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What Should Your Medical Assistant Resume Include?
How to Write a Medical Assistant Resume
In the current job market, finding a career that includes an excellent employment outlook isn’t easy. Couple this with a desire for a job that’s engaging, rewarding, and challenging, and you’ll find that there aren’t a ton of options available. In fact, you might be wondering whether there are any jobs out there that actually fit this description.
There is one job, in fact: medical assisting. If you’ve already attended an educational program to become a medical assistant, you may already be familiar with just what a promising career it truly is. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, things are really looking up for medical assistants. The total number of employed medical assistants nationwide is expected to grow by more than 184,000 over the next decade, which corresponds to an overall industry growth rate of more than 29%. With the number of medical assistants at around 634,000 as of 2016 and the total number expected to grow to more than 818,000 by 2026, that’s an increase of more than 18,000 new positions each and every year.
But how do you land one of these new jobs? Simply obtaining a medical assistant certification of some kind — such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam — isn’t enough in and of itself to land a job. Particularly when it comes to highly desirable positions that are likely to be more competitive, landing the job you want hinges on several factors. Your level of experience, your education, and your ability to articulate yourself and communicate clearly during an interview are all essential elements of successfully finding the job you want. But before you can get in front of a potential employer for an interview, you’ll need to send them a resume that catches their attention.
If you’ve never put together a medical assistant resume, you’re not alone. With thousands of new medical assisting program graduates entering the workforce each and every year, there are plenty of your peers who are in the same boat as you. Still, though, the bottom line is simple: without a good resume, your chances of catching the attention of a potential employer are slim to none.
The thought of sitting down and writing a resume can be daunting, particularly if you don’t have much experience with the task. Maybe this is the first resume you’ve ever put together, in fact. If that’s the case, don’t worry: we’ve put together this guide to walk you through exactly what your medical assistant resume should include. Read on to learn more.
Start With an Objective
Not all resumes are the same. Some industries call for very specific formatting. And depending on your education and professional background, you may want to take a different approach to the order in which you present your information in your resume. But regardless of how your structure your resume, there’s one thing that won’t change from one style of formatting to the next: your objective should always be at the top.
What is an objective? Simply put, your career objective section is intended to grab your employer’s attention and clearly communicate both what position you want and why you’re the most qualified candidate for that position.
Put yourself in the position of your potential employer. They’ve received dozens upon dozens — perhaps even many hundreds — of applications for a single position. Their job is to sort through a big stack of resumes and determine which ones are deserving of further consideration. The objective section gives your employer the opportunity to get a quick snapshot of who you are, what your background is, and what you might be able to offer to their organization. And, of course, it’s a chance for the employer to confirm that your resume was actually intended for the role in question. You’d be surprised by just how many applicants mistakenly apply to the wrong job, or submit their resume to the wrong person.
When applying for a job as a medical assistant, there are three things that you’ll want to highlight in the career objective portion of your resume. Namely, these are:
- Your personal and professional qualities which qualify you for the job and make you a great person to have on the employer’s team
- Your most relevant experience in the medical assisting field
- The best or highest level of medical assistant certification that you’ve obtained
Consider this section of your resume as the opportunity to sum up everything that you’ll be presenting below — including your educational background, your work experience, and your particular skill set — into a couple of sentences. This is your chance to let your future employer know why you’re the best person for the job.
Given that the career objective section is the first impression you’ll be making on your potential employer, it’s a good idea to spend an adequate amount of time working on the wording and content of this section. Here’s an example of an effective career objective section:
“Experienced, detail-oriented medical assistant seeking position at (employer). As an AAMA Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) for more than 4 years, I have extensive experience in both clinical and administrative settings along with a strong desire to help patients achieve optimal health.”
This career objective section mentions the position the applicant is applying to, their highest level of medical assistant certification, and their work experience (both generally and specifically). As a result, an employer reading this section knows that the candidate’s resume deserves further attention. They also now know what to expect as they continue reading.
Remember that writing the career objective section of your resume can be one of the most difficult parts of the entire resume writing process. If you find yourself stuck and aren’t sure where to begin, it can be helpful to simply make a list of some of your professional and educational qualifications, along with a few personal qualities that you think make you particularly good at what you do (and that render you qualified for the position that you’re applying to). Look over all of this information, and then begin to incorporate it into a career objective statement once you’ve better familiarized yourself with it.
Show Them Your Certifications
In the health care field, education and certifications are important. Technically speaking, some states don’t provide guidelines or licensing requirements for medical assistants. This means that you may be able to enter the job market without any specific medical assistant certifications, and without attending a particular program of study.
