After you complete a medical assisting program it is time to land your dream job. Depending on what part of the country you live in competition for jobs may be high. Writing a strong resume and interviewing well can increase your chances of getting hired.
Writing Your Resume and Formatting Tips
Your first introduction to an employer is your resume. Your resume should set you apart from others. It needs to be professional and convey your skills, qualifications, and attention to detail. Consider some of the following suggestions to write a medical assisting resume that will get you noticed:
Although creativity is good, your resume is not the time to use fancy fonts. It is best to stick to something basic and easy to read. Times New Roman is slightly over-used, so consider something like Helvetica which is easy to read and professional. Garamond is a good choice for a compact and easy to read font if you have a lot of experience and are trying to fit the resume to a single page.
The most common font size used in a resume is 12 pt. While 14 is also acceptable, anything too big may look strange and anything smaller may be hard to read. Try to avoid going smaller than 11pt, but in any case you should print a sample to review.
It is essential to format your resume so it is easy to scan quickly. Employers receive a lot of resumes and can’t take the time to search for your qualifications. Headings are a great way to make your resume concise and easy to read.
If possible, try to keep your resume to a single page. Most potential employers want to read a brief resume and not deal with several pages.
Although you have some flexibility with what you include on your resume and how you format it, there are certain sections and headings you should include.
Your contact info should be at the top of your resume and easily visible. Contact information should include at the minimum your name, telephone number(s) and email address. Use a professional email address. Do not use anything that might contain a silly nickname or hobby. Some people also like to include their home address, while others are not comfortable providing that information until after they are offered a position.
Your work objective should state your goals for employment and also convey your skills and knowledge. For example, “I am seeking a clinical medical assistant position where I can utilize my back office skills and education.”
Credentials and Training:
Credentials and training should be one of the first headings on your resume. Since your medical assisting education is the most relevant, list that first. State the dates you attended school, degree or certification obtained, and skills you learned.
If you obtained certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants or any other professional organization, include that information. Additional certifications, such as CPR and phlebotomy, should also be included.
Most programs involve completing an externship. Include information such as where you completed your externship and what responsibilities you had. It may also be helpful to add a bullet list of skills you have which are needed for the job.
If you have any medical experience it may be helpful to create two work categories, one for “medical work experience” and “other employment”. If you do not have any medical work experience start with your most recent position and work your way backward. Include the name of your employer, your job title, dates of employment and job duties. It is important to consider what responsibilities or skills you learned that may be helpful as a medical assistant. For example, if you provided customer service at a previous job, that is a transferable skill which you will use as a medical assistant.
Honors and Awards
Consider including any awards you received including community or educational awards. If your grades were strong and you received honors, state that as well.
Volunteer and Professional Memberships
Even if your volunteer experience is not in the medical field you should still include it on your resume. You may have gained valuable skills and experience that will help you as a medical assistant. Professional memberships should also be included. Memberships in organizations, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants, displays a level of commitment and interest in your profession.
Choose references who can discuss the qualifications and traits which make you a strong candidate for a medical assisting position. Former teachers, supervisors, and preceptors are good choices. Include the name and email address or phone number of references. It is a good idea to check first with potential references to make sure they are comfortable providing a reference.
Job Application Tips
Even if you submit a resume many employers also request you complete an application. Incomplete applications will hurt your chances of getting invited for an interview. Consider some of the following tips:
- Start your application by reading all instructions carefully.
- Make sure you have all the information you need to fill out the application thoroughly, such as the names and contact information of references.
- Write neatly and don't leave sections blank.
- Proofread your application before submitting it.
Writing a Cover Letter
A cover letter introduces you to an employer. Tailor each cover letter to the particular position you are applying. Determine what the employer is looking for and state how your skills match their needs. Your cover letter should be structured in a logical sequence and kept to a page.
In your opening paragraph state why you are writing and what position you are applying for. Briefly state why you are qualified for the position, such as your education and certification. In your second paragraph highlight a few of your strongest qualifications.
Lastly, in your closing paragraph, politely request an interview and indicate whether you enclosed a resume or any other supplemental documents. Thank the employer for reading, and sign your letter.
Is it Better to Apply in Person or Online?
It is important to follow the direction an employer provides regarding applying for a position. Some employers only accept application online. In other instances, an employer may want you to come in and apply in person. Whichever method a potential employers instructs, follow their directions.