How to improve your resume – A recruiter’s perspective
Learning how to write a successful CV is not something you do just like that. Like with many other things, it takes time before you become good at it. You will have to try a few times before you have the resume that perfectly summarizes your qualifications.
To dig deeper into how you can improve your resume, we made an interview with Anda Stoicescu, a psychologist and the team leader of recruitment in MediCarrera. Anda has been working with recruitment in the company for nine years and during these years she has read thousands of resumes from healthcare professionals which makes her a bit of an expert on this topic.
Once you have a good CV that summarizes your medical skills, you are ready to take the first steps in the recruitment process.
(In the picture to the left, our recruiter Anda Stoicescu)
What is the one most important thing to have in the resume?
The most important thing in the CV is the description of the recent clinical work and the description of their experience and skills. They must mention all possible details. Just by reading the description, you can tell how responsible they are when it comes to their tasks and how seriously they look at their profession. We value if this description is good, as it says a lot about how professional and motivated they are.
Is there any section in the CV that you always start to look at?
We look at everything in the CV, but there are some sections that are more relevant than others. The lighter sections are interests, hobbies, how they describe themselves as a person and these are important because we get an image of the person behind the professional. But we look at everything, yes.
How important is the CV for a recruiter and how important is the cover letter?
The CV is the main document in the selection process. Not only for us in MediCarrera, but also for the hospitals and the employers in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark as they get the resumes as well. The employers also do a selection based on the CV, so this document is very important. The selection is like a competition between the candidates, based on the resumes.
Regarding the cover letter, we don’t demand it for all the positions. Some of the hospitals ask for an additional motivational letter. Nevertheless, there is always a part in the CV about the candidate’s motivation. It contains questions about why the candidate is applying and what is motivating him or her to move. This is the part where they can develop and sustain their application. The CV tells a lot about a person and if it is very brief and the answers are not developed, it shows a lack of motivation.
Is it a good idea to use a picture?
Yes, it is a good idea and actually, not optional. The picture needs to be professional and formal and presented in a certain way, like a portrait foto with a white background. Sometimes it happens that we receive resumes with pictures that are not suitable for the occasion. A picture from a party, for instance, is not so suitable when you are applying for a job like this.
Is it necessary to mention all previous jobs and work experience or only the most relevant ones for the specific job that you apply for?
They should always specify their jobs as doctors or nurses. In the CV there is a section for answers about education and then there is a section for answers about continuation. The candidates should always put all their employment history here, but only medical jobs. It is not a good sign for a doctor or a nurse when there is a gap in employment history. In healthcare, it is a bit strange if you have a gap in your profession. So what they have to do is to specify all that information coherently, and of course, without gaps.
So the candidates should not mention other jobs if they are not in the field?
Normally doctors and nurses do not have experience from other fields. They study a lot to become doctors or nurses, so most of the time their experience is only from this field. It is not like other professions where you do administrative work and then you change the field and start working in a restaurant or a hotel instead. When it comes to our candidates they usually just mention their medical work experiences.
How do you prefer the CV, like a text document, a PDF or in another format?
In MediCarrera we prefer if the candidates send us the CV as a text document (.doc) so we can help them do modifications. Before we pass them on, we want to assure the resumes are grammatically correct.
“The most important thing in the CV is the description of the recent clinical work and the description of their experience and skills.”
Do you have any general tips on how to improve the resume?
You can divide the CV into two sections by the content and the appearance of the document. Regarding the content, the candidates should take their time to write about recent clinical work and their motivation to move to Scandinavia.
When it comes to appearance, it is very important. Our candidates have to fill in the CV in English and not in their native language. This can be tough and therefore we always recommend them to pass the document through a grammar correcter before they send it to us. The candidates need to make sure that everything that is needed is in the CV and that everything is well arranged on the pages. The appearance of the document has a lot to do with the first impression they will give. If the CV is looking good and everything is correct, it will make a good first impression of the candidate.
You are also a psychologist, does it help you in your work as a recruiter?
It helps me a lot. I am doing the selection of the candidates so after we receive the CV I have an interview with each one of them. We need to assess their motivation to see if they are motivated enough for the changes ahead. It is very important that they are highly motivated as they are changing their lives, going abroad with the whole family and leaving friends and family behind.
In our work, we need to be empathic with the doubts of the candidates, to the questions they are asking and to their difficulties. We also need to asses the culture so they fit. They come from different countries and they must understand how things are in Scandinavia and how the culture is to make sure that they can integrate into that life.
Does MediCarrera have any CV templates to offer?
Yes, we have a template for the CV that we send to the candidates. When they have registered and let us know that they are interested to apply for a position we send the template to them by e-mail.
A few general tips to help you along the way with your resume
One of the main rules when it comes to creating a powerful CV is to let the information be brief and concise. Commonly, you want to mention a lot of things and because of this, the content sometimes tends to be redundant. Keep the things that bring importance to your resume and skip the rest of them.
Use a good structure
To make it easier for the recruiters and increase the chance that they will read through the whole resume you have to have a good structure in the CV. The text needs to be easy to read. To succeed with this you have to focus on everything from a nice font as well as well selected headlines.
Do not forget to introduce yourself
Even if you apply to a job with your cover letter as a complement to your CV, you should always start the CV with a short presentation about you. It is easy to think that more detailed and personal information about you only belongs in the cover letter which is not true. You can still introduce yourself in the resume.
A visually nice CV with a good design is always in your favor. Do not forget to take some extra time to make your resume and cover letter look attractive and keep in mind that the design in the two documents should be coherent. This will automatically attract recruiters.
Add a picture
It is often appreciated when you add a picture of yourself in your CV so if you feel comfortable with it, it could be a good idea. If you decide to create a resume with a picture of you, your choice is very important. The one that you choose has to be serious and professional, and without other people in it.
Stay away from the clichés
If there is something that recruiters have had enough of, it is clichés. What you can do to spare them from even more of them is to keep the clichés out of your CV. Try to express yourself by using your own words and do not try too much. Sometimes, less is more.
Customize your resume
To make sure that your CV contains what is relevant for any job you apply for, it is important to update and customize it based on the requirements for each of them. Previous work experience that makes some recruiters like about you can be less useful for other recruiters in other companies. It all depends on what kind of job you are applying for.
Look for errors
The very last thing you should do before you save your CV is to double-check the spelling to avoid errors. This is very important as you want to send the right signals to the recruiters and give them a good first impression of you.