Dear Dr. Schreiber
I carefully reviewed the job vacancy posting you placed on the LiveCareer website. I would love to apply for the Audiologist opening. I have a Doctorate in Audiology received in 2008.
I completed my internship at a clinic in Memphis where I developed my skill in audiology under the mentorship of Esther Scott one of the leading audiologist in the country. Through my association with Dr. Scott I developed a clear understanding of the audiologists tools including various devices audiometers and the latest computer systems utilised to test for hearing related disorder such as auditory imbalance spatial hearing loss and noise induced hearing loss. I was heavily involved in determining course treatments for inability to distinguish sound and reduced amplification. I aided in the implantation of amplification systems and familiarised myself with bone anchored hearing aid cochlear implants speech and language pathology and otolaryngology. While I would say my formal education was instrumental in helping me achieve my goals to prepare to be an audiologist it was definitely my association with Dr. Scott that has given me the courage to see I would be an exemplary audiologist on a medical team.
Feel free to contact me any afternoon in order to discuss my resume and qualifications in more detail.
Redux is Latin for 'brought back' or 'revisited'. During these challenging economic times, whether you're actively seeking a new job, biding your time waiting for the economy to turn in order to make a job change, or feel secure and satisfied in your current position, it is time to revisit your resume.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 651,000 jobs were lost in February 2009, totaling a loss of over 4 million jobs since the start of the recession just one year ago. Job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors as the unemployment rate climbed to a 26-year high of 8.7 percent (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2009).
How does this affect you, as an audiologist? A much larger pool of qualified candidates is now applying for fewer available positions. Hospital closings, university budget cuts and manufacturer cost savings and mergers mean fewer jobs for audiologists right now. Although the long term outlook for audiology is promising, plenty of audiologists who thought their jobs were secure are now seeking work. Hiring managers are reviewing really good resumes from highly experienced individuals. If you are seeking a job or considering a job change in the future, your resume must stand out as it is often the only chance you may have at a first impression. Not planning a job change? Time spent updating your resume now is time well spent should you ever need to implement a Plan B.
The goal of a resume is to succinctly highlight information relevant to the employer's needs and thus stand out among the pile that the employer may be reviewing. The overall message of a resume must be what a candidate can do for the potential employer rather than what the candidate expects from the employer or position. Is it necessary to "keep it to one page"? Can a candidate write one resume for a variety of jobs, and just change the cover letter? Is a cover letter necessary at all? What about a video resume, or professional networking - aren't paper resumes becoming obsolete? This article will consider resumes piece by piece as they pertain to audiology - and provide proven tips and strategies for other issues relevant to a job search - in order to help you compete in today's marketplace.
Start with a KISS
The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) principle is an important one when it comes to resumes. In writing a resume, content is king and simplicity carries the day. Fancy graphics, multiple fonts, colors and text blocks only make it more difficult for a hiring manager to find the information that he or she is looking for in order to make a decision. Hiring mangers typically spend less than one minute reviewing each resume before deciding whether to proceed or 'file'. The resume should make it easy for the employer to find the information most critical to a successful search. Additionally, many recruiters and hiring managers will store resumes into a database or other electronic file. The more formatting in a resume, the more likely it will be skewed when stored in another format, making it difficult to read, or worse, risk information getting lost.
An easy to read font, such as Arial, Times New Roman, or Verdana, and medium size type (10, 11, or 12) are recommended. Remember, the focus of the resume should be on content, not decoration. Verb tense should be consistent - past tense when writing about past experiences, present tense when detailing current experiences.
Resumes need to be thoroughly checked and re-checked for typos and misspellings. Do not rely on spell check as commonly misused words (their instead of they're;lose/loose;it's/its) often pass spell check even when used in error.
The candidate's knowledge and experience should dictate the length of the resume;it is not necessary to contain it to one page, especially in audiology. Candidates often sell themselves short by cutting out too much information in order to adhere to the outdated one-page guideline. The employer cannot be expected to fill in the blanks, guess at additional job duties or assume a candidate's achievements;candidates should spell it all out in as long as it takes to do so. By the same token, information that is not relevant should not be included. Content that is interesting and related to the hiring managers' needs is important - they will continue to read if they are interested in what a candidate has to say.
