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Medical billers who are new to the field want every advantage in landing that first job. For ultimate success, in addition to obtaining your certification through AAPC and being confident in your skill set, would be a killer resume. A resume introduces you to a prospective employer. It is your first chance to sell your experience, skills, and qualifications. A killer resume is important to your success in landing a dream job because competition for jobs in a distressed economy can be a challenge. 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 including 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 medical biller who may have some relevant work history but not a lot of work history doing medical billing. It gives the medical biller the platform to entice the interviewer with a strong list of qualifications, skills, and abilities, before indicating that the work history in medical billing may be lacking. What type of skills, abilities, and qualifications should be listed for a medical billing job? List your most pertinent skills and abilities first. For example, maybe you have worked in a doctor’s office assisting with front office duties. You could list strong medical front office 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.

The Advantage of Killer Resumes for Medical Billers

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, 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, is your name, address, telephone number, and email address.

In creating a killer resume for medical billers don’t use fancy fonts. Use 8 to 10 point font size. Don’t use colors or add images. 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 and takes away from the professional appearance you are shooting 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 feel your bring to the table, a brief statement about 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. The statement about why you feel you are right for the good could be as simple as stating the following: Whereas I am a new graduate of XYZ medical billing program and newly credentialed by AAPC, 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 billing is booming with the implementation of ICD-10 in 2015, the aging baby boomers accessing healthcare, and many older medical billers retiring. The field is ripe and lucrative. Give yourself the competitive edge by creating a killer resume.

 

By: Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years. Interested in quality medical billing training? Get Medical Billing Tips Here!

Learn More about Resumes for Medical Billers

Medical Coding Jobs – Interview Tips

AAPC – Resume Postings

resumes for medical billers

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2016-11-30T15:44:15+00:00

About the Author:

Dawn Moreno, PhD, CBCS, CMAA, MTC. Lives in the beautiful Southwest United States and has been an instructor for medical coding/billing for the past 7 years.

5 Comments

  1. Deb
    Deb November 19, 2014 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Excellent advice! One question I have is related to adding copies of old PowerPoint presentations that have been done while getting my medical billing and coding education. Is it a bad idea to include a couple of those on LinkedIn (embedded from SlideShare) that discuss Coding? They show that I know how to use the software, know the material, and have the ability to embed files. Since a biller and coder needs to have good technical and computer skills, I would think that this is important. Your thoughts?

    Thank you.

    • Dawn Moreno November 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm - Reply

      Hi, Deb. That is a good question. Resumes should be 1 page. CVs can be 2 pages. Linking to your LinkedIn account in your cover letter is not a bad idea. Here are tips that I would suggest: Make sure everything is spelled and punctuated correctly. Don’t make it barren but also do not overdo it. A hiring professional is not going to wonder how the kids liked Christmas or that you are a social butterly with tons of friends :). Embedding one PowerPoint presentation is not a bad idea. However, I would suggest making the presentation about yourself professionally sort of like a “spotlight” resume done via slides. Another idea that would work is to make it on a medical coding or billing subject/issue THAT IS NOT CONTROVERSIAL in nature and your opinion on that topic, but I would make it 10 slides or under, and would shoot for 5 slides. Having said this, simply stating that you know PowerPoing is good enough because seldom are you asked to demonstrate your soft skills. In the past when hiring for a major medical transcription service, I remember reading a resume that was nearly 4 pages long with pictures and images linked into it. To be really honest with you, the secret thought that ran through my head was “Wow, what a narcissist!” I really did not need to see the picture of her in her bikini on the beach. 🙂 Okay. Okay. The picture wasn’t that bad, but it was nearly so. 🙂 I was really busy and knew what I was looking for. I wanted someone with a few years’ experience. I looked at grammar and punctuation because in MT that was important. I looked at education to see if they trained at one of the subpar schools that were hot at that time or a really solid training academy. I viewed work experience. I didn’t really focus on areas like “Hobbies” and stuff like that. A new person without any experience with a great attitude and perfect resume would get my attention if I felt we had enough QA help to bring on a newbie. Usually, with those applicants, I’d call them to take an employment dictation test. At that point, I looked at the “skills.” If they asked me what FTP software was or how to use it, then I knew that they would take up too much of our time to be productive for us to hire. If they could get through our testing process and tested “reasonably” well, then I felt like maybe they would be worth the extra time in QA. I would then call them and at that point I was looking for proper attitude. The first 3 months was going to be very low pay because of our expense of paying someone to QA all of their work. If their attitude was “grateful” for a chance and “determined” to work hard to do a good job, then I would strongly consider such a candidate over one that had experience but came across as a prima dona. Prima dona’s were those that told me what rate they would work for before I told them what we paid (and we paid well for experienced MTs). Prima Dona’s would start the conversation letting me know what days/times they would not be willing to work, and that they would not fill in for others. Prima Dona’s also had war stories of why they hated their QA person, and how past management was abusive to them. By their 3rd demand, I always found a way to get off of the phone and was not interested in bringing them onto our team. Prima Dona’s may have great skills and produce a lot of work without errors, but the time dealing with prima dona’s ego is both time consuming and draining. Linking to your LinkedIn profile in your cover is a good idea. You could say something like, “If you’d like to know a bit more detail about me, here is a link to my LinkedIn profile.” Add a bit of different information on your LinkedIn. Include: Job History, Work Experience, References on Request, and you could safely add 2 more elements. If you would like that to a paragraph about you– where you live, short list of hobbies or what you like to do in your free time, and short Power Point spotlighting yourself in approx 5 slides or your thoughts on a medical coding/billing issue that is 10 slides or under, that would be fine. Maybe something like your thoughts on the importance of certification or being active in your local AAPC chapter. This serves also to show the potential employer that you take this career seriously and take professionalism seriously. I would steer clear of issues regarding things like The Affordable Care Act because if the employer disagrees with you, then you are on shaky ground. A way around that would be to OBJECTIVELY present your thoughts on the AFA focusing equally on what you feel are its pros and possible cons. Maybe a few slides on your thoughts on the importance of patient privacy as it pertains to HIPAA or HITECH. If it’s a spotlight on you- have 5 slides as follows: Title Slide: About me and then in small print for my “professional” resume, please see my LinkedIn profile. Slide 2: Why I became a medical Coder/Biller. Slide 3: What I love about this career. Slide 4: Why I feel I’d be an asset to your organization. Slide 5: A picture of you inserted and thanking them for their time in viewing your presentation and stating that you look forward to hearing from tehm. Short and sweet but presenting a bit more about yourself than you did with the resume. I hope this has been helpful. You posed a great question.

