After a few months of turkey, holiday cookies, cheese balls, chocolate, fancy popcorn, hot cocoa, catered parties, and candy canes, in rolls the New Year, and it’s no surprise that most of our resolutions are a direct result of all that food we ate. So, while we may spend the next couple of months trying to find pants that fit, keep in mind that the New Year can also be a great time for finding a job that’s the perfect fit. Although there are many aspects of a job search, one of the first things you can do is to make sure your resume is a fit—make sure it fits the position and make sure it fits the employer.
Many times, when I’m looking over resumes for coding students and graduates, I suggest that they tailor their resume to the specific industry, position, and employer they are applying for. Most people think of the word “tailor” in terms of clothing; when something is tailor made it is likely specifically selected, cut, sewn, and pinned up to fit our exact body type, style, and preference. In the end we have something that is completely individual and exactly what we wanted. If price, time, and talent weren’t an issue, wouldn’t you rather have all your clothes tailor made? It would be a lot simpler than having to go through multiple stores and multiple racks just to find something that fits your price range only to find that it doesn’t fit just right. Employers feel the same way. If they could be given the perfect applicant, it would make the choice a lot easier. Even though their ideal applicant doesn’t always exist, they’re usually willing to train the right person—in effect take them to the tailor after they buy to get them to become that perfect fit. Keep in mind though, just as you wouldn’t pick an article of clothing that is far from what you’re looking for with the intention of tailoring it later, an employer would rather have someone that only needs a few tweaks and alterations; it’s going to be an investment of a lot less time and expense.
So how do you tell an employer that you’re the right candidate for the job, that you’re a perfect fit, and that you’re worth the investment? Tailor your resume. A resume is a document that represents you and all the skills and knowledge you have to bring to the workplace, so you want it to match what they’re looking for. You can use the job listing, the company website, and what you know about an industry to write an effective resume. Here is a great exercise with five effective & simple steps that if practiced can help you to make sure your resume is a perfect fit!
Step 1) Identify the key words in the job listing. If you don’t have a job listing, write down what you know about the job and the employer using a company website and your industry knowledge.
Step 2) Identify the key words in your resume. Read over your resume and remember because a resume is only a one page document, every word on that page counts.
Step 3) Compare. Whether it’s going through and making check marks, highlighting, or just reading through your resume and the job listing side by side, take a closer look how and why they are or are not similar.
Step 4) Incorporate. Make sure your resume contains the keywords: the nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Practice rewording your job descriptions, objective, and skill
sections so they reflect and match what is in the job listing.
Step 5) Polish. After using the key words you’ve identified, take a look and see what final touches you can add to your own words in your resume to make sure it fits the industry as best it can. Take a look at the nouns, verbs, and adjectives you use throughout your resume and take out what isn’t pertinent. Just because it’s not on your resume, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If it’s an industryspecific term that doesn’t apply to medical or coding, remove it or reword it. Use action verbs instead of “get,” do,” “made,” etc. These words are too general, and there is always a better word out there that is more descriptive that will more readily catch the eye of the employer. Lastly, use descriptive adjectives occasionally. Adjectives can add detail and dimension, what you are really after when creating a resume that gets the attention of employers.
Although the listing for the job you’re applying for is the best place to gather keywords, I have included a word list in this issue of the Coding Bulletin for you to refer to as you’re catering your resume to this particular industry. It isn’t a comprehensive list, but chances are you will run into quite a few of these terms as you begin to read through ads posted for medical coding jobs. Incorporate as many of these terms into your resume as possible.
We hope you have a happy and safe New Year! And remember, along with the alterations you may have had to do on your pants, consider working on your resume and making a few alterations as well. They will surely help you stand out as an applicant as you begin applying for jobs.
Career Step offers a resume review as part of the graduate services included in your program. As a graduate or student of our program, we encourage you apply this advice and also to take advantage of this service by sending your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CS Coding Student Support Team