduates will enter a competitive job market that necessitates carefully conceived search tactics, a majority of which hinge on one asset: the resume. This document has taken on new weight in the digital age and now acts as the initial touch point between the applicant and potential employer. Unfortunately, recruiters do not spend much time with the resumes that flow through their inboxes. In fact, most set aside fewer than 5 minutes per resume they receive, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.
Consequently, MHA program graduates must build compelling resumes that not only showcase their education, experience and skills but also capture the attention of overburdened recruiters. How? Here are several effective strategies for putting together such pieces:
Carefully organizing the information
The layout is king in the realm of resume design. Reviewers are likely to cast away difficult-to-decipher documents, no matter the quality of the information they might contain. With this point in mind, health care professionals should choose layouts that bolster readability. Column-based designs are ideal, according to the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University. This formatting promotes balance on the page and facilitates a natural informational hierarchy, allowing reviewers to easily navigate the document and key into important data first.
In addition to working out how the information is represented visually, job seekers must also consider its organization. Three options exist, according to the American College of Healthcare Executives. Chronological resumes emphasize career progression, giving readers linear looks at candidates’ career paths. Functional resumes center on job requirements and highlight previous positions or skills that correlate to specific duties. Narrative resumes include paragraphs rather than bulleted lists, facilitating a more traditional reading experience.
Embracing the headline
In the past, recruiters encouraged candidates to develop career summaries or purpose statements to place at the top of resumes. These components are no longer effective, as reviewers now prioritize function above all else, leaving little room for such fluff-filled descriptions. However, modern resume drafters have conceived a workable alternative that both catches the eye and includes usable information: the headline.
Like the leading statement that tops a magazine or newspaper article, this component encapsulates the candidate, offering a concise summary of the more detailed information to come, according to SHRM. The ideal headline should be 10 words or fewer and offer insight into past experiences, as well as future goals. “Team-Oriented Clinician with Managerial Experience,” for example, communicates a strong care delivery background while hinting at the presence of demonstrable leadership skills. Headlines should also function as search-optimized web copy; recruiters often use internal or external tools to spotlight submissions that directly reference key job duties or desired candidate characteristics.
Those with applicable experience that does not easily fit into a single headline can employ as many as two subheads that address additional skills or call out key certifications. These extra components should mirror the punchy style of the first heading.
Editing for applicability
Candidates often stuff as much information as they can into their resumes in hopes of overwhelming prospective employers with their many skills and qualifications. This methodology may have worked in the past. However, today, employers are less likely to wade through large volumes of text in search of valuable details. Most pass on overfilled resumes knowing more concise applicants are one click away.
As a result, job seekers should edit content carefully and include only the most essential items such as descriptions of previous work experience and position-related skills, according to Harvard Business Review. Additionally, experts advise digging even deeper by omitting unnecessary elements that might be found within critical resume content. For example, when outlining past work experiences, it is best to focus on accomplishments rather than every-day duties. Why? Most recruiters can surmise what a position entails from its title, rendering role-related details useless. Achievements, on the other hand, are unique and create differentiation.
Individuals navigating the job market should adjust resume content on an application-by-application basis so they can showcase skills or experiences that align with employer needs. Of course, this information should match with any employment details discoverable online. An estimated 60 percent of U.S. organizations review candidate social profiles in addition to applications, according to recent research from CareerBuilder.
Keeping design components simple
With the number of free resume templates and pieces of vector art available online, individuals are often tempted to add graphical components to their resumes in an effort to boost visibility. This approach has merit. However, job seekers should tread with caution. Recruiters in the health care space and other non-creative industries do not appreciate overly adorned resumes, as such documents communicate a lack of professionalism.
To avoid this perception, those looking to bolster the look of their resumes should employ only simple design elements. The BLS suggested boldface headings for key categories, as well as wide margins that create white space. Small details like borders are generally acceptable, while backgrounds and other large components are frowned upon, according to the agency. Serif and sans-serif fonts are both usable but job seekers should choose only one style for the sake of consistency, Purdue OWL advised.
Finding success amid market growth
MHA graduate students preparing to navigate the increasingly competitive job market can improve their chances by creating engaging resumes with the above characteristics. Here at the Master of Health Administration program at the University of Cincinnati, we equip rising health care leaders with tools they need to help health care organizations of all kinds. However, to find success in the space, these individuals should effectively market themselves, and drafting an eye-catching resume is the first step.