Putting together a resume can be a tough balancing act. On one hand, you need to convey a standard set of skills and competencies to show suitability for the position. On the other hand, you want to stand out from the other candidates who have similar training and experiences. How do you decide which information to include and which to omit within a reasonable number of pages (ideally not more than 2)?
This is a challenging question that can transform your anticipated 30-minute resume writing session into a painful 5-hour ordeal. To help you with your writer’s block, or perhaps your struggle to contain your words, here is a guide to 5 things to include on your PA resume:
Components of a PA Resume
You already know this: include your education. What you may not know though is that it is perfectly acceptable to start your resume with this section. Unless you have something specific and unique to say as an “Objective” avoid the generic, “I would like to become a contributing member of your team” and go right into what matters: your PA training and your studies leading up to PA school. Skip the high school stuff.
2. WORK EXPERIENCE
If this is not your first PA job, this section is easy: put down your PA work experience and describe your typical duties. If you are a new PA grad but have previous healthcare/ clinical job experience (e.g. EMS, nurse), put that down.
If all you have in terms of work experience is your summer babysitting gig or your landscaping job,, you’re probably better off leaving that off the resume entirely as it may dilute other important content. Skip to the next section and fill it with clinically focused, highly relevant information to shift the focus away from your limited or non-existent work experience.
3. ROTATIONS / CLERKSHIP EXPERIENCE
In this section, start with the rotation that is most relevant to the area of medicine to which you are applying. Choose 2-3 other rotations that are close to your chosen field (e.g. Orthopaedics and Physiatry).
In your descriptions of each rotation, be specific about what you did. Instead of saying, “gained experience with diagnostic tests in Orthopaedics”, say “ordered ultrasound to assess rotator cuff injury”.
4. CERTIFICATION / MEMBERSHIPS
This section is important as it lets the employer know where you stand professionally and amongst your colleagues. Most employers look to see that you are certified and are a member in good standing of recognized professional PA associations. If you have completed important training like ACLS or ATLS, make sure you include it here.
If you have any other licenses or certificates, this is your chance to showcase them and stand out from other applicants.
5. ADDITIONAL SKILLS
In this section think about any extra training sessions or skills labs you completed, particularly ones that are relevant to the position. If you attended a course on point-of-care ultrasound and are applying for an ER position, adding this information could take your status from average applicant to most desired candidate.
Be careful though; if you have nothing relevant or important to list, omit this section altogether to avoid distracting the reader from key sections.
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