Construction of a resume begins with the most basic information, either centered or left justified at the top of the resume: candidate's full name, complete address with zip code, telephone numbers, including home, cell and a work number (if the candidate can be contacted there), and email address. If the resume is multiple pages, at least the candidate's name should appear on all pages in a header or footer in case the pages get separated. If listing a cell phone number, candidates should exercise professionalism in setting the voicemail greeting - it is a small but important detail that is often overlooked when one begins a job search.
Career Objectives - One Size Does Not Fit All
Many people believe they can apply to many different positions with just one resume. They mistakenly think the hiring manager will read between the lines of the resume and draw out the experience most suited to his or her open position. In today's economy, with many more candidates applying for each available position in the past and hiring managers trying to do more with less and with little time available, this approach is bound to fail. Be assured that candidates who take the time to customize the Career Objective for each position to which they apply will come out on top of most of the other applicants.
The Career Objective is a two to three sentence section below the Contact Information that addresses the type and level of position the candidate is seeking. It should also provide a brief description of the candidate's prior experiences that will contribute to the pursued company's overall objectives. The Career Objective is the opening pitch, - the first real impression on the hiring manager - and often the only one candidates may have. The Career Objective will determine whether the hiring manager will move on and read the next paragraph of the resume - a decision made within 10 seconds or so - so it is important that it is both powerful and relevant.
A typical audiologist's Career Objective might be "seeking a clinical position in a large hospital" or "seeking a diagnostic position in an ENT practice". Is this a strong Career Objective? Probably not. First, these objectives are not particularly powerful in that they do not spell out just how the candidate is a good match for the position. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, the information is not specifically relevant to the position for which the candidate is applying. There is no room for this type of oversight when trying to make a strong first impression.
Accomplishments - Content is King!
An "on target" Career Objective buys a candidate an additional fifteen seconds of consideration. The next section of the resume, Accomplishments, should list five to ten key accomplishments demonstrating the candidate's understanding of the position and his or her proven ability to deliver value to that employer. The biggest mistake candidates make in resumes is focusing on job duties instead of accomplishments. In the Accomplishments section of a resume, candidates can emphasize their propensity for recognizing opportunities and taking the initiative to go the extra mile for employers, coworkers or customers. The candidate's most important contributions to employers during the course of his or her career should be included. For candidates with limited experience, at least two major accomplishments achieved while in school or other life areas that provided real value an organization, should be included. Accomplishments should be short phrases utilizing bullet points with no further explanation and should leave employers wanting much, much more.
All of the points listed do not have to be a perfect match for the position. Accomplishments that highlight versatility, organizational skills and leadership qualities, as well as technical and industry expertise, should be included.
Candidates should reconsider applying for any position for which they cannot determine relevant accomplishments for their resume;the position will likely not be a good fit. Inventing accomplishments is also not an option. One of the Golden Rules of resume writing is to never, ever lie or fabricate information of any kind. In the information age, where information is plenty and fact checking is easy and convenient, the truth almost always prevails, and dishonest candidates can quickly become 'damaged goods'. Never underestimate how fast negative information travels, especially in a small industry like audiology.
Professional Experience - 5 Ws
This section provides a summary of past employers, positions, responsibilities and achievements in those positions, or the "when, for whom, where, what and why". This information needs to be factual, to the point and demonstrable. Examples may be: personally provided diagnostic services for several physicians while also managing a staff of 3 dispensing audiologists;managing 10 field sales people while also covering a territory and exceeding sales quotas by 10%;growing a start-up dispensing practice from zero to $500K in five years. The candidate's goal in this section is demonstrating to potential employers that he or she has already accomplished what the employer needs done, or meets their requirements based on past experiences and achievements. Candidates should be prepared to back up all claims, including percentages, savings, sales numbers, etc. The same, of course, goes for past earnings and job titles.
Professional experience should be listed in reverse chronological order (beginning with most recent position). Dates of employment (including month and year for both starting and departing the position) should be listed first, followed by the name of business, city, state and job title. Directly below, include a summary of the business' purpose, the services/products offered and other relevant key features of the business model.
