By: Stephanie J. Underwood, Senior Vice President and Consultant

Having worked in the executive healthcare recruiting business for more than two decades, I’ve seen any consultant’s share of disastrous resumes. While your resume is a document, it’s an extension of yourself. It provides a window into not only your experience, but also your attention to detail. Below are 10 guidelines to follow to ensure your resume gets noticed in a positive way.
  1. Spelling Errors, typos and poor grammar: Don’t rely on spell check alone; ask someone to proof your resume only for typos and grammar once you have it finalized.
  2. Too duty-oriented: Beware of cut and pasting your job description. Highlight your accomplishments and results, not a list of duties.
  3. Omission of dates or inaccurate dates: One of the first things recruiters and hiring managers look for is gaps in employment. While this doesn’t mean you can’t have a gap, be sure to disclose your start month and year and end month and year in each role you list. Be prepared to discuss gaps.
  4. Incomplete/inaccurate contact information; unprofessional e-mail address: Save the studmuffin@horsefarm.com for your personal e-mails; use a more professional address (.e.g. lastname_firstname@gmail.com) for career purposes.
  5. Poor formatting: This is particularly important if you’ve had several jobs with a single employer. The information should be formatted to convey this, rather than having it look like you are a job hopper. (For ideas, see how Methodist Health Management, Inc. is formatted in this sample resume.) 
  6. Functional rather than chronological presentation: Don’t be tempted to develop a functional resume. Employers and search consultants are looking for candidates who have successfully assumed increasing job responsibility. The best way to convey this is to present the information chronologically.
  7. Too lengthy: There’s a big difference between a resume and a (generally much lengthier) curriculum vitae (CV), which is used mostly for academic, education, scientific or research positions, and in some cases fellowships or grants.  Send out a 27-page CV at your own risk.  If the job for which you are applying is at the executive or administrative/managerial level, you must have a well-prepared, concise resume. 
  8. Use of paragraphs instead of bullet points: Don’t forget that only resumes that get read can lead to a job interview. Increase your odds by formatting the resume in an attractive easy-to-read style.
  9. Clear lack of qualifications for the job: I once received a resume from a fellow who sold wine in a high-end setting who tried to convince me he had the requisite “customer service” skills I was seeking in a Service Line Administrator role. Be realistic in your skills and potential.
  10. Absence of descriptive information about employer(s): Don’t assume that anyone reviewing your resume will know anything about your employer. Always include a brief description under each employer, such as, “Eco Beach Health System, a four-hospital system with 6,500 FTEs and net revenues of $350 million.”

Hungry for more tips, including those on how to prepare a proper executive resume? Be sure to read all entries in the Cover Letters and Resumes category in News, Articles, Blogs