So, you’ve decided it’s time to look for a new job in respiratory care. If you’re like most people, your first order of business is to dust off the resume you used last time you sought new employment and see what needs to be updated this time around.
What matters most to the RT managers who will be reviewing that resume to see if they want to bring you in for an interview? This is what three of them had to say about that.
Get your RRT
Lois Rowland, MS, RRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, FAARC, director of respiratory care and pulmonary function at VCU Health System in Richmond, VA, says the RRT credential tops her list.
“The RRT credential has been a requirement at VCU Health System for new hires for a few years,” Rowland said. ”We are not diminishing the rich experience or CRT credential of professionals who graduated from a CRT-only program many years ago, and we have such professionals on our staff whose skills and knowledge are amazing. However, we are recruiting for the long-term and if an applicant is RRT-eligible, then this credential should have been attained.”
From there, she looks for evidence that the candidate’s training, experience, and credentials truly match the position requirements and responsibilities. While new grads need not go overboard describing their clinical rotation experience, she will want to see evidence of at least shift lead experience for anyone seeking a supervisory position. For those seeking a diagnostic position, she would hope to see experience in bronchoscopy and/or pulmonary function testing and PFT credentials.
At her hospital, citing the number of years of experience is essential as well.
“If the position requires a minimum number of years of experience and the application or resume does not reflect this, our human resources recruiter will screen out the application and we will not be able to consider the applicant,” Rowland said.
The last item on her must-have list is an in-range salary requirement.
“Listing salary requirements outside of the range of the position will result in the applicant being screened out,” she emphasizes.
She notes salary ranges at her hospital are kept confidential, and all job offers are made according to internal equity with the position and years of experience.
“So listing a ‘low’ salary will not limit the salary offer,” Rowland said
“The first thing I look for when someone sends or hands me a resume is that it is a professional looking resume,” said Travis Houston, MHA, RRT, director of cardiopulmonary services at CaroMont Regional Medical Center in Gastonia, NC. “This tells me a little about how the candidate has prepared for this opportunity/interview, in addition to how important this job or position may be to them.”
He expects resumes to provide a clear timeline of employment as well — including all RT jobs and positions — and wants to know about the experiences the candidate has had at the other facilities he or she has worked at. Not only does that level of information help him gauge whether or not the candidate is right for the job being applied for, it also lets him see if the person might also be a candidate for other positions in the department.
He’s less interested in jobs the person may have held before attending RT school, unless they involve leadership roles.
“If they have had leadership experience in other fields, I want to see that on their resume.”
Experience is important to Diane Baltzell, BBA, RRT, IST manager, Entity Client Services, Texas Health Allen, Texas Health Plano, too.
“For example, if the post lists minimum one year recent experience in a Level 3 NICU, don’t apply if you have been working in adult long-term care for the past five years,” she said.
She is also impressed by candidates who can cite membership in their state and national professional organizations. To her, that’s “evidence that professional development is important to the candidate.”
What not to do
These managers have a few “pet peeves” about resumes to share as well. Here’s what tops their “turn off” lists:
“If a candidate is missing a significant time of employment — one year or greater — I want to know why, and if they don’t put in a bullet point about what happened during that time, I will look to the next candidate before I may come back to that candidate,” Houston said.
“If there are persistent job changes without clear reasons, the applicant may not be considered,” Rowland said. “Having worked at a job for only one year is not a problem, but having worked at multiple jobs for 1-2 years does not inspire confidence that our time and expense in orientation will be worthwhile.”
“Multiple short term jobs — less than one year — unless working as a traveler or related to military moves,” Baltzell said. “If the candidate has four full time positions in five years it indicates they have trouble meeting performance expectations.”
Errors in spelling and/or grammar
“Misspellings suggest a lack of attention to detail — not a trait we value for an RT responsible for thorough patient assessment,” Rowland said.
“Misspellings and grammar mistakes indicate a lack of attention to detail and a person who may not be willing to ask for help,” agrees Baltzell. Both qualities are dangerous in a clinician.”
“Another thing that turns me immediately off about a resume is when there are misspellings or grammatical errors,” Houston said. “This again speaks to the attention to detail of the candidate. Most, if not all, will use some type of word processor or computer template, which will specifically point out misspelling and grammatical errors.”
Carelessness, misleading, and oversharing
“One of my biggest pet peeves in a resume is when someone includes a cover letter and it is addressed to another organization or states they are requesting an interview for another position than the one I have posted,” Houston said. “If they are not going to double check a resume cover letter, I question whether they will double check the things they may do in the care of their patients.”
“If a resume states AARC membership, I check AARConnect to try to determine if the membership is currently active,” Rowland said. “If I do not find a listing, this is not a barrier to setting up an interview, but I will ask about it.”*
“Oversharing personal information,” Baltzell said. “Your resume doesn’t need to state that you love cats and have a pet iguana; this is not the place for fun facts.”
* All AARC members have an AARConnect profile; however, members may choose to not have their information included in the AARConnect directory.