Transforming Jargon: Tips for Writing a Great Healthcare Resume

Transforming Jargon: Tips for Writing a Great Healthcare Resume

Contributing Writer: Maya Haynes, Consultant at Let’s Eat, Grandma

A recruiter should never feel like this guy when reviewing your resume:

Nor should they feel like this…

While writing a resume for a healthcare professional, it is easy to fall into the trap of either speaking in indistinguishable medical jargon, or oversimplifying important accomplishments. Whether you are a clinical or nonclinical healthcare professional, it is imperative to make a resume that is easy to read, but also highlights your most appealing skills.

Here are some tips to help you construct a reader-friendly resume that sells your professionalism.

Tip #1: Take Job Targets Seriously

Every skill is not appealing to every employer, and it is important that a prospective employee understands the type of job they are applying for.

For example, let’s look at a pharmacy manager looking for a promoted role as a pharmacy director. In general, pharmacy directors are responsible for all pharmacy operations including planning, organizing, controlling, and supervising pharmacy activities. In this case, a manager would have to take time to pull keywords related to the experience they already have.

Every instance of leadership would have to be specially highlighted, and a few examples stellar examples of leadership can even be placed near the top of the resume to draw the employer’s attention (i.e. creating an accomplishments section in your resume). If a desired job target requires certain technical skill set, crosscheck that skill set with your own. Maybe you never learned STATA, but you work extensively with SPSS. SPSS is still a great skill and you can briefly state how you used SPSS to achieve outcomes similar to those that the job target indicates.

The important thing is that you know how to successfully conduct statistical analysis, and this tells employers that potentially training you to use STATA instead of SPSS shouldn’t be very difficult.

Bottom line: specific skills can be a good use of medical jargon. Make sure your jargon matches the language of the job target.

Tip #2: Use Your Discretion with Education

How important is education? This question depends on what type of job you wish to have within the healthcare field. If you are seeking an administrative role, such as a human resource specialist, the specifics of your educational background may be less important than if you were to be applying for a clinical position, such as a community health nurse.

It is important to note what degrees are necessary for the position you are applying for; an indiscriminate Bachelor’s degree might be the baseline for some professions, but for highly specialized or highly clinical professions, it will be necessary to note specific concentrations or certificates that make you stand out from the crowd. For instance, as a public health professional, I use my discretion in advertising my Maternal and Child Health concentration.

If I were applying to a position where, for example, the focus of the work is HIV/AIDS prevention in male populations, it would probably be most beneficial to omit my concentration because it isn’t as relevant. However, the fact that I am completing an MPH degree is still very relevant to the position and may make me appear more desirable that candidates with just a Bachelor’s degree.

Bottom line: be careful with educational jargon, it might not always be necessary to list every concentration, certificate, or course taken. Skills you might want to list in order to sound highly educated could potentially backfire and indicate that your skill set is mismatched with what the employer is looking for.

Tip #3: Don’t Sell Yourself Short

This is especially relevant for younger professionals; it is critically important that you never doubt your capability. For non-clinical targets, if you are short on a desired technical skill or two, try to use the soft skills you have developed to compensate. For example, if you are a novice at using Microsoft Excel, make sure in your professional summary you harp on your keen organizational skills, or your quick ability to learn.

For clinical job targets, it will be more difficult to compensate for not having certain technical skills. However, this doesn’t mean that your current skill set is not valuable. If you are undergoing a technical training or completing a certificate at the time you are applying, still list it! However, if a position simply requires skills that you don’t have, it may be best to focus on positions that you are fully qualified for, and research if the position will offer you room to expand your skill set so that you can apply to your dream job in the future.

Bottom line: Your work experience, no matter how long or short, is valuable. If you are uncertain that an employer will see you as competent, it may be wise to drop some relevant jargon that tells the employer that you are a highly capable healthcare professional.

Constructing a resume with just the right amount of jargon can be tricky! Consultants at Let’s Eat, Grandma can help you fashion a resume that recruiters will love to read. Visit our website for your free career score so you can see how your resume stacks up against other healthcare professionals.

If you’d like to speak to a writing consultant today, schedule a complimentary resume review phone call by visiting