In the real world, though, certifications are important. For most positions, you’ll be competing against other applicants who are both certified and who have experience in the industry. If you don’t have any formal education and some of the other applicants do, your chances of successfully landing the position are slim to none. For that matter, you may find that you don’t even receive an invitation to interview for the job.
Given that certification is both often optional and also a significant differentiating factor between applicants, it can be a great thing to lead with at the beginning of your resume (following your career objective section).
As of 2018, there are a number of medical assistant certification options available to you once you’ve successfully completed a program of study. Some of these certifications include:
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
The requirements for each of these certifications vary from one organization to the next. Generally speaking, though, you’ll either need to have completed a program of education or have a certain number of years of continuous employment experience in order to obtain one of these medical assistant certifications. Getting certified involves sitting for and passing an exam, which you’ll want to study for in advance.
If you have any other professional certifications, this is a great place to showcase those, too. Examples might include being a Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT), or having attended a course that certifies you to perform CPR.
Demonstrate Professional Experience
Aside from presenting your potential employer with detailed information on your professional certifications, the next most important thing to highlight is any and all relevant job experience. To put it simply: if you’ve been employed at an organization related to the job you’re applying for in any way, shape, or form, it should be included here on your resume.
Many applicants and job seekers make the mistake of simply listing their former employers in reverse chronological order. Many more will list their employers with a couple of bulleted job duties included, or accompanied by a highly generic description of what the position entailed.
Again, put yourself in your potential employers’ shoes. They’re looking at dozens of resumes back to back, many of which contain applicants with very similar qualifications. Given that resumes tend to follow a fixed format, there are only so many opportunities to stand out from the rest of the applicant pool. One way is with a clear, communicative, attention grabbing career objective section. Another is by amply detailing your past job positions in a unique and engaging way.
Consider that many applicants might list a previous job position like this:
ABC Health Care – New York, NY – Certified Medical Assistant, 2014-2016
- Worked with physicians and nurses to provide patient care
- Performed administrative duties
This is a highly nonspecific description of the applicant’s experience, and it fails to communicate exactly what skills and experience they can bring to the table in a new position. Compare the above job experience section with the one below:
ABC Health Care – New York, NY – Certified Medical Assistant, 2014-2016
- Worked alongside physicians to provide patient-centered care to more than 1,000 patients and over 500 families
- Coordinated with nursing staff on various diagnostic procedures and specimen collection
- Performed patient vital checks, including blood pressure and heart rate
- Greeted patients at the front desk, answered phones, scheduled both new and existing patients, and made changes and updates to medical records as needed
The second description provides a tangible list of tasks that this applicant performed at ABC Health Care. It gives the employer assessing their resume a much better sense of what they’re qualified to do, and what tasks they’re already familiar enough such that they’d require little to no training to perform those tasks as part of their new job. Generally speaking, the more specific and action-oriented your job description reads, the better.
Remember to Include Education
Given that there are often no hard and fast advanced educational requirements for medical assistants, you might be tempted to forego this section. But just like the medical assistant certification section above, including any and all relevant education on your resume will help to set you apart from the pool of other applicants.
If you’ve attended any institution of higher education, this is the place to include it. Obviously, any educational program you attended that’s directly related to medical assisting should go here. But if you have an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, or some other form of education that’s not necessarily directly related to medical assisting, it may still be a good idea to include it here. Higher education in general will help you to stand out from other job applicants, even if you obtained a degree in something seemingly unrelated to medical assisting. You can even go so far as to include a bullet point or two related to what you studied as part of the educational program, along with how it’s relevant to your work as a medical assistant.
Highlight Your Best Skills
Last but not least, you want to make sure that you include any and all personal and professional skills that make you especially qualified for the job.
If you’re a recent graduate with limited professional experience, beefing up this section of your resume can help to balance out the way you’re presenting yourself to a potential employer. In other words, you can use the skills section of your resume to offset your relatively limited job experience section.
Do you have extensive computer experience? Are there any software programs you’re especially familiar with? List those things here. What about soft skills such as teamwork, communication, and problem solving? If you believe your past experience has helped you develop any particular strengths in these areas, be sure to include those skills, too.
Medical Assistant Certification
Congratulations on putting together your medical assistant resume! As a last word of advice: more than any other section of your resume, the certification section is perhaps the most important in helping you to stand out from the crowd. If you haven’t yet obtained certification from one of the organizations listed above, it’s never too late to get started. ScopeNotes™ offers online practice exams and study resources designed to help you pass your medical assistant certification exam with flying colors. To learn more about our affordable pricing options, click here.