Chronological vs. Functional Healthcare Resumes
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
QUESTION: I have been in the healthcare industry 20 years and find a chronological resume takes more time to read. I purposely have placed my resume in a functional format with skill categories of leadership, data management and strategic planning. From there, I place the accomplishments that seem most relevant to the job being advertised or promoted.
I desire a senior management job or VP-level position. Is the functional format the best for these types of positions? If not, what type of format would lead the reader to quickly assess my skills without going through one-and-a-half pages?
KIM ISAACS SAYS: Hiring managers and HR professionals typically prefer seeing experience in reverse chronological order, so your functional resume could be holding you back from getting interviews. Functional resumes are often used by job seekers who are looking to downplay issues such as gaps in employment or a history of job-hopping. Without meaning to, your functional-style resume could be sending red flags to hiring managers who may be wondering, “What is this candidate trying to hide?”
A better strategy for you would be to use a “combination” format. This resume format leads with a powerful opening qualifications summary, followed by a bulleted list of your Areas of Expertise (for example, “Continuity of Care,” “Patient Satisfaction,” “Inventory/Cost Control,” “JCAHO Standards/Compliance,” etc.).
Below this, your Career Progression section should list the positions you have held, companies where you have worked and dates of employment in reverse-chronological order.
Keep in mind that with 20 years of experience, it isn’t necessary for you to detail every project and assignment you’ve completed. Just hit on the high points and explain your most impressive key accomplishments below jobs you have held during the past 10 years or so. You can group your older experience into a briefer Early Career section to avoid information overload.
A two-page resume is appropriate for someone with your years of experience. Just be sure you include enough white space and design elements (such as bullets, section headings, horizontal lines, etc.) to help the document flow and enable readers to quickly and easily glean your key strengths.
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