How to Write Your First Physician Assistant Resume

If you're a soon to be physician assistant grad, getting your resume in order is top priority. For some PA students, the task is simple. Years of working as an EMT or other valuable direct patient care experience back up a recently acquired physician assistant education making for a solid CV. For other PA new grads, drafting a resume proves to be a daunting task. Limited relevant experience leaves a resume looking too lean to land a competitive job opportunity. 

<--break->Facing a similar situation myself as a new nurse practitioner, the blinking cursor of my laptop screen seemed to taunt me as I sat down to draft my resume. Fortunately, based on advice from an advisor and consulting several other professionals, I came up with what proved to be a resume that landed me a job, lack of experience or not. 

So, what is the best way to package yourself in your first physician assistant resume? Here are the components physician assistant new graduates must include.

Header

As on any resume, your first physician assistant resume must include a header stating your name followed by your address, phone number and e-mail address.  Don't forget that you are now a certified PA.  Behind your name list your credentials, PA or PA-C. 

Education

Education must be included on every resume no matter the position to which you are applying. Start your list with the institution where you received your physician assistant degree followed by your undergraduate education. List the colleges and universities you have attended in descending chronological order. Be sure to include your major and/or specialty as well as the date you completed each program. Stop after your college experience. Do not include where you went to high school. Even if you had the best time ever in 11th grade and were prom king or queen, high school is too far gone to include on professional documents. 

Graduate Clinical Experience

If you're a new physician assistant, remember, you do have experience. You've attained thousands of clinical hours throughout your PA program regardless of the breadth of your prior healthcare experience. Showcase this work in your resume. List the clinics where you completed your clinical hours, the name of your precepting physician or PA, the facility and your primary responsibilities at each site. Listing your clinical placements allows you to present a resume with relevant experience to employers even if you have not formally worked as a physician assistant. 

Work Experience

Following your PA clinical experiences, list jobs you have held, particularly those related to healthcare.  While these don't specifically qualify as physician assistant experience, they have provided you valuable healthcare learning opportunities and will be seen as an asset by employers. Eliminate jobs you've held that are entirely unrelated to healthcare if possible. Although spending summers as a college student scooping ice cream builds character, listing the position on a professional resume detracted focus from your aspirations as a healthcare provider

Other Experience

Many physician assistants and PA students have sought out valuable volunteer opportunities and other experiences giving them additional healthcare knowledge. If you have any experience outside your previous employment that relates the the position for which you are applying, include it in your resume. For example, if you are applying for positions in pediatrics and regularly volunteer with children, this would be valuable information to include in your resume.

Licensure and Certification

Physician assistants must be licensed in order to practice.  List the fact that you are a licensed physician assistant in the appropriate state on your resume. Additionally, list your certification. If you have applied for but not yet received your license or certification, write 'pending' next to the credential. If you have not yet applied for your license or certification, note 'anticipated' and the date you plan to obtain the credential. 

Professional Memberships

Memberships in organizations like the American Academy of Physician Assistants show that you are committed to the PA profession. Such memberships indicate an interest in being involved with the healthcare community and are looked on favorably by employers. If you aren't a member of a professional physician assistant organization, now is a good time to think about joining.

Relevant Skills

Hobbies should not be listed on a professional resume but relevant skills, yes! If you speak a second language, are proficient in EMR systems or have specialized procedural skills, include these on your resume. You never know what skills will land you a job. 

Still have questions about how to write your first physician assistant resume? Sign up to receive the MidlevelU Career Advisor 8-week eBook series which includes a sample new grad resume, job interview tips and more! 

 

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