Now that you have located an opening at a law firm and completed your research, you decide you want to apply for a job. You will need to send an LNC resume. What should you know about how to present your credentials?
Are these hidden traps on your curriculum vitae or LNC resume?
You have accumulated a lot of great professional expertise and experience. Your potential employer asks for a copy of your resume or CV. The difference between these two is primarily in the area of focus and length. A CV provides a greater depth of information. A CV has no set number of pages. It can be three pages or longer.
I have looked at thousands of resumes and CVs. The way you present your information is critical.
The attorney will evaluate whether your resume makes it worthwhile having you come in for an interview.
Here are some of the guidelines you should follow when you prepare your document. These also apply if you are an expert witness.
Pay attention to formatting
Design does make a difference in how your information is perceived. Your goal is to simply and clearly provide pertinent details about your background and skills.
Use formatting such as headers, bold, and bullets. The headers organize the information into categories. The bold provides contrast and visual appeal. Bullets make it easy to skim the information.
Use standard fonts in a size 12. Don’t reduce the font to 10 or lower in order to reduce the number of pages on your resume.
Use serif fonts. They are more effective for formal or scientific contexts such as documents.
People see sans serif fonts as more informal and innovative.
Light fonts convey beauty and femininity. Medium weight fonts are most readable. Bold fonts convey extreme connotations: daring, assertive, solid and substantial. Bolding may have a more negative connection of domineering and overbearing. Bolding makes it difficult to read large blocks of text.
Rounded fonts convey comfort, softness and femininity. People prefer visual curved objects. Angular shapes trigger a sense of threat and therefore a negative bias. Rounded fonts are more effective for domains related to softness, comfort, beauty. In the right context, angular fonts work better for formal or official contexts, or to convey durability or masculinity.
Don’t use slanted (italics) fonts for large blocks of text. The words will be difficult to read. Mixed case letters are more readable than all caps.
Use no more than 2 fonts in a document.
Keep the margins to standard 1”. Allow sufficient space between elements. They should not be densely clumped together.
Use page numbering at the bottom of the page. Use the insert feature so that as you edit your document, the number remains at the bottom of the page.
1. An attorney needs to know your mailing address (not a PO box), phone numbers (work, home and cell) and email address. If you cannot accept calls during work time, it is sufficient to list your cell and home numbers.
2. Have a professional email address. It is fast and easy to set up a free account with gmail.com or aol.com. Attorneys do not want to see an address like Petesmom@hotmail.com. The very best email address is one that includes your website, such as GailHolland@HollandLNC.com.
3. It is not necessary to include zip codes for the cities where you worked. They offer no value.
4. Stress aspects of your background that show you are a team player and have clinical expertise. Avoid including personal information, hobbies, or community activities.
5. Describe your current job with bullet points phrased in the present tense. These might include terms like “assesses, coordinates or assists”. Describe the main activities of previous jobs in the past tense: “assessed, coordinated, assisted.”
6. Consider the importance of being published in clinical journals. Published articles add to your credibility and open doors for other opportunities.
7. List your board certifications, publications, and memberships in professional associations.
This is what you should NOT put into your document
1. Don’t include a career objective, such as “Find a job in a progressive labor and delivery unit.” That would be appropriate if you were applying for a job, but it’s not appropriate if you are looking for work as an LNC.
2. Don’t include your birth date, marriage date, names and ages of your children, hobbies, political and religious affiliations and extra-curricular activities. It’s never possible to anticipate how somebody is going to react to those. In this era of identity theft, protect your private details. For the same reason, do not list your social security number or nursing license number.
3. Don’t stuff your document with courses you have taken (but not presented) – in other words, everything that you have ever done.
4. Do not include your license number. In today’s era of identity theft, why add this information? It serves no purpose to provide the number.
5. Do not include zip codes or full addresses of the places where you have worked.
6. Don’t misrepresent your credentials. You’ve probably read stories about people who have been caught in lies. If you lie about your skills or your background, you’ll get caught.
7. Don’t fail to include your contact information – phone number, address, and email. It sounds silly, but I have seen documents without this information and had no way to hand a case to an LNC. Don’t lose out.
8. An embarrassing typo or dates out of sequence could cost you the job offer. Legal nurse consulting is detailed work that requires the ability to proofread.
Review your resume or CV at least twice a year to keep it current and ready to produce in a moment.
Pat Iyer MSN RN LNCC has reviewed thousands of LNC resumes and C.V.s. She made hiring decisions by first looking at how well the candidate could put together the credentials. As part of a 4 session online training called, Polish Your Legal Nurse Consulting Writing Skills: Learn How to WOW Your Attorney Clients Multimedia Course, she spend an hour sharing the fundamentals of how you can present a polished resume. The course also provides a set of medical records so you can prepare a sample report. Grab the details at the link.