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How to Write the Perfect Health Information Resume and Cover Letter

UW Extended Campus Blog Team March 31, 2017

With some health information experience under your belt, you’re excited to propel your career forward. What’s the first step in landing the HIMT job of your dreams? Successfully pitching yourself to employers.

This requires an eye-catching health information resume and cover letter to help get your foot in the door for an interview.

7 Elements to Include in Your Health Information Resume

When applying for a health information management (HIM) or health information technology (health IT) position in a large healthcare organization, you could be competing with dozens of other individuals. You need an effective health information resume that inspires a hiring manager to pick up the phone or send an email to contact you. When writing your resume, be sure to have these two references nearby:

  1. A copy of the job posting
  2. Access to the company’s website

Now it’s time to make the magic happen. In particular, ensure that your health information resume includes seven critical elements:

1. Contact information

You know to include your full name, credentials, address, phone number, and email address. If you have a professional presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, or another social media site, consider providing links to those as well. Make it as easy as possible for hiring managers to get in touch with you.

2. Professional summary

This two- to three-sentence paragraph should include a brief synopsis of your professional accomplishments to date as well as your future goals and aspirations. Consider these three questions as you construct your summary:

  • What statement best describes you as an HIMT professional? Tailor this statement to the job for which you’re applying. Determine what the employer wants and clearly state that you already have the requisite experience. Consider these examples:
    • Multi-certified HIMT professional with experience managing homegrown EMR systems.
    • Experienced HIMT professional specializing in large-scale IT implementations.
    • Multi-certified, experienced HIMT professional with a proven ability to lead seamless EHR implementations across a variety of settings.
    • RHIA-eligible professional with specialized HIM education and experience in expanding quality improvement processes.
  • How would you characterize your work experience to date? Have you worked primarily for hospitals? Vendors? Payers? Medical device manufacturers? Another type of employer? Be sure to include your total years of experience in the field.
  • Where do you envision yourself working in the next few years, and why? What are your goals as they pertain to the position for which you’re applying? Examples include:
    • To integrate next-generation technical solutions such as patient-generated data.
    • To help facilities achieve data integration for complex analyses to improve outcomes.
    • To enhance patient engagement with health information technology.

3. Education

Include all your HIMT-related academic degrees with the most recent degree listed first. Also, include the school that granted each degree and the date you graduated. A University of Wisconsin Bachelor of Science in HIMT proves to employers that you have skills in both HIM and health IT and that you understand how these departments operate in complex healthcare environments.

If you’re a recent graduate, consider listing coursework that is particularly relevant to the job for which you’re applying. For example, if you’re hoping to land a position in a hospital seeking to switch EHR vendors, list courses that covered vendor evaluation, selection, and contracting. If the position you seek requires knowledge of how HIMT can be used to inform hospital mergers or the acquisition of physician practices, list courses that covered healthcare economics. Likewise, if the employer is interested in someone who can leverage predictive analytics, include data-related courses.

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4. HIMT skills

This section of your resume should include a bullet-point list of skills that you want employers to focus on. Examples of skills include EHR implementation, systems integration, project management, healthcare billing and coding, privacy and security, data warehousing and mining, or quality improvement. Tip: Refer to UW HIMT’s courses to help build this portion of your resume. Most HIMT course descriptions include core competencies and learning objectives you can use as a foundation. During the interview, be prepared to give specific examples of how you’ve applied these skills.

Also, include applicable computer applications, programming languages, and operating systems with which you have experience. If you’re a student or recent graduate, list systems and programs you worked with in and outside of class. For example, UW HIMT students can list SPSS, Mind Tap, Mini Tab, and NEEHR Perfect, as well as any systems and databases used during the capstone experience—a project completed in a real healthcare setting—such as Meditech, Epic, Cerner, Hospital Compare, and Quality Net.

5. Certifications

Include any health IT or HIM certifications that are relevant to the position you seek. Additionally, list any vendor-specific certifications you have.

6. Work experience

Starting with your most recent position, include the following information:

  • Job title
  • Dates of employment
  • Name of the employer
  • Business results of your work. Describe how you solved specific business problems or challenges. Use action words (e.g., created, managed, coordinated, or led) to detail your participation. Quantify your results by stating specific amounts, percentages, or revenues. Consider this example: “Led a multi-disciplinary team to create diagnosis-specific templates in the EHR and reduce documentation-related denials by 75 percent.”

7. Professional memberships

The purpose of this section is to highlight your involvement in the industry and your dedication to ongoing education and networking. Examples might include the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), or the Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society (HIMSS).

Keywords to Include in Your Health Information Resume

HR departments use electronic screening tools that look for keywords in resumes and cover letters. Applicants who don’t have the desired keywords may not make it past the initial screening. So, once you’ve written your resume, ensure that potential employers can find you. This requires a two-pronged approach.

First, incorporate health information keywords that are relevant to the position you seek. Look for phrases or terms that are repeated throughout the job posting (e.g., data retrieval or analysis). If possible, weave these terms into your resume. For example, if the job requires RHIA certification and you are eligible but have not yet taken the RHIA exam, make sure you note on your resume or cover letter that you are “RHIA eligible.”

Second, incorporate general health information keywords that demonstrate your up-to-date knowledge of the industry. Examples:

  • Enterprise-wide information management
  • Information governance
  • Data analytics
  • Big data management
  • Clinical decision support
  • Population health management
  • Value-based healthcare reimbursement

Also consider Googling “information technology resume keywords” and see what resonates with you. Don’t force yourself to include these terms. Use this list as a point of reference, and be cognizant of it as you construct your skills, competencies, and previous job descriptions.

3 Questions to Ask Yourself When Writing Your Health Information Cover Letter

Your cover letter is an extension of your resume, and it should give potential employers a sense of who you are as an individual and an HIMT professional. Consider these three questions:

  1. What do you enjoy most about working in the health information industry? Why did you choose to focus on HIMT, and what do you hope to accomplish in the HIM or health IT role that you seek?
  2. Why do you want to work for this specific company? Look at the company’s “about us” page, and respond directly to the values the company promotes and why these values are important to you as well.
  3. How will your previous experience and education benefit the employer directly? What does the employee need, and how can you meet those needs based on your unique experience?

Looking for a way to boost your health information resume? A UW Bachelor of Science in Health Information Management and Technology may be a perfect fit for you. Start your journey here.

Have additional questions? Contact an enrollment adviser at 608-262-2011 or learn@uwex.edu. Enrollment advisers are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST, or by appointment.

Programs: Health Information Management and Technology