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Leadership Executive June 7, 2024

Resume Tips and Guidelines

If you’re seeking new professional pursuits (or simply investigating more rewarding executive challenges), you’re not alone. This year’s B.E. Smith Intelligence Report indicated that more than a third (37%) of healthcare leaders are considering a change within one year. Nearly one in ten healthcare professionals are seeking change immediately. A wealth of opportunity awaits leaders who are prepared to take advantage of the steady job growth the healthcare industry currently offers. A strong resume is a must and can help you stand out among the competition.

As one of the nation’s preeminent executive search firms, B.E. Smith is keenly in tune with the competencies and qualities healthcare organizations seek in acquiring new leadership talent. By following these seven tips and strategies, your resume will best convey how your strategic skills match these requirements and optimize your ability to land the next career advancement opportunity.

Follow Resume Best Practices

A resume is the vehicle for showcasing your most creditable accomplishments. However, a muddy organization can unintentionally conceal your achievements or, worse, make a poor first impression. B.E. Smith only submits to clients resumes that follow the guidelines we have established based on our extensive recruitment experience and current industry standards.

In general, we recommend executive candidates keep resumes between two to four pages, omitting employment prior to 2000 (unless especially noteworthy). To adhere to best practices and ensure a greater chance of success, your resume should prioritize:

  • Job experience before education: Position your relevant executive job experience first, with your education/credentials to follow, as hiring organizations are more interested in what you’ve accomplished than your education itself. You should place your highest degree(s) and then credentials after your name at the top of the resume.
  • Role before employer: For each of your positions, list your job title first, then the employer organization. A potential employer typically focuses more intensively in initial screening on the level of the role you held than on where you held that role.

Tailor and Adapt Format as Necessary

Organizations may have specific rules for submitting a resume or could require specific formats. Following these guidelines will ensure a smooth recruitment process and avoid any potential delays. While it may seem minor, showcasing your ability to follow instructions alerts an organization that you not only have the skills to lead others but can also take direction.

Decide whether a curriculum vitae (CV) or traditional resume is more fitting for a particular entity. Most academic medical centers and higher education positions prefer some form of CV.

Convey Accomplishments Clearly—and Concisely

Employers today are focused on achievements, not job duties. As such, highlight your career accomplishments, not job descriptions. Emphasize initiatives that exemplify leadership competencies and underscore your knowledge of the critical issues healthcare organizations face today. Use examples that demonstrate the strategic thinking you bring to the executive roundtable.

Stress your most impactful leadership successes and strategic skill sets in a brief professional summary that illustrates your career path and goals. Be clear, concise, and compelling. This summary can comprehensively frame a recruiter’s view of you. Keep the summary to two to three sentences, and rewrite until you’re satisfied that it accurately represents the best of your professional capabilities and leadership promise.

Provide extra details on projects or initiatives that show measurable outcomes, particularly those that further an organization’s goals on quality, safety, and other important metrics. For each achievement, devote bullet points to:

  • Description of the situation faced
  • Execution approach
  • Outcomes that demonstrate your effectiveness and value

Assess Your Online Presence

The use of resume scanning software is the norm in healthcare recruiting today as organizations seek to expand their views of candidates and reduce interview selection risk. Identify relevant keywords and phrases that illustrate your target roles or skill sets, then include throughout the resume as well as any supporting materials.

According to the 2017 B.E. Smith Trends and Leadership Survey, 56% of healthcare leaders said social media plays a fair to significant role in identifying and managing career opportunities. To optimize your LinkedIn profile for career advancement, craft similar messaging from your resume (vs. copying your resume verbatim). Also, review your overall social media presence to avoid inartful or unwarranted references that don’t portray your background affirmatively.

Seek a Trusted Second Opinion

Spot messaging incongruity or other outright errors by asking a trusted advisor or mentor to review your resume. This can ensure it reflects your strategic strengths and accentuates the right notes for an executive position, such as collaboration and communication skills. If you are working with a search firm, you might be offered feedback or constructive criticism on your resume. Keep an open mind. Consider this another round of refinement toward ensuring the most polished product possible—and a step closer to new leadership opportunities.

Double-Check Accuracy

Accuracy may seem an obvious necessity, but it’s essential to emphasize. First, significant errors in your job history—even if unintentional— can sideline your consideration for coveted executive roles. Second, B.E. Smith creates a summary document, or “professional profile,” in addition to your resume. Incomplete, inaccurate, or unclear information impedes the process—and potentially your career advancement.

Master the Details

In resumes, details can be the difference-maker in whether you advance in the executive search process. Including the right details in the right places can ensure a more lasting first impression. In addition to providing geographic information for all positions and educational institutions (don’t assume such knowledge by prospective employers), your resume should also contain:

  • Brief organization descriptions: Include a one-sentence description of each facility in your employment history. Giving prospective employers such context is meaningful to showcase leadership scope. Consider such descriptors as: facility type (acute, post-acute, ambulatory), size by beds and FTEs, annual operating budget, profit status, and other key variables.
  • Any consulting details: If your background includes contract or consultant work, list the facilities and locations where you provided advisory services (unless confidential). This helps to showcase the diversity of your work experience and bolsters your credentials for interim management and other assignments that may be of interest.

Lastly, don’t overlook the small details. Before finalizing your resume, consider these style points:

  • Remain consistent with your font, choosing a style that’s easy to read.
  • Avoid long sentences or paragraphs, and use bullet points, where possible.
  • Spell check.


Healthcare’s changing regulations, workflows, and technologies are creating opportunities for executive healthcare professionals seeking new and exciting challenges. Leaders who best package past achievements with current skill sets position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities. A well-crafted resume is an important tool to optimize those efforts.

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Additional Executive Leadership Resources

While you continue your executive leadership job search, keep in mind that AMN Healthcare provides great support for our candidates. Begin the application process now, and then access the links below to learn how AMN Healthcare supports your advancement in healthcare.

  • Interim Executive Jobs: A great option for temporary, interim jobs while you continue your permanent job search (or if you simply want to explore what's out there) .
  • Permanent Executive Jobs: Great executive jobs in great locations. Full onboarding and support while you get up-to-speed in your new position.
  • EAP: Our interims gain access to a valuable set of Employee Assistance Program benefits.
  • Search All Leadership Jobs: Uncover new possibilities in your career by exploring both short and long-term options and permanent choices. 

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