Writing Your Public Health Resume

by A Guest Author

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, jobseekers are searching for any advantages they can find to land their dream jobs. Many are turning to advanced education to build their knowledge and skills, but once they earn a master’s degree, it’s time to start focusing on presenting yourself to prospective employers and making the case that you’re the best person for the job.

Chances are you’ve heard that tailoring your resume to the industry that you want to work in is important. You want to present credentials that highlight your skills, knowledge and experience in a specific area – and considering most hiring managers only spend seconds reviewing resumes, you want yours to shine and make it clear that you should receive an invitation to interview.

Public health is no different. But how do you create a public health resume that spotlights your experience in the field? Try some of these surefire techniques.

Resume vs. CV

When you start applying for public health jobs after earning your master in public health, you might see both resume and CV, or curriculum vitae, listed on job postings. In some cases these terms are used interchangeably, but they are actually quite different.

A resume is generally used for private sector positions, and is generally no more than two pages. It includes an objective and summary of qualifications, and then outlines your education, experience, technical skills and honors and awards. Think of your resume as a snapshot, or an overview of what you’ve accomplished.

A CV, on the other hand, is often requested by employers hiring in academic, government and research areas. The CV is more detailed and much longer; experienced candidates may have a CV that runs a dozen pages or longer. In addition to the information contained on your resume, a CV also goes into greater detail about your academic accomplishments. If you completed a thesis or dissertation on a public health issue, for example, you would include information about it on the CV, as well as details about the research you’ve completed, presentations you’ve made at conferences and other highlights of your academic and research work.

When you are preparing to complete applications for careers in public health, it’s a good idea to create a running list of all of your achievements, both in work and school, so you can pick and choose among them and present the most relevant information to potential employers.

Highlight Your Qualifications

Because hiring managers are so overwhelmed, it’s a good idea to create a summary of qualifications that appears under your contact information. Write in bullet points; the manager can find more information in your resume or ask for details in the interview.

Focus on your achievements that meet the qualifications outlined by the job description. If you’re looking for work in public health education, for example, include a point about a successful campaign you developed in the summary. Use this space as an introduction to your skills and knowledge, and entice the employer to want to learn more about you.

Outline Your Experience

Unless you went into graduate school right out of college, chances are you have some work experience to include on your resume. If you have a lot of experience, focus on that which is most relevant to the positions you seek, and include highlights and descriptions supporting your contention that you’re the best person for the job.  If you don’t have any relevant experience, try to find ways to relate your experience in other fields to the qualifications of the job. Use terms from the job description or posting, and make it clear that even though you may not have public health experience that gave you those skills, you can apply your knowledge and experience from other areas to the job.

The Basics

No matter what industry you’re looking for work in, there are some important points to remember when crafting your resume. Don’t forget to include your contact information, and proofread carefully. One small mistake can take you out of the running. Don’t worry about including references on your resume; type them out on a separate sheet and offer them upon request.

In many ways, writing a resume for a public health job is no different than any other field. However, you need to keep your focus on the skills and experience that’s relevant to the specific position, and be sure to highlight what you learned in your public health education program. If you do that, you’ll be sure to land a coveted interview spot – and your dream job.

About The Author

Colleen McEntire owns an executive search firm focusing on healthcare and public health and service positions. She’s a certified resume writer and has helped a wide range of clients.  

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rose O'Hara October 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I just began writing my resume for my public health potential jobs. It’s been a lot of work and revising and having friends reading over it. I was glad to come across this article, because sometimes I feel so lost with what I’m doing.


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