What is a Resume?

What is a Resume?

Here, we'll be covering what a resume is, their purpose, why you need one in your healthcare job search, and how they differ from C.V.s. Use this guide to craft a professional document that not only highlights your accomplishments, but speaks to your style and makes a great impression on your prospective healthcare employers.

There are several elements that are often overlooked by job-seekers when drafting a resume. Follow along as we cover those topics, as well as essential resume tips that will help you learn to strategically formulate a winning resume — and a winning edge on the competition.


What is a Resume?

A resume is a brief, skimmable document — usually saved in .doc or .pdf formats — that summarizes and communicates your employment history, education, relevant skills, experiences and qualifications to a party or individual looking to fill a position. It's recommended that a resume be one page long, but they can be two to three pages, when warranted. If you have additional experience to share that could be useful to the potential employer, then it is recommended that you include the extra content. However, it is advisable not to go over one page, unless absolutely necessary.

Treat the space on your resume as valuable property, and only include experiences, qualifications, and accomplishments that are relevant to the position you're interested in. You should think of your resume as a marketing tool; it should portray healthcare and hospital career highlights — as well as life highlights — that sell specific skills to your prospective employer. We'll break down this concept a little later in the guide as we analyze exactly what makes a good resume.

Here's an example of what a good medical assistant resume looks like:

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What Does a Resume Showcase?

The example resume provides some clarity as to what a resume showcases to potential employers. In this example resume, employers can see the need to know details: contact info, summary of qualifications, unique role experience, obtained education, and additional skills that can be useful for the position.

Resumes help channel the important elements you’d like to convey to an employer in a structured format that is easy to read.


What is the Purpose of a Resume?

Simply put, the main purpose of a resume is to land an interview with your desired employer, or in this case, with your ideal hospital job or healthcare career.

Keep in in mind that recruiters and human resource professionals receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes for each position they post, so it’s imperative that you create a concise and persuasive resume that will catch the attention of those doing the hiring.

To get past stage one of the hiring process (and avoid being sorted into the dreaded "no" pile), you must portray yourself as a great fit for the position.

Employers and hiring managers use resumes to sort through and narrow down the list of potential candidates quickly without having to spend additional time interviewing candidates who are not qualified for the position. Therefore, having a resume is essential when seeking further consideration for an open position.

A resume is essentially the first sales pitch in the application process where you have the opportunity to detail how your previous experience, skill set, and education background align with the position and separate yourself from other candidates in the applicant pool.

When showing that you’d be a great fit for your particular healthcare or hospital job, it’s important that you build a resume that caters specifically to the position or industry that you're interested in. In essence, you will have little success if you make a blanket resume for many different job positions.

The more effort you put into building a resume that caters to the specific position or industry, the more likely you are to advance to the interview stage.


Why Do I Need a Resume?

If you want to enter the professional healthcare world, a resume is not a suggestion — it's mandatory. Many people think they can simply fill out applications without a resume, but this practice does a serious disservice to the job seeker; it fails to showcase skills, it fails to set the applicant apart, and it fails to add any personalization to the application.

Resumes have the ability to open doors in your professional career by displaying your previous experience and unique talents.

Resumes are necessary for:

  • Showcasing your skills, accomplishments, and potential.
  • Advancing your career.
  • Competing in the professional world.
  • Highlighting that you're the right fit for the position.
  • Mapping where you've been and where you're going.
  • Getting the interview!

Resumes help showcase your skills, accomplishments, and the potential benefits you could provide to an employer if they hire you. Resumes are also useful for advancing your career. Just because there are similar titles and job positions within the industry, does not mean that your job was the exact same as others. This means that you can more accurately declare your job responsibilities, achievements, and establish a tool kit that will enable you to be more competitive in the professional world.

In addition, resumes provide a unique track record of where you’ve been, what you’ve accomplished, and the professional development you have had over a period of time. This track record is like creating directions on a map of displaying where you have been, where you would like to end up in your career.

Resumes can also provide additional benefits in your healthcare job search. Some of these additional benefits are helping you assess your qualifications for a position, and preparing you for the potential interview later on.

Creating a tailored resume for each respective position or industry will let you narrow down the potential jobs you are qualified for. This means that you don’t waste time applying for unnecessary jobs, and only apply to jobs where you’ll receive serious consideration.

Resumes also provide a unique opportunity to prepare for a potential interview later. Resumes are a useful way to detail how your experience aligns with the individual job posting. Creating a detailed resume that aligns with the job posting will prepare you for answering questions specifically related to that position.

A resume is necessary tool to use in your job search to indicate to potential employers that you are an achiever, not a do-er. Employers are looking to hire achievers who can help the company rise to new heights. Setting yourself apart through the use of a resume is essential to securing an interview.

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Resumes vs. Curricula Vitae (C.V.)

Resumes and curricula vitae (CVs) have much in common, but they are not the same thing, and every healthcare or hospital job seeker should know the difference. Generally speaking, a CV is a much more detailed overview of your life and accomplishments than a resume and is primarily used in academia.

CVs can be used for individuals seeking graduate school or academia opportunities, as they can be used to indicate grades and test scores. A CV can also be useful for individuals looking to apply to potential positions abroad.

CVs also differ from resumes in that they are much longer. CVs can become quite extensive as candidates detail an overview of their entire life’s accomplishments, and academic achievements. We won't delve any deeper into the differences in this guide, but you can learn more here:Curricula Vitae (CVs) versus Resumes.

Resumes are more suited for the professional world and are necessary for nearly every single healthcare or hospital position you will apply to.

With a resume, you want to take a targeted approach, treating every inch of space on the page as valuable real estate. Resumes are used to convey a concise message that tells the employer why you're the best choice for the position, and inspires them to pick up the phone to schedule an interview.



So, what is a resume? It's your foot in the door. It's the tool that you use to leverage opportunities and get ahead. How much time you invest into it and how well the finished product ends up being could very well change your future. It is important for you to be aware of everything there is to know about building the perfect resume.

First and foremost, always treat the space on your first page as your most valuable resource by including only relevant experiences. Remember to try not to exceed one page suggestion, and always use an appropriate typeface. Continue with this guide to learn more about building a great resume, along with which mistakes ought to be avoided.


Next: Ch. 2: The Best Fonts for Your Resume