Tips to consider for an informatics resume

When I first started my career in informatics, I had no idea even how to find a job.

I only found out about the jobs because a friend forwarded my information to a local hospital which was hiring clinical analysts, and that’s when I learned that most jobs are not advertised as “nursing informatics” jobs, but as ‘clinical analyst’ jobs.

Once I figured that out, my next step was to draft a resume that would merge my nursing and IT experience, and that was not an easy task for me.

Going to a Professional Resume Writer

Since I had a hard time coming up with a resume that bridged the gap between my two different academic backgrounds, I ended up seeking a ‘professional’ who could help me out.

As the cliché says, cheaper is not always better. The first person who drafted my resume charged 50 dollars which I thought was a steal. Of course when I got the resume, I was highly disappointed with it and had to hire somebody else.

The next person charged around 100 dollars or so, but this time around, I was highly pleased with the end result and later I found out that recruiters also thought that it was a very good resume as it had a nice layout of my IT and nursing experience.

Not Taking The Resume Seriously

Unfortunately, from what I noticed in past interviews with candidates seeking an informatics position, it seems that not many candidates realize that resumes are very important when trying to land an interview for a job.

I’m not a professional resume writer, but I have seen and evaluated enough resumes to get an idea of what a good one might look like.

However, most places nowadays have automated resume readers (there must be an industry term for that).

Anyway, in many large hospitals a computer scans the resumes for key words and then, based on an algorithm, the resumes are reviewed by HR, who sends them to the hiring manager.

No doubt that smaller hospitals could review resumes individually, but that’s even a stronger reason to make sure your resume look good and that is targeted to the job you’re applying for.

The Biggest Mistake in a Resume

One of the biggest mistakes I have seen when reviewing resumes is having a generic resume for the job.

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If a position is looking for an application trainer, then make sure the resume is geared to that specific job.

The resume should address your experience as a trainer by including things like, who did you train, number of trainees, what subject you trained, etc.

Amazingly enough, many people create one resume and they submit it to all the positions they apply for. Or at least, that’s what it looks like.

We once had a candidate who had a nursing degree and experience in the field, along with IT experience.

Although he was a very good candidate to consider for the job, his resume was too generic and it went to the thrash bin, simply because there were better resumes with similar experience to choose from the pile and those resumes had targeted phrases that were specific for that job.

A generic resume tells a hiring manager that you didn’t bother to look at the details of the job and that you’re applying for as many jobs as you can, hoping to land whatever comes your way. Not a good impression to make.

One Page or Two Page Resume?

Another mistake people make in their resume is submitting a resume that is way too long. If you’re seeking an entry level position in the informatics world, having a resume that is more than a page could be considered too long.

Although there are no specific guidelines as to how long your resume should be, most recruiters I have worked with in this field advised me to keep my resume to a one page maximum, despite my 5 years plus of experience in this specific field, and I believe that’s because my experience is repetitive.

This is not to say that you cannot have a 2 page resume, but for somebody applying for an entry level position, a one page resume should suffice.

I was once helping out a hospital with selecting candidates to interview for an entry level position. When the hiring manager encountered resumes that were more than 2 pages, the reaction was: “this person is obviously overqualified for the position,” and the resumes went to the bottom of the pile.

I would skim through the resumes wondering why they were so long, and I noticed that they had irrelevant work experience, which only made it generic.

It’s a “Computer” Job and You Won’t Be Taking Care of Patients!

Finally, when applying for an informatics position, don’t spend 3/4 of the resume detailing the same nursing experience.

Let’s look at my experience to get a better understanding of what I mean:

I have 5 years of medical surgical nursing experience. I worked in a hospital for about a year in a med-surg unit and then I worked for about 4 years doing travel nursing or as a float nurse in different hospitals in the country. On my first resume where I was trying to bridge my IT and nursing experience, each of these two types of experience were summarized within an individual section.

For example, all my medical nursing skills were under one section called ‘Health Care Experience,’ and under that section I described a generic role of Staff RN because even though I had worked at different hospitals, the skills were the same.

As for the IT skills, I followed the same pattern, in the sense that I gathered all my IT experience under a different section. Of course, my case was unique as I had both IT and nursing experience. However, if you only have nursing experience, you might want to then highlight different roles you did as a nurse.

For example, if you were a charge nurse, then dedicate one section to the staff nurse position and the other section to being a charge nurse. Also, if you volunteer in the community, this might be a good thing to put on the resume. What you don’t want to do is spread out the same type of nursing experience in one page. After all, most informatics managers are pretty well aware of what nurses do.

Creating a resume for your job is a very important task. If writing one seems to be a daunting task for you, maybe it’s best to get a professional resume writer to help you out. But don’t forget, resumes are the first line of offense when trying to get a good job, so from this perspective, it’s worth investing some time and thought into it, and why not some money too?! One day all these efforts will be definitely rewarded.

