6 steps to creating a standout EHR consultant resume

Gwen-HarkinsLanding interviews in health IT consulting almost always requires a well-written resume. With competition for contracts as high as it is, successful resumes not only communicate skills and experience, but demonstrate how you stand out from those with similar backgrounds.

Your audience, in this case, doesn’t always have time on their side. Resumes need to be accessible, clear, and concise while also being detailed and eloquent enough to make a unique first impression. In short, your resume isn’t just a record of what you’ve done and can do – it’s a chance to demonstrate your quality of work through the investment in you put into the document itself.

To shed some light on what makes a consultant resume a great consultant resume, we spoke with Nordic’s Gwen Harkins, a practice director who helps our consultants polish their resumes into powerful tools for getting in the door with the clients they want to work with.

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1. Break down your experience by individual project and engagement

This point is especially important if you’ve been consulting for a while and have a number of projects under your belt.

Never use broad strokes to paint a picture of your experience.

Break out your prior Epic or health IT experience project-by-project and be as detailed as possible when describing each engagement. Tease out the specifics of what you accomplished and how you accomplished it. The point here is simple: Health IT projects are complex by nature. Therefore, the value of your experience often lies in the details of each project. As we’ll learn later, this not only helps potential clients grasp your areas of expertise, but also helps you stand out among other candidates. 

When sitting down to lay out your experience in writing, use the following prompt to ensure you’re thinking about the parts of your projects prospective clients care about most:

  • I worked for [consulting firm] from [date] to [date], but what individual organizations was I working with during that time and what were the most important accomplishments from each of those engagements?


“It’s always important to talk about former and current consulting firms, but clients often want to know way more about the healthcare organizations you’ve worked with. They all have reputations and stories to tell that offer important clues about the quality and breadth of your experience.”

Gwen Harkins
Nordic Practice Director


Building on the point made above, make sure to put the focus on the healthcare organizations you’ve worked with rather than the particular consulting firm you were with at the time. In other words, name-dropping is more than OK; it’s essential. Just do it tactfully.

2. Quantify your achievements when possible

In health IT, numbers often do a far better job communicating your accomplishments than words ever could. While not every outcome can be quantified, it’s important to identify the results that can be and make sure those numbers are clearly showcased.

Optimization is a prime example of one type of project that should always come attached with a number that offers hard evidence of your ability to achieve results. This could be described in the degree of improvement you provided to a system, whether that’s reducing errors by a certain percent, increasing charting times by some measure, or another key metric.

It’s not just large-scale optimization projects that lend themselves to quantification. Crushing tickets after a go-live is another area where numbers can do the talking. Those who’ve monitored and managed the torrent of tickets during a post-live stabilization should take the time to highlight the average number of tickets per day.

The revenue space is another area worth flagging here. If you’ve worked in this space before, chances are whatever you were doing was tied directly to a change in an organization’s revenue. This is obviously an extremely important area where consultants should definitely be pointing to numbers if they tell a promising story to prospects.


“Consultants should always quantify their prior achievements to showcase the benefit they added to clinicians or end users. The more specific they’re able to get in terms of quantifying, the better. This point is absolutely huge.”

Gwen Harkins
Nordic Practice Director


 
3. Don't forget your soft skills

Most consultant resumes begin with a summary section designed to grab the reader with an engaging introduction while giving a succinct overview of their skills and experience.

This is a great place to tap into your soft skills, which you'll dive into deeper later. A good strategy is to treat them as introductions to the particular types of projects in your work history as demonstrated in the example below.

  • “Joni is a highly qualified Epic consultant with strong communication and client management skills. Her aptitude has been showcased through a variety of project work, including…"

In addition to sprinkling soft skills into your summary, don’t forget to use them to sharpen up your individual client engagement descriptions too. It might look something like this:

  • “Joni was tasked with the integration of three different conversing systems, which required her to showcase advanced creative thinking skills.”


“We always encourage our consultants to showcase not just their technical aptitude, but also the softer skills that are just as important to clients. Healthcare organizations want more than just technical ability when they look for a consultant. They want someone who can be a genuine asset and resource to their team. That only comes with excellent soft skills.”

Gwen Harkins
Nordic Practice Director


4. Use an active voice, and cut the filler words

One very common mistake people make in all forms of writing is using the passive voice instead of the active voice. While the passive voice has its place in some types of writing, it’s not well-suited to a resume as it often leads to lengthy, tangled sentences and vague descriptions.

