Entering the workforce after finishing your education can be a frightening or intimidating thing for many people. This emotion is not without causation, as it represents one of the more dramatic shifts you will have undergone at that point in your life.
Nonetheless, it doesn’t need to be terribly stressful project if you put the right preparation and effort into beginning your application process the right way. For students earning a medical billing and coding certificate, one of the most valuable preparatory tools at your disposal is your resume.
While it may seem just like another piece of paper listing your credentials, your resume is actually far more important than you may realize. It’s your chance to separate yourself from a herd of other applicants with similar qualifications. If you’re looking for a way to position yourself well as you hit the job market, consider these suggestions for bettering your resume as a medical biller and coder.
Consider the order of importance
When designing your resume, it’s important to note that where the information is placed on the page is just as important as the information itself. For example, Quint Careers recommends following the ‘resume ingredients rule,’ which they attribute to resume expert Donald Asher.1
Effectively, this rule states that when going in for a job interview you should ensure that the information on your resume is arranged in order of the importance it will hold to your interviewer or audience. As an aspiring medical biller and coder, your education and any past work experience that you have in the field is going to be the most vital thing that your potential employer will look for.
In keeping with this, you’re going to need to arrange these two items near the top of your resume, ideally right below your contact information. Be ready to speak to both of these qualifications in depth, as your interviewer will likely quiz you on them to determine exactly how much skill and information you retained from these experiences.
Tailor it to the specific job
This is one of the trickier aspects of developing a resume, but also has the potential to be the most rewarding move that you will make throughout your job search process. As Monster recommends, it is important to tailor your resume to the requirements and specifications of the exact role that you are applying for.2
Even if every single job that you’re looking at is a medical billing and coding role, you should consider the specific wording of each individual job post and develop a slightly different resume for each. For example, if a job posting for a coding position states that inter-office communication abilities will be absolutely vital for that specific practice, then you may want to make a point about your experience with this from internships or former jobs early in your resume.
Inversely, if the posting focuses solely on hard coding skills, be more in depth about your specific coursework on that version of your resume. Over time, you’ll begin to notice that this allows you to steer interview conversations towards your strengths as a biller and coder and exactly how you could pose a considerable benefit to the practice that you are applying to work at.
Brevity and detail
As you move onward throughout your career, you’ll come to learn that resumes need not be entirely comprehensive collections of every professional or academic success you’ve ever had. Rather, they should be brief, high level overviews of what you are capable of and what you’ve done to gain that expertise. With this in mind, your resume should rarely ever exceed one page. It’s far better to have a neat, orderly and organized resume than a long winded, scatterbrained one.
With this in mind, if you still feel the need to add a collection of your work to your resume for demonstrative purposes, consider including a link to an online portfolio. This will give your interviewer or evaluator the chance to oversee larger samples of your work and availability on their own time and will also show initiative on your part.
As PayScale has pointed out though, it’s important that you take the time to test the functionality of these links before submitting your resume, so as not to look unprofessional.3
1) Hansen, Katherine, Quint Careers, ‘Ten Easy Ways to Improve Your Resume: Tips for Job Seekers’, 2015, http://www.quintcareers.com/improving_resume.html
2) Purdy, Charles, Monster, ‘Creative Ways to Improve Your Resume’, 2015, http://career-advice.monster.com/resumes-cover-letters/resume-writing-tips/creative-ways-to-improve-your-resume-hot-jobs/article.aspx
3) Ganeshan-Singh, Padmaja, ‘9 Easy Ways to Improve Your Resume in 5 Minutes’, 9/12/2014 http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2014/09/9-easy-ways-to-improve-your-resume-in-5-minutes