The first thing you need to do is step back and look at your resume. Realistically, it probably looks pretty impressive if you’re a physical therapist. If you’re a corporate recruiter, not so much. A non-clinical resume will look very different from a clinical one, at least if you intend to land an interview with it 🙂
You absolutely have to look at your resume from the eyes of the hiring manager of the job you want, not the job you have.
Therefore, each resume you create will be tailored to a specific role. Let’s say you’re going for a copywriter role in this example.
Tailoring your first non-clinical resume to a specific job.
It might be painful, but you’re going to be doing a lot of pruning.
- That advanced spinal mobilization course you took?
Not relevant to any copywriting role (unless it’s for a manual therapy CEU company or something), and it’s stealing space from something more important you should highlight on your resume. Delete.
- The fact that you “managed a complex caseload of patients with advanced progressive neuromuscular diseases”?
Impressive, but not relevant to most jobs (unless you plan to write about said progressive neuromuscular diseases). Delete.
The point here is that we’re cutting the words that will only distract a hiring manager from the qualities he or she is seeking. The good news is that you’re going to get to play up lots of cool things you’ve done that you never really thought mattered.
- Captain of your kickball team?
Awesome. That shows you have leadership skills. Add it to your resume.
- Always wound up giving the new PTs a tour of the hospital?
Perfect! You have experience with on-boarding new talent. This might come in handy if you’re considering project management.
- Got a knack for blogging?
Wrote for NewGradPhysicalTherapy.com? Excellent. Those belong on your resume.
- Managed a snow cone stand in high school?
You have leadership skills. Include this experience on your resume.
The objective or summary on a non-clinical resume.
At the top of every resume is an objective or a summary. This is the very first thing a recruiter or hiring manager will see about you. Make it sizzle.
Here’s an example of a summary:
“I’m an enthusiastic, flexible, and detail-oriented healthcare copywriter. I have a doctorate in physical therapy with two years of clinical care experience in an outpatient orthopedic setting, and I have experience with managing a team of three clinicians and two techs.”
This says it all! You’re a copywriter, you’ve got a great personality, and you have leadership experience. If they’re looking for a future managing editor for a healthcare publication, you should be a top candidate!
Here’s an example of an objective:
“I’m a physical therapist who is seeking a non-clinical role in copywriting. I have a doctorate in physical therapy and three years of clinical care. My work has been published on ______, _______, and ________.”
Prove that you understand the role.
If you do not understand the nature of the role to which you’re applying, you will have no shot at landing the position. Your resume should reflect some of the key requirements in your experiences.
For example, if the role requests that you “demonstrate flexibility by working with creative, UX, and marketing teams,” be sure that you make one of your bullet points say, “demonstrate flexibility by working with physicians, case managers, and nursing staff in collaborative environment.”
The length of your non-clinical resume.
Two pages is typically plenty to highlight your best skills that are applicable to the role.
Remember, be ruthless in slashing your clinical skills unless they directly relate to the role. And don’t be afraid to highlight experiences that you might not feel are relevant.
Absolutely include volunteer activities, even if they’re not relevant to the role you’re pursuing. If you volunteer for a women’s empowerment organization, a female hiring manager will kvell.
If you work with animals or volunteer at a shelter, point it out. An animal-loving recruiter will be feel compelled to push your resume forward.
Is there anything else that can make me stand out?
Yes! I like to include a reference to my Enneagram score and my Myers-Briggs score. These personality tests are often used in progressive organizations (you know, the ones that treat their employees well), and your scores will provide a great talking point.
Also, do NOT skip a cover letter. Your cover letter is your chance to explain all the questions a recruiter or hiring manager might have about your resume.
After all, a hiring manager will likely think to herself, “Why on earth is a physical therapist applying for a healthcare strategist role?”
It’s your resume’s job to answer what you have done in the past that makes you qualified for the role. You’re flexible. You’re good with people. You have excellent communication skills.
It’s your cover letters’ job to answer why you’re making this move, and why the hiring team should take a chance on you. Look for an article about your first non-clinical cover letter soon!