Managing Partner and Practice Leader, Information Technology
Resume Advice for Healthcare Technology Executives
By Hillary Ross, J.D., and Nick Giannas
As executive recruiters for well over a decade serving healthcare technology leadership, we receive and review countless resumes from potential candidates. We also have the benefit of years of feedback from our clients – healthcare systems and health tech companies searching for transformational tech leadership. We are often asked by candidates for best practices regarding resumes. In the paragraphs below, we summarize how to position your resume in the most positive, professional and powerful manner.
When applying for a new job, we all know that furnishing a resume is a requirement. Although this is common practice, developing a resume can be difficult especially when you are starting from scratch or if you haven’t kept an existing one updated. To add to the challenge, we hear from executives that they have paid for professional resume-writing assistance and have not been happy with the outcome or did not receive the best advice.
To help make the process of creating a resume easier, and perhaps more enjoyable, remember to keep it simple and professional. In support of this notion, the “basics” in layout really do matter to ensure your resume is visually attractive. We recommend the following tips:
- a conservative font style
- a font size of 10/12
- a lot of white space and wide margins to reduce a cluttered look
- consistent style and layout throughout including font and spacing
Here is a sample resume which illustrates these principles.
What Differentiates Your Resume?
Along with keeping it simple and professional, it is important to differentiate your resume from those of other applicants. This is an opportunity to distinguish yourself before you interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, so making your resume compelling to the reader is important. Some important ideas to consider:
- Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for as opposed to sharing a generic version.
- Include a short description (1 to 2 sentences) after each listed employer to share specifics about it – for example, size and complexity of the organization.
- Provide action-oriented, bullet-pointed accomplishments with metrics where possible.
- Show you are a leader and active in the industry by listing your speaking engagements, professional affiliations, involvement on boards, etc.
The sample resume linked above has examples of these elements.
What Not to Do
It may seem obvious, but we can’t tell you how many resumes we receive daily that are flawed and not exhibiting what we or our clients would consider best practices.
The ineffective resumes are too sales-oriented and egotistical. These resumes are often overly written in first person or third person. As an example, “I’m a leader in innovation.” “Dan is a big picture thinker.” They may include a Recommendation section offering self-serving quotes about the candidate.
Ineffective resumes often have multiple colors, graphs and logos. This is usually a sign that someone has paid a marketing company to construct their resume. It is typically too busy and distracting to the reader and contains unnecessary hyperbole about the candidate. Often it contains a photo of the candidate which is generally not the best standard with today’s focus on unbiased representation of candidates.
Resumes that have typos and are formatted incorrectly are a poor reflection of a candidate pursuing a senior leadership role. Be mindful that incorrect punctuation (for example, missing commas) and incorrect capitalization are equally viewed as typos.
Resumes should never contain inaccuracies. It is critical to be truthful and accurate. This includes work history and education. References and verifications of employment and education will disclose falsehoods and derail your candidacy.
We recommend that any significant gaps in employment history be briefly and concisely explained. Employers are more empathetic today and if you are proactive in explaining, for example, time off for a personal situation or a reduction in force scenario, it is more readily acceptable than assuming such a gap is a red flag.
Related to Your Resume: Social Media
Be mindful that many employers today may examine your social media profile. Be thoughtful as to how you want to portray yourself and the messages you are transmitting. Highly charged political rhetoric, inappropriate personal photos or profanity may also derail your chance at a new position.
LinkedIn is a powerful tool that is equally as important as your resume. It is a tool that enables candidates to get the most out of their work history and optimize their presence. We have even found that some clients only look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile, as it’s easier to access than a resume. LinkedIn has features that allow you to really differentiate yourself from other candidates, similar to what you try to do with your resume. LinkedIn offers a more in-depth forum for you to elaborate on your skills, share more of your leadership experiences, add videos, thought leadership and endorsements. The platform also allows you to create an extensive network and provides a venue for others to find you.
Let your work history, leadership and accomplishments speak for your candidacy. Be strategic in thoughtfully differentiating your resume from others without marketing yourself too much. Above all, avoid typos and be honest and accurate!