Sterile Processing Resume: How to Make One that Really Works!

 By Adam Okada


I see a post on Sterile Processing Facebook pages at least once a week, asking why it is so hard to find a job in the field of Central Service (CS) or Sterile Processing (SPD).  Of course, there are a number of reasons why this can be a difficult task, but let’s start with the easiest problem to solve.  The Sterile Processing Resume.

Why is a Resume Important?

Why do you need a resume?  How else will prospective employers be able to weed out those who are casting a broad net for employment, and find those hidden gems who actually have certification or sterile processing experience?

Your resume gives a brief employment and educational history as well as any pertinent background information that will help a future employer make a quick decision about whether to move you forward in the hiring process (bring you in for an interview), or whether your application ends up on the reject pile.

Now let’s get into the nuts & bolts of how to build a resume that bypasses all potential roadblocks to getting that elusive SPD interview. 

Roadblock #1: The HR Computer

It’s sad to say, but most applicants won’t make it past the automated HR “weeding” system.  This is because you may not have a Sterile Processing certification (which may be required for the position).  And even if you do, and you answer that question appropriately, your resume will then be looked at by an HR representative at the corporate level, to see if your resume actually meets the minimum requirements.

This is where a lot of resume get placed on the discard pile.  If you don’t highlight your sterile processing experience or certifications in the first paragraph, then you’re likely going to be passed over.

Remember that HR reps at the corporate level see THOUSANDS of resumes per day.  If you give them a reason to discard your resume, they’ll take it.  Which brings me to my next point.

Never, EVER, start your resume with generic sentences like these:

  • To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills.
  • Secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my training and skills, while making a significant contribution to the success of the company.

Those were both pulled from websites on “how to write a resume introduction” Google searches.  And both will absolutely tank your chances of getting to the interview stage.

Be specific in the job that you want in the very first paragraph.

  • I am a certified (CRCST) sterile processing technician looking for an opportunity to use my knowledge and skills in the fast-paced and challenging environment of the Sterile Processing Department.

If you list your specific job and certifications in the first sentence, you will pass that first HR roadblock and move to the next step in the process.  Guaranteed.

Roadblock #2: The SPD Hiring Manager

So you’ve cleared the HR Roadblock, but now comes the hard part.  How do you convince a SPD hiring manager to give you shot?

The first sentence is key, sure, so making sure you highlight your sterile processing education and experience is great.  But SPD managers are typically looking for more.

What are SPD managers looking for?

There are 4 questions that you need to answer, and ideally, try to answer them in your resume:

  1. Is this applicant a good person and a good worker?
  2. Is this applicant going to be able to handle the stress of the job?
  3. Is this applicant going to fit in with my team?
  4. Is this applicant going to be here for the long term?

So respond to these concerns in your resume.

  • I am a dependable and hard-working individual who enjoys being in a team environment and works extremely well with others.
  • I thrive in fast-paced, or stressful situations.
  • I am looking to put down roots here in “insert city here” and plan on staying in the area permanently.

By answering these concerns in your resume, it’s far more likely that the SPD hiring manager will read over your resume and pass you directly into the interview pile.

Extra Credit: The Cover Letter

I’ve written about the importance of the Sterile Processing Cover Letter before, so if you’re looking for additional help getting passed along to the next phase of the hiring process, do yourself a favor and read this article on our blog:

Next Step:  Nailing the Interview

Once you’ve created a dynamic resume and paired it with the ever-important cover letter, you’re likely going to need help with your interviewing skills.  Read more about how to impress your future boss in the interview here: