Your education as a physician assistant will open doors to you. Here’s how to make sure your PA resume is the key to gain access to the jobs you really want.
Hiring managers review your resume with one question in mind: “How closely does this person’s experience align with our PA job description?” Our tips can help you highlight the specific experience you have in the specialty, practice type, or patient population that relates to the job you’re applying for.
Make the Most of Your Clinical Rotations
One of the many interesting things about the PA role is the different paths people take to become one. Some PAs have experience as an ENT, an RN, or a certified medical assistant. But many more are career-switchers from a non-medical profession. In our experience, 80-90% of new graduate physician assistants do not have years of medical work experience to list on a resume.
If you’re in this situation, it’s very important to focus your resume on the relevant experience you gained during your educational program and clinical rotations. For example, let’s say you’re applying for an inpatient cardiology PA job:
- If you’ve had your clinicals in an ICU, cardiac ICU, a medical surgical unit, or an inpatient unit you can list them under your Clinical Rotations section as “experience managing highly acute patients in a critical care environment.”
- If your clinicals were in a general outpatient unit, you likely took care of several cardiology patients. So, you can list your experience as “caring for cardiology patients who were being monitored for a specific cardiac condition.”
Evaluate and list your clinicals on your resume as they relate to the job description. But, be sure to set them apart them in a section titled “Student Clinical Rotations” so they don’t look like work experience because that can be misleading.
Strategically Incorporate Your Work History
If you do have work experience that is medically related, list it with three bullets that describe how the experience relates to the job. We recommend that you describe the environment, such as “22-bed unit with high-acuity patients.” Also describe the patient volume you handled, like “practiced in an internal medicine office seeing 20 patients per day.”
If your previous work experience is not in a medical field, keep this section brief. Go ahead and list the employer, the job, and your role. Use bullets to describe the experience only if you can demonstrate transferable skills in leadership, administration, or communication.
After you’ve been working as a PA for at least a year, you’ll have enough professional work experience to prominently feature it in a section above your clinical rotations. With two or more years as a PA, you can drop your clinicals. But, if you’re seeking a job in a different field of medicine, your previous clinical experience may still be relevant to include.
Regardless, the information you list should highly correlate to the job you’re applying for. This means you may have 2-3 different resumes if you’re applying for different jobs.
Make Your Physician Assistant Resume Clear, Well Organized, and Scannable
The order and organization of your resume say a lot about your priorities as a candidate. Make sure that your resume is visually-appealing, easy to read, and focused. By doing this, you communicate that you are a detail-oriented professional who takes pride in your work.
Use bullets, headings, and formatting to create a visual hierarchy of topics. Hiring managers are short on time and prefer resumes they can quickly scan to find key information.
We’ve developed a free resume template for Physician Assistants based on our years of experience and research in Advanced Practice Staffing.
Other great resources include the American Academy of Physician Assistants and other professional organizations for physician assistants.
Bonus Tip: Get a Free Resume Review
The average hiring manager spends less than 10 seconds reviewing a resume. At Melnic, we want to make sure you stand out for all the right reasons. That’s why we offer a free resume review to physician assistants, based on a sound understanding of hiring managers’ needs and preferences.
This resume review service is free—whether or not we currently have the perfect job for you! To get started, just create your Melnic profile and upload your resume.
This Week’s Top Advanced Practice Jobs
Our Melnic PA jobs board has positions at some the country’s leading hospitals. If you are considering a change, take a look at some of these great job openings!
Jill Gilliland is President of Melnic an APRN and PA national recruiting company. Jill is a speaker and publicist on areas such as job strategies, branding and marketing, pediatric critical care needs, and additional topics relevant to pediatric nursing and the recruitment business. She has over 12 years of experience in the recruiting industry coupled with a strong sales, healthcare, and technology background. Jill holds a BS degree in Business from the University of Southern California and an MBA from The University of Virginia, Darden Business School. Connect with Jill Gilliland on LinkedIn.