Other topics you might be interested in:

Interviewing tips for an informatics position.
Nursing Informatics interview questions.
More nursing informatics interview questions.
Questions to ask in a nursing informatics interview

Questions? Contact me through here!


Chris (20 Posts)

Chris Smith works as a clinical analyst consultant with 9 years of experience working in the nursing informatics field. He started this blog to help others learn more about nursing informatics because he got tired of reading a lot of misinformation about this field on the web. You can connect with Chris on Google+

20 Responses to Tips to consider for an informatics resume

  • Just wanted to give you a public thank you for the help so far with my resume!

    So thankful to have the help and feedback from a pro!
    The Nerdy Nurse recently posted..Nursing Informatics: It’s About the Bigger Picture

  • Malsag says:

    I need to update my resume to more of a CV format. I have extensive experience as a bedside nurse. Very limited experience in informatics, I am receiving my masters in health administration informatics. I need help gearing my resume toward obtain a job in nursing informatics.

    • admin says:

      I don’t write resumes per se, but if you have one you want me to critique I could possibly do that.

  • Wande says:

    I just read this piece and I find it very insightful. I have a clinical background as a physician trained and worked in Africa. I am about completing my health informatics degree. To my dismay, I don’t have the experience required by most recruiters in the informatics industry.

    My resume has been described as generic but I don’t know how to create an entry-level informatics resume without any prior experience.

    Will appreciate your advice in this regard.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog.
      Yes, currently it seems that most places want some type of experience as hospitals know there are qualified candidates out there, and they seem to be holding for experienced ones.
      I have some questions:Is your doctor degree recognized in the US? Did you ever work with an electronic chart? Doesn’t your school offer job assistance placement?

  • donna says:

    How do I list my credentials to include my BSN, and MSN in informatics?

    • admin says:

      Most people put that in difference sections of their resume. It could be your first line, such as:
      Jennifer Lopez, RN, BSN, MSN

      Then in the education section, you list your specific degrees.

  • Nick says:


    I saw in a reply to an earlier poster where you said you might be willing to review and critique a resume.
    I am applying for an informatics position within the hospital system where I am currently employed as a staff nurse. I have retooled my resume for the purpose of looking more appealing from an informatics viewpoint, and was wondering if you would be willing to critique it for me before I submit it?
    I have found your blog as extremely useful and trustworthy tool, and I agree with a commenter on another thread that you should have a donate button. I would be very grateful if you would be willing to do this for me.

    • admin says:

      Thanks for reading the blog, and indeed, I need to put a donate button on the blog! 😀 I’m just too lazy to do it, so send in the resume before I start charging 😛

  • Nina says:

    Hi I’m interested in going to a professional resume writer and I would like to ask which company did you hire to do your resume? Thanks!

    • admin says:

      Hi Nina,
      Unfortunately I got that resume back in 2005, and didn’t keep the person’s name. At the time I did a search on the web, and as I tell on my blog, the first person I got was the cheapest. He drafted a horrible resume. I actually ended up looking for local writers close to me, and I spoke to a few, and settled for one writer who actually said she had worked with cases like mine—healthcare person with IT experience.

      You have to be careful because many professional resume writers will tell you they can do anyone’s resume, but from what I have seen, not many will do a good job in setting up a resume for somebody who is getting into informatics.

      I would say, contact a few professional writers, and ask them to provide you a sample resume of somebody who has similar experience like yours. I know that some will refuse this, and others will provide a sample, and then you can make up your mind as to which one did a better job.

  • Asha says:

    Your site is very informational. Would you please critique my resume. I just finished my Masters in nursing with health informatics. I am trying to apply for entry field , i have been a nurse for last 18 years and a ICU nurse for last 6 years.

  • Bassel says:

    very informative site for new graduates. I just graduated from a nursing informatics program and would like to hear your take on my updated resume, thanks.

  • NurseM says:

    Thank you for posting an interesting information in creating an resume for Health Infomatics. I am, a just graduated Dip in Health Informatics. I have worked as lecturer for Nursing and as staff nurse , can u please critique my resume.
    Thank you

  • Lyn says:

    Thank you very much for the informative tips on a nursing informatics resume.

  • Ajay says:

    Like one of the other participants in this thread I am also a foreign medical graduate with clinical experience as a physician in my country of origin. In the US I have passed the United States Medical Licensing (USMLE) exam and have certification from the Education Council for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), USA which certifies that my medical degree and knowledge is equivalent to an American MD. I am currently pursuing a Masters degree in Health Informatics. I will appreciate any suggestions on how to get health IT experience while I am pursuing this degree. Do Health Informatics departments in hospitals accept volunteers? Any other avenues? Thank you for all the good information available on your blog.

  • Jennie says:

    Hi Chris – I’m glad you got sick of the misinformation and decided to do this blog. I’m just entering the field. I am a super user RN from human services – and I’m going back to cut cut cut down my resume to one page on your advice. Warmest regards Jennie

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