Your LNC resume is one of the most important documents you will ever write. The impact of a good or poor resume on your future reaffirms my continuing theme in this blog that great writing isn’t only for writers. These points will help you to make a resume that will get attention.
Attorneys and LNCs who hire subcontractors or employees are used to scanning resumes to quickly hone in on qualifications. How do you make yours attention-getting? How can you assemble your qualifications to demonstrate you are capable of doing medical legal work?
I’ve looked at thousands of resumes of opposing experts, potential employees and expert witnesses who wanted me to hire them. I was amazed by the number of errors I saw: overlapping dates, incorrect phone numbers, and many other mistakes.
Here’s what went through my mind: “Evaluating cases required intense detail-oriented work. If this person can’t avoid making errors on a resume, how will he or she manage the details of a case?”
A Resume Is Not a Curriculum Vitae
It’s important to make this distinction right away. If you work with expert witnesses or are one, you may be more familiar with the CV, which is typically a more extensive listing of accomplishments.
The CV describes your background, your experience, your affiliations, your achievements, and your certifications. A resume is typically shorter.
How Long Should Your LNC Resume Be?
The answer depends on your experience. If you’re a recent nursing school graduate, it’ll be about one page long. If you have some job experience, it will likely be two pages, and someone with 15-20 years of experience may have a three-page résumé.
Most nurses who become LNCs typically have at least 5 years of clinical experience.
Your first page has the greatest importance. Use it to summarize your experience and accomplishments. Make the reader want to read on. Your second and possibly third page will provide your chronological experience, starting with the most recent experience.
Resume Do’s and Don’ts
- Do put full contact information at the top of your resume and VERY carefully proofread this. I’ve tried to reach expert witnesses to talk about hiring them, only to find an error in a phone number.
- Do put your contact information on each page of your resume. That way, if pages get separated, the potential employer can still reach you.
- Do use a size 12 font. I recently saw a document written in size 9 font – way too small for reading ease. Use 12-point Times New Roman for the text. It’s more economical in terms of the number of words it gets on the page.
- Do use 1 inch margins. The same resume written in size 9 font had one half inch margins. This clearly looked like the author was trying to cram the content into a minimum number of pages.
- Don’t end the resume with “References available upon request.” The person who is considering hiring you will ask for them.
- Do use a consistent format for dates.
- Do spell out abbreviations, even if you think the reader may be familiar with them. If you don’t, attorneys may see you as someone who looks for short cuts. That in itself isn’t bad in the name of efficiency, but they can also suspect you of cutting corners, being too hasty, and perhaps lacking the ability to speak and write with clarity. That may sound far-fetched, but do yourself a favor and type “Connecticut.”
I received a CV from a neurosurgeon who listed her Social Security number and her drug enforcement agency number, which permits her to prescribe narcotics.
I don’t think she realized that her CV would be passed on from one attorney to a paralegal to a clerk or providing her Social Security number and DEA number made identity theft and fraud much easier for the people who handled her document. She graciously thanked me for my recommendation to remove these numbers.
Don’t list your RN license number, for the same reason. Avoid other traps.
A Final Note
You can write and design a good resume on your own. I strongly urge you to do some research regarding the current standards for resume formats and styles.
You may decide that investing in getting someone else to do your resume is worth it. However, you still need to provide correct, typo-free information for that person, and reviewing this blog post will help you with that.
Never submit a resume without having someone else proofread it. One typo can disqualify you from further consideration.
No matter which direction you take, be sure to get someone you know to be a grammarian to look over your resume. You’ll be glad you did.
Pat Iyer is president of The Pat Iyer Group, which develops resources to assist LNCs obtain more clients, make more money and achieve their business goals and dreams.
Pat started a resume creation business in the 1990s. She charged $5 for formatting a person’s resume. My, how times and prices have changed. You can’t hire Pat to do that today.
Pat’s related websites include the LNC business coaching services offered through LNCAcademy.com, the continuing education provided on LNCEU.com, the podcasts offered at podcast.legalnursebusiness.com, and writing tips supplied at patiyer.com.