CPC-A’s, who are new to the medical coding field, want every advantage in landing that first job. In addition to obtaining your CPC-A and being confident with your skills set, another key to the ultimate success is a killer resume.
A resume introduces you to a prospective employer. It is your first chance to sell your experience, skills, and qualifications. Competition for jobs in a distressed economy can be a challenge that’s why it is important to have a clear and standout resume. Jobs in nearly all healthcare fields are growing at an astounding rate. Landing that first job can be tricky but a killer resume can give you that competitive edge.
There are three main styles of resumes: functional, chronological and a combination of the two.
A functional resume emphasizes skills, experience, and qualifications in no specific date order. It focuses on skills and qualifications over experience.
A chronological resume lists education and work history with the first being the most recent. This type of resume focuses on a strong work history.
A combination of the two resume styles lists skills, qualifications, and abilities first, and then gives a brief chronological rundown of work and educational history. A combination resume is usually very successful for a CPC-A who may have some relevant work history but not a lot of work history doing medical coding. It gives the CPC-A the platform to entice the interviewer with a strong list of qualifications, skills, and abilities, before indicating that the work history in medical coding may be lacking.
What type of skills, abilities, and qualifications should be listed for a medical coding job? List your most pertinent skills and abilities first. If you have worked in a doctor’s office assisting with billing, you could list strong medical billing skills first on the resume.
It is a good idea to list skills, qualifications, and abilities in three separate lists. Skills might include software that you have worked with and data entry. Qualifications might include any certifications that you have. Look at your education and work history and pull out the aspects that qualify you to do the job you are applying for. Abilities would include things like time management, attention to detail, ability to meet deadlines or strong ability to work under pressure.
For a good combination resume, after you list your skills, qualifications, and abilities, you would then briefly list your education and work history. It is important to include the name of the educational institution, dates attended, and certificate/diploma/degree attained. In the job history section, you should list jobs going back 5 years. List the name of the company, dates, job title, brief list of duties, and why you left.
Of course, in the beginning of every resume, usually centered at the top, are your contact details: name, address, telephone number, and email address.
In creating a killer resume, do not use fancy fonts. Font size should be around 8 to 10 point. Avoid using colors or adding images (except for your photo). Professionals in the healthcare field are looking to hire professionals. Your ability to be creative with colors and fonts is not what a prospective employer is looking for. Proofread your resume several times. Make sure there are no typographical, spelling, punctuation or grammar errors. Use bold, highlight, and caps very sparingly in your resume. It would be okay to bold the main headings of each section. Your resume should be no more than two pages.
It is always a good idea to include a brief cover letter to your resume. The cover letter would explain why you want the job, what you bring to the table, why you feel you are right for the job, and thanking the interviewer for taking time to consider you for the position. You don’t want a long cover letter. You want to come across as professional but friendly. Here is an example of a simple and clear statement: Whereas I am a new graduate of XYZ medical coding program and newly credentialed as CPC-A, I am eager to learn your systems and to become an integral part of your organization.
Remember that a killer resume isn’t about creativity with colors, fonts, and images, but is about being creative with how you present relevant information. MS Word has imbedded templates for resumes and cover letters. Additionally, you can use any search engine to come up with great templates to use to create your resume. If you simply are not good with wording or formatting, it may pay to seek a resume service to create a great resume for you.
The last tip for a killer resume is to think about how to turn a potential weakness into a strength. If you lack experience in the field, you can emphasize your certification, excellent training, and the fact that you are amenable to learning new systems, procedures, and have a fire and passion about your new career. Also, emphasizing success in other related fields will bolster a weakness in job experience in the target field. Additionally, coming across as energetic, on fire, and ready to work hard will assist in overcoming a perceived weakness of “just starting out.” A company is willing to invest in individual who they feel will stay with the company and who have the fire and energy to succeed on the job.
The field of medical coding is booming with the implementation of ICD-10 in 2014 with the aging baby boomers accessing healthcare, and many older medical coders retiring. The field is ripe and lucrative. Give yourself the competitive edge by creating a killer resume.