10 tips that can make a HIT exec's resume stand out
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The job market for information technology executives continues to be hot, as IT needs grow in healthcare organizations. That said, competition for positions can be stiff, and applicants who want to stand out need to make sure they stand out in the best possible light. For most job candidates, the resume is the most likely vehicle for conveying their message and generating an interview.
IT leaders seeking positions in healthcare organizations need to incorporate key points and strategies into their resumes. Here are some key tips, culled from advice from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the Vault Career Guide, and Lisa Rangel, a professional resume writer.
Describe skills beyond just technical capabilities
A resume for a leadership position in a healthcare organization needs to step up from just reciting technical qualifications. It needs to integrate human capital management skills and fiscal acumen. IT executives need to show how they have used human and technological resources to improve operations at less cost. Especially for a CIO-level position, resumes should showcase contributions to achieving corporate goals, workflow productivity and the bottom line. There needs to be less emphasis on specific tactical skills and responsibilities, with more of a view on demonstrating the long-range effects of their work.
Emphasize soft skills
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Resumes can become lists of systems, software, hardware and applications in which a candidate has expertise. That won’t always connect with the person reading the resume, some of whom may have non-technical backgrounds. A resume needs to highlight soft skills and how they have enabled the candidate to manage both technology and people.
Demonstrate the ability to attract talent and lead teams
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Top IT roles do more than manage technology—rather, they manage the people who manipulate the technology that produces results. Top HIT executives need to know how to negotiate, influence decision makers, cultivate vendor relationships, and attract and develop key talent. In these roles, skills in team-building, communication and relationship building are crucial.
Tailor the resume to the open position
A job posting can attract hundreds of resumes, especially with the ease of applying online. Applicants who can outline clear value propositions are more likely to stand out in these instances, and a targeted summary can be an effective strategy, as it can show that a candidate has the required experience. The targeting effort begins by looking at the position requirements and figuring out what aspects of the candidate’s experience are most relevant, and then highlighting those.
Highlight results achieved
On the IT leader’s resume, it’s key to focus on business results from HIT work, rather than only highlighting technical prowess. Especially for top leadership positions, the eventual winner will be selected for his or her ability to solve problems, so resumes should highlight accomplishments and quantifying results. Showing the business value of past experience demonstrates a candidate’s value. Listing problems or challenges, and then detailing how each was solved and the results, can provide an effective way to communicate results.
Don’t ignore key IT skills
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Even though a resume shouldn’t overdo technical experience, it’s important for a candidate to demonstrate that he or she has the necessary HIT skills for a job. A resume should include functional areas of expertise, with specific skills or capabilities highlighted. One way to do this is to document every certification—that’s important in case recruiters or automated applicant tracking systems are keying off specific mentions in scanning resumes for qualifications.
Show understanding of the industry
Candidate accomplishments should be written to show how they relate to the challenges being faced by the healthcare industry globally. This can show that a candidate is more than a technical expert, but also understands how IT can help solve current and future issues within healthcare, and how IT can support the goals of an organization.
Be concise, clear and intentional in the structure
The challenge for candidates with many years or many positions is keeping the resume detailed enough to show experience and skills, and manageable in length. Recent positions can be described in more detail than past positions. In writing the resume, a candidate should try to think like the people who will be reading it, and determine what specifically they will be looking for in the body of the resume.
Handle education details effectively
Professional experience matters more than education, especially for HIT roles, but it’s important that the education section effectively conveys that background. Nontraditional degrees or technical training or certifications may be important, but recruiters or HR may not be familiar with them, and candidates should include a one- or two-sentence description of these. The education section should shrink as a candidate gains experience—eventually, it will simply list the bare essentials such as university name, location, dates attended and degree earned.
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Candidates should strive to detail how their experiences—leadership roles, work duties, school activities and more) helped them to grow as a person and as a professional. Also, use keywords that match those listed in the job announcement. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position to lead EHR implementations or other clinical system installations, then the resume should include these terms. This will help it get noticed by resume-scanning software and advance it past the first screening stage.