The passive voice can be a silent resume killer as it often creeps into our writing when we don’t realize it. In an attempt to write with authority, you can end up sounding important while completely obscuring what you’re actually trying to say. Sometimes the language can get so opaque, your reader might need to re-read it multiple times — something they definitely don’t have time for when there’s a slew of resumes in their inbox.

The good news is it’s pretty easy to convert the passive voice to the active voice if you know how to identify it.

Here’s a handy guide if you need a refresher:


Active vs. Passive

In the active voice, the subject of the sentence performs the action. In the passive voice, the subject of the sentence receives the action.

Passive voice

It was determined by the consultant that some reporting abilities were not being fully utilized by end users.

Active voice

The consultant determined that end users were not fully utilizing some reporting capabilities.





While clarity and conciseness are both important, they should never come at the cost of key details that need to come across in your resume. Instead of hacking away important ideas for the sake of length, use a good writing style to dig into the complexity of the work you’ve done and frame your projects in the best light possible — even if it gets a little long.

5. Avoid common consultant resume mistakes

Although we’ve touched on some of these already, the importance of the list below can’t be understated. When the stakes are this high, nothing should be overlooked. Use this list both as a starting point and a final checklist to make sure you’re presenting yourself in the very best light to prospects.

  • Generic descriptions

    We’ve hammered this point home from a few different angles because it applies just about everywhere. This is one of the easiest ways to sink your chances of a nabbing a great contract right from the start. In short, a generic description will almost always lose out to a detailed one. Again, the investment you make in your resume demonstrates the investment you make in your work in general, which is why this sits at the top of the list.

    Here’s a simple, yet critical example of how a dose of detail can go the extra mile:


    Generic description

    “Was Lead Analyst for EpicCare Ambulatory”

    Detailed description

    “Was Lead Analyst for EpicCare Ambulatory across a six-month project and oversaw  project work to completion by five consultants”

 

  • Proofreading errors

    Simple spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors are surprisingly common in resumes. Sometimes it can be hard to be your own proofreader since the mistakes you might be prone to make might be hard for you to spot upon review. Consider getting a second or even third set of eyes to look over your work and make absolutely sure your document is 100 percent error-free.

  • Copy-and-pasted text

    This is another mistake that often flies under the radar. From one client to another, make sure nothing is a carbon copy description of work.


“Having a well-written resume is absolutely critical and oftentimes one of the only ways to set yourself apart from other candidates that may look a lot like you on paper. If it’s just perfunctory, it’s not doing anything for the reader. Demonstrate your work ethic in the writing itself.”

Gwen Harkins
Nordic Practice Director


6. Follow best practices

In addition to avoiding mistakes, consultants should also keep a few best practices in mind both when creating and polishing their resumes. Here are a few common threads we see among the resumes that win over clients time and time again.

  • Focus on the value you provided

    This is one of the top qualities that set the best resumes apart from others. In short, don’t just explain what you did. Explain what you enabled for the client, what accounted for that outcome, and what the organization was able to do as a result of your actions or leadership.

  • Write a resume that reads so well, prospects won’t put it down

    As we’ve mentioned before, when your resume is just one in a stack of many, sometimes nailing the simple things (that often go overlooked) can make it stand out among the others. While we don’t typically think of writing quality or eloquence being a main point of importance for a resume, crafting a surprisingly engaging and well-written story of your work history can be just the thing that wows your reader in a way they didn’t expect.



    “Having a well-written resume is absolutely critical and oftentimes one of the only ways to set yourself apart from other candidates that may look a lot like you on paper. If it’s just perfunctory, it’s not doing anything for the reader. Demonstrate your work ethic in the writing itself.”

    Gwen Harkins
    Nordic Practice Director


  • Grab the reader right from the start

    Your summary section at the top of the resume is your one and only chance to make a powerful first impression, so make sure you’re taking full advantage of the opportunity you have. Think about this as your personal elevator pitch. Make it easy for readers to understand what sets you apart without going digging.

  • Take personal ownership throughout the entire process

    Consultants are their own best salespeople and their resume is one of very few tools they have to land an interview. While we provide all the help we can in maintaining, formatting, and polishing our consultants’ resumes to be the very best they can be, it’s on each individual to make his or her effort come across in his or her writing. Never assume you can skirt by with an “OK” resume only to win a client over in an interview.

    While there’s much more that can be said about crafting an effective Epic consultant resume, these seven tips should give you a handy guide when sitting down to put a new resume together, or simply spruce up the one that’s won you important interviews in the past.

Topics: Epic Consulting, consulting tips

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