How do you read a Medical Assistant job description and use the knowledge to craft a compelling resume?

The purpose of a Medical Assistant job description is to let you know a position is open and what you'll be expected to do if you're hired. Right?

Well, yes! But there's more to it. 

It's not just about ticking boxes and matching keywords; it's about matching your skills and career achievements with what employers want. Here, you'll learn how to dissect a Medical Assistant job description so you can properly tailor your resume and win interviews. 

Understanding the Medical Assistant job description

Think of the Medical Assistant job description as a blueprint for what is expected of you. Then, expand your thinking to understand that it's a complete framework you can use to align your skills and experiences to employer needs – well, the good ones are, anyway. 

The main parts

For the companies who take the time to write comprehensive Medical Assistant job descriptions, you should expect to find a set format.

  • The first thing you'll see is, obviously, the title of the role

  • After that will be a paragraph about the company, though this is sometimes left off

  • The next paragraph will be a brief introduction to the role itself

  • Then, you'll see a list of bullet points that define what you'll do on a daily basis

  • The final piece of the job description is qualifications – how much experience and education you need, plus the soft skills they want you to possess

The really great Medical Assistant job descriptions will give details about how to apply and may even include some Equal Employment Opportunity language. Though, most will simply have an APPLY button at the top. 

Let's take a look at an example Medical Assistant job description. 

Medical Assistant job description

Assist in examination and treatment of patients under the direction of a physician. Interview patients, measure vital signs (i.e., pulse rate, temperature, blood pressure, weight, and height) and record information on patients' charts. May be required to draw and collect blood samples from patients and prepare specimens for laboratory analysis. Prepare treatment rooms, inform patients of costs for care being provided, and guide them to appropriate resources for further information. 


  • Welcome patients by greeting them in person or on the telephone

  • Verify patient information by interviewing patient, recording medical history, confirming purpose of visit

  • Prepare patients for the health care visit by directing and/or accompanying them to the examining room

  • Perform preliminary physical tests; take blood pressure, weight and temperature; report patient history summary

  • Secure patient information and maintain patient confidence by completing and safeguarding medical records; completing diagnostic coding and procedure coding; keeping patient information confidential

  • Counsel patients by transmitting physician's orders and questions about surgery

  • Educate patients by providing medication and diet information and instructions; answering questions

  • Schedule surgeries by making arrangements with the surgical center, verifying times with patients and preparing charts, pre-admission and consent forms

  • Maintain safe, secure and healthy work environment by establishing and following standards and procedures and complying with legal regulations

  • Keep supplies ready by inventorying stock, placing orders, verifying receipt

  • Keep equipment operating by following operating instructions, troubleshooting breakdowns, maintaining supplies, performing preventive maintenance and calling for repairs

  • Update job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities and reading professional publications

  • Enhance practice reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests and exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments

  • Complete records by recording patient examination, treatment and test results

  • Generate revenue by recording billing information of services rendered, completing insurance