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Tune Up Your Resume For A Medical Specialty Change

Having a great resume is critical if you want to stand out from the crowd and get noticed by a prospective employer. Creating a blockbuster resume can be especially challenging if you are a medical professional looking to change your clinical specialty. Each specialty requires a specific set of skills and experience pertaining to that area of medicine. For this reason, it is essential to fine tune your resume before you submit it to ensure that you are presenting yourself in the best possible light. It doesn't matter if you are a seasoned professional or a newbie to the specialty, by following a few of these simple tips you can make yourself a top tier candidate.

Tips For Advanced Practitioners: Tune Up Your Resume For a Medical Specialty Change

Focus on the Job Requirements, Not the Title

To increase your chances of success, you should focus on the job requirements section of the job posting. Each vacancy lays out exactly what a prospective employer is looking for in their ideal new employee in its requirements description. After you ascertain what it is they are looking for, start scouring your background for similar applicable experience.

Ask yourself, "Do I have any related skills or training in the specialty area?"

If you haven't worked in the specialty area for which you are applying try thinking about your past clinical experiences, both paid and unpaid. Were there any clinical rotations during school or specialized training you may have received prior to becoming an Advanced Practitioner (AP) that might be applicable? Did you choose an elective clinical rotation in this particular specialty or receive additional on the job training in an applicable skill set? Many NPs and PAs work as allied health professionals prior to becoming an Advanced Practitioner. Think about what skill sets those positions may have entailed and if they could also be used to illustrate your competency in the new specialty.

Don't forget about your volunteer work.

Volunteer work is just as important as paid work so be sure to include it. Capitalize on your applicable volunteer experiences by including them in your resume to illustrate that you have the required know how to be effective in the position. You may also consider taking a volunteer position in the specialty to develop the skill sets they are looking for and gain experience. Many local nonprofits and missions are in great need of volunteer medical help and will be happy to see you.

Try a Skills-Based Resume Format

Your resume is your first impression, so make it count. The resume format you choose can greatly affect the impact you have on a prospective employer so evaluate your options. Many people use the popular chronological resume or CV format. This format lists your employment history in order, generally starting with your most recent job and working back in time. If you are applying for a position that is different from anything in your past work history consider trying a skills-based resume format. This resume format emphasizes any relevant skill sets that you have in relation to the job you are applying.


If you are currently working in Family Practice and you are applying for a Pulmonary opportunity think about restructuring your format to include your skills in that area. Try using headers like Respiratory Experience and under that list your relevant skill sets.

Respiratory Experience:

3 years' experience diagnosing, treating and managing a variety of respiratory diseases to include Asthma, COPD and Pneumonia in both pediatric and adult patient populations. Skilled at counseling patients on proper respiratory medication use and monitoring of their condition. Experienced with interpretation of Pulmonary Function Testing and Peak Flow Meter Results.

A skills-based format will illustrate that you have the necessary skill sets to perform the job even though you didn't have "Pulmonary" in your job title.

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