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Resume for first job. Include or don't include work experience?

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I'm a current PA student with about 6 months till I take boards. I'm working on my resume and I'm hitting a stumbling block on deciding whether or not to include previous work experience. I was a phlebotomist and a caregiver at a nursing home. Since my experience isn't very applicable to PA jobs the way being a paramedic or nurse would be, is it even worth including? Should i just leave it out completely and focus on my education or just mention work experience briefly? 

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I would include a brief mention.  Given how little experience is required for most of today's PA students, anything is better than saying nothing.  Mind you, my volunteer EMT job takes up as much space on my CV as an awesome 13 year IT career at a Fortune 100 technology company... but that's what happens when you tailor your presentation to things relevant to future jobs.

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I would include a brief mention.  Given how little experience is required for most of today's PA students, anything is better than saying nothing.  Mind you, my volunteer EMT job takes up as much space on my CV as an awesome 13 year IT career at a Fortune 100 technology company... but that's what happens when you tailor your presentation to things relevant to future jobs.

agree. I list er tech and paramedic positions, but not security guard or kitchen staff for university food services..

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At this point in your career, I say absolutely include this!! As a phlebotomist were you not interacting with patients; perhaps offering comfort here & there? As a caregiver in a nursing home, were you not part of that "healthcare team" I hear so much about?


I went with a friend to her chemo appointment recently. The phlebotomist knew my friend's name (stopped her in the parking lot...hesitated just a bit) - this was her 2nd appt; asked about her daughter & how her 1st tx went. Later I watched that same phlebotomist draw pictures on band aids (everyone - not just the kids), singing a lullaby to a patient, holding doors for patients, nurses, docs, etc - all day long with a huge smile on his face. No wonder his wall was filled with "Star Awards".


Oh, & just in case you ever work at a large academic institution...I once was given "points" for previous healthcare experience, which translated into a higher salary. They counted EVERYTHING, including volunteer time as a "Candy Striper", MA, NA, etc. I was given more points for LPN, RN & even more points for each year/mo as a PA.

Of course I didn't list "Candy Striper" on my résumé...but I recall discussing it on my 1st interview, as one of the surgeons had been a resident where I volunteered.


I'm sure you were a better phlebotomist & caregiver than you are giving yourself credit for.

Good luck!



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Use it. I had years of experience as a physical therapy aide going into PA school. I listed it on my resume when I was looking for jobs. The position that I took (and still have) gave me an extra 7K starting salary for that experience.


Definitely list it. You don't have to make a big song and dance about it, but it should be in writing.

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