Your well-designed resume may be just the factor that gets an attorney to give you a chance. Use these tips for polishing your resume.
Describe your past job experience in past tense and current job in present tense
Start with your most current education, job or business, publications, if you have them, and then work backwards.
Spell out abbreviations
Remember that most attorneys are not familiar with medical terms, abbreviations and other aspects of medical language. Don’t use nurse speak – when we drop off words in a sentence and write like we are charting on a medical record. A well-designed resume has full sentences so that the reader doesn’t have to fill in information.
Use parallelism, which refers to selecting consistent forms of a word
For example, you might write that your job involved, “identifying patients who needed assessment, creating plans of care, and providing nursing care”. Use the same form of that verb throughout that sentence. That’s a good point to remember also when you’re writing reports.
Logically name your file when you save it
Don’t name it as “My CV 2017”. Name it with your name, your first name, your last name and then CV (PatriciaIyerCV). Keep in mind if you’re emailing your CV or resume to an individual, the recipient will want to save your file with a name that makes sense.
Look at your document to make sure that it’s complete
Make sure that you’ve completely included your contact information – name, address, phone number and email address. Double check all details to make sure they are correct.
Don’t include details that you’ve gone to a particular program for legal nurse consulting training if you are an expert witness, because that looks like you’re a hired gun and being an expert witness is your full-time occupation.
You wouldn’t see a physician put on his CV or her CV that this person is doing expert work or went to a particular program to learn how to do expert work. It would be unusual to find that. However, if you are presenting yourself as a behind-the-scenes consultant, you might want to stress your legal nurse consulting education.
Don’t list the fact that you are an expert witness on your CV
Don’t list the names of the cases that you’ve worked on. Don’t list the names of the attorneys that you have worked for. This makes it very easy for the opposing counsel to contact those individuals and ask for copies of reports that you’ve written on those particular cases. They may indeed want that information but make them work for it; don’t give them a path so that they can find it.
Don’t include stuffing
– needless, extraneous details, everything that you have ever done. 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’re not going to be able to demonstrate them when you’re working with attorneys. I know of a nursing expert witness who said she was “affiliated” with several nursing associations. Turned out she was not a member of any of them. That was awkward when it came out at trial.
Carefully proofread your document
Errors on your resume can be very embarrassing – I’ve seen a number of resumes with errors in dates or spelling. Ask someone else to also proofread it. Carefully check the dates. Are they accurate? Do your dates overlap, showing you worked in more than one place at a time? You may have, but be sure the details are accurate.
Legal nurse consultants have to be detail-oriented to succeed in our field. Prove you have the skills when you put together your well designed resume.
Pat Iyer is president of LegalNurseBusiness.com. She has reviewed hundreds of resumes.