      • Deb
        Deb November 19, 2014 at 4:03 pm - Reply

        Hi Dawn,

        Thank you so much for such a detailed and thoughtful response. You have told me so much more than I could have expected.

        I did have to chuckle at some of your comments however. Without question, I would not bore a prospective employer with pictures of myself, let alone in a swimming suit on the beach. I realize that that is way more than they are interested in knowing and do not have time for that nonsense. Your take on the grateful newbie vs. the prima dona is good to know for many of us starting out. And staying away from controversial topics is always a good idea. Thanks for pointing it out.

        Great ideas on what to include on the slides.

        Thank you so much!

        Deb

        • Dawn Moreno November 22, 2014 at 12:45 pm - Reply

          Hi, Deb.
          I really did get a resume from a woman who really did link in “hot” pictures of herself. They were not in a bikini, but that was not far from the truth. The first thing that went through my mind was, “This person is going to need a lot of attention.” 🙂 I have been in interviews where I’m asked “what is your greatest weakness?” This is a trick question, so the way I always handled it was to take one of my strengths and “pretend” it’s a weakness. Example: Well, sometimes I drive myself crazy with my extreme attention to detail. Or, My tendency toward being a perfectionist sometimes can work against me. Or, My tendency toward perfection has many times led to me work unpaid on days off or to stay late because I truly want everything I put my name to,to be absolutely perfect. 🙂 Another trick question (well, I call them trick questions), is “What would you do if your boss made an obviously wrong and bad decision for the company?” You do NOT want to say, go tell on her to her boss as then you seem like a tattle tale. You don’t want to seem overly confrontative either. I always say, “I would request a private meeting with my boss at her convenience. Then, I would respectfully explain it’s possible she may wish to rethink this decision because of these factors, but I stand firmly behind her regarding whatever she ultimately decides, and I think that all of her decisions to date have been spot on.” This shows teamwork, confronting privately and respectfully, BUT having the ability to speak up to assist the company as a whole from the consequences of a clearly bad decision, and shows support for your boss if she goes through with the bad choice. One other trick question that is sometimes asked in detailed interviews, one that I would ask, actually. “What would you do if you found that your boss was taking records and up-coding them to get the facilitiy higher reimbursement?” Proper answer: I would bring the issue to my boss asking if she realized that she was doing this. Sometimes fraud and abuse can happen unintentionally. If she was amenable to correcting the issue and having an internal audit done to correct past records, I would follow up to make sure that was being done. I would also spot check to make sure upcoding was not happening in the future. If not, I would let the issue go as an accidental oversight that was corrected. If my boss asked me to say “nothing” about it, or denied it was happening, then I would view this as an egregious ethics violation and my own certification credential would/could be on the line, as well as, legal considerations for the facility itself. I would at that point document my findings and send it to the department manager along with proof of the upcoding. This would be a very difficult situation for me because I am very loyal to the person that I work for, but professional ethics and the protection of the facility from issues of fraud and abuse must superceded my personal loyalty to my boss in that scenario. That is the answer that they are looking for in that question. 🙂 Good luck, Deb. I think you’ll do very well on any interview.

  2. Deb
    Deb November 25, 2014 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Hi Dawn,

    I do agree with your take on the resume from the lady with a link to the “hot” pictures. I would probably come to the same assumption as you did. 😉

    As to your other great points –

    “What is your greatest weakness?” Yes, that seems to be a standard question in interviews. Common sense would tell me that it might not help my employment chances if I pointed out a true weakness that the company may consider a a must-have strength in the person that they hire. You gave great examples of how to answer that question. And for me, these types of answers would not be untruths, because a weakness for me may not be a weakness for the company. In fact, they may consider it a strength.

    “What would you do if your boss made an obviously wrong and bad decision for the company?” I really like your response to this question. This could be a delicate situation, but one that I agree should be held privately with my boss in the right way and not discussed with others. Being supportive of his/her ultimate decision is what is important and does show that I’m a team player. However, I think it’s good to point out another viewpoint sometimes, because it shows that I have the company’s best interests in mind. I know that if I were the employer, I would appreciate and respect other opinions if they are offered in a positive manner.

    “What would you do if you found that your boss was taking records and up-coding them to get the facility higher reimbursement?” Another delicate and serious situation that I am glad you talked about, Dawn. As a coder, we have to take our jobs seriously and have a code of ethics to follow. Not only are we putting the patient at risk with upcoding (possibly being treated at some point for something that he/she really doesn’t have), but we risk our own reputation and good standing as a coding professional. I believe in being loyal to my employer, but this would be where I would have to draw the line.

    Thanks for such great information, Dawn. And thank you for the nice compliment.

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