In today's competitive job market, employers are more than ever looking for measurable, demonstrable accomplishments such as close rates, return rates, binaural rates and revenue when sizing up potential candidates. Under each job listing should be a sub-section entitled "Contributions" or "Accomplishments" that describe the top 3-5 major contributions the candidate made while working for each company. Each accomplishment should be a simple, powerful, action statement that emphasizes how the results benefited the employer.
Examples of this are as follows:
- Led a 15 person sales force achieving 100% of quota in every territory
- Increased binaural sales from 20% to 63% resulting in a doubling of annual hearing aid revenue
- Assisted in setting up a Vestibular lab, that brought in over 200 new patients per year
- Negotiated lower prices on hearing aids from vendors resulting in an annual savings of $25,000
- Increased sales by 10% annually
- Developed a consumer marketing program
- Developed a referral program for physicians that brought in an average of 5 new patients each month
- Raised practice's average selling price by recommending premium technology and features when appropriate for patients' needs, resulting in increased annual revenue of $50,000
For recent positions (in the last five years) that were held less than 2 years, it is usually recommended to include a statement as to the reason for leaving. It is especially important to point out mergers and acquisitions that may have occurred where there were layoffs, consolidation of staff or simply company name changes. Longevity in a company is generally looked upon favorably.
Employers are leery of candidates who have changed jobs too frequently. If there is a reasonable explanation, it is best to give it. Rest assured if there is another explanation, it will come out eventually. Sometimes addressing the issue head-on with honesty will improve a candidate's odds of getting an interview, rather than trying to obscure the information on a resume.
Start with the most recent or in-process degree. List dates attended, followed by name of university/college, city/state, degree earned, and field of study. Continue for each school attended or degree earned. Include relevant training seminars or other continuing education.
List all state licenses and national certifications starting with active and including expired. Current licenses should include the license number.
List professional organizations such as American Academy of Audiology, Academy of Doctors of Audiology, etc. Include any positions held, committees served on, responsibilities, etc.
This section should be a list of relevant skills in which the candidate is proficient such as languages spoken, computer skills such as Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), etc.
On the resume, a statement that "references are available" is recommended. References kept on a separate reference page keep the resume looking clean and focused on the candidate's accomplishments and experiences, and can be submitted to the employer if requested. All references should include the name, title, professional association, daytime phone number and email address, if possible. It is important that candidates make contact with their references before listing them, and are confident that those listed will give a favorable reference. Believe it or not, it is not uncommon that people on a candidate's reference list provide only negative information about the candidate.
Tips for Students
Generally, a student's resume will follow the same guidelines discussed in this article. The main difference in a student's resume is usually that the student has limited professional work experience. Therefore, the Professional Experience section should be replaced with a Clinical Experience section, listing hands-on experience and accomplishments gained while meeting educational requirements. This section can alternately be titled "Externships", or "Internships". Students often make the mistake of underreporting or discounting unpaid experience.
However, for students, it is acceptable and important to not only list, but include relevant details of educational, personal, and certain work accomplishments that demonstrate leadership, excellence, innovation or other qualities potential employers may be seeking. Examples may include scholarships, awards and honors, membership in organizations and clubs that pertain to audiology, research and volunteer work.
Students' contact information should contain a permanent home address and email address other than the university email address, in the event the employer tries to make contact after graduation or during school breaks.
Cover Letter - To Be or Not to Be?
Cover letters are not optional - they are necessary. A recent New York Times article by Phyllis Korkki highlighted the importance of cover letters and included advice from corporate career counselors;it is a short and practical resource for crafting the perfect cover letter (Korkki, 2009). A cover letter enables candidates to convey their personality and desire for a position, and is a place for personal information or indirect experience that may be relevant but that doesn't belong in a resume. For example, a candidate who lacks experience or accomplishments for a particular position can indicate in the cover letter a willingness to learn and mention accomplishments in related areas.
Cover letters should be formal and professional. An informal cover letter is a common mistake. Korkki recommends using a formal salutation (Dear Sir or Madam) or the hiring manager's name (as opposed to "Hi There"), and a professional closing such as "Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, (name/email address)". The content of the cover letter should be tailored to the employer's needs rather than to the candidate's (avoid "I, I, I"). In addition, including too specific job requirements (i.e. salary, hours, location) in the cover letter may disqualify the candidate from the next step or from other open positions within the company.
When using a recruiter to apply for a position, a cover letter to the recruiter is recommended. The candidate is the best person to tailor his or her experience to the pursued positions;the recruiter can tweak as needed.
Resumes of the future?
Today, many new tools and resources are available for job candidates that are worthy of mention. Professional networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Xing, and Ryze, and even social networking sites like Facebook, enable audiologists to connect with other professionals in the field, get recommended for positions, list experience and expertise, join alumni and audiology specialty groups, post messages, photos, blogs, and more. These sites provide a nice supplement to other job seeking activities such as engaging recruiters, viewing job listings or uploading your resume to AudiologyOnline's Career Center, and personally contacting colleagues to inform them of interest in making a job change.
Will the professional profile on a social networking site replace the resume? Not likely, as the resume and social networking sites serve different functions. A resume provides a succinct, at-a-glance summary of your professional experience tailored to the needs of an employer. Employers do not have the time to sift through social networking sites seeking candidates who may or may not be interested in their positions, and sort through all the information posted by candidates that may not be relevant to their needs. While these sites can definitely be useful for job seekers in connecting with key contacts and learning about new opportunities, a well crafted resume and cover letter is still needed when a match is found and it comes time to apply for a position.
Video resumes are a natural extension of the rising use of video in online media. Search for "resume" on YouTube and you will find nearly 30,000 results, many of them video resumes from actual job seekers. Although some worry that video resumes will invite potential bias based on race, gender or age that are indiscernible on paper but not on video (Takeuchicullen, 2007), the practice is not used in audiology for other reasons. The first and foremost being relevance, followed by time. A candidate's look or appearance on video speaks nothing to his or her audiology credentials and expertise (the same logic applies to adding a photo on a resume). Communication skills are often important in audiology but these can be assessed in a brief telephone conversation, which is not rehearsed or produced and is therefore much more representative of a candidate's real skills. In addition, the time it takes to view a video resume - up to 3 minutes per resume plus time downloading or uploading, ensuring the format is compatible with one's computer, etc. - is not conducive to the time constraints, workflow and hiring practices of today's audiology hiring managers.
A sample resume is provided, Click Here to View Sample Resume (PDF) In viewing this resume keep in mind that the quality and effectiveness of a resume is determined not only by how it looks or how well it is written, but also by how well it is aligned with the employer's needs.
During today's challenging times, do not underestimate the importance of the resume in a job search. It is much more than a brief listing of a candidate's previous experience. After reading this article, we hope you will see it as a means to highlight those skills and achievements that you have as they relate specifically to each potential employer's needs. Developing an effective resume, like anything else of value, takes time, introspection and considerable effort. Your resume is a reflection of you as a person, as an employee and as a professional. It is your calling card, your unique fingerprint, your own personal billboard. Use it wisely and it can also be your opportunity to a bright and successful future.
Korkki, P. (2009, February 14). A cover letter is not expendable. Retrieved February 24, 2009 from www.nytimes.com/2009/02/15/jobs/15career.html?_r=1&em
Takeuchicullen, L. (2007, February 22). It's a wrap. You're hired! Retrieved February 24, 2009 from www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1592860,00.html
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009, March 6). The employment situation summary: February 2009. Retrieved March 6, 2009 from www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm
Martie Ormsby is the owner of Recruiting Solutions International (www.recruitingsolutionsintl.com), an international recruiting firm with a primary focus on the audiology profession and the hearing care industry. She founded the firm in 1998 recognizing the trend of increasing difficulty in finding highly-qualified people to meet the needs of the hearing impaired patient, as well as the multifaceted needs of the manufacturing, operations and distribution entities. Recruiting Solutions, Intl. is based in New London, NC, and also provides recruiting services for professional and industrial companies in a variety of other industries on a global basis. Martie has over twenty years of experience in the hearing industry, including founding a start up hearing aid company, and serving as president of a major hearing aid manufacturer. Martie can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Carolyn M. Smaka, Au.D. is Managing Editor of AudiologyOnline. During her career she has hired dozens of audiologists and has reviewed hundreds of resumes for audiologists and other positions, as national customer care manager for a leading hearing aid manufacturer and as regional director for a multi-office private practice. Since writing this article, she has also been working on updating her resume. Carolyn can be contacted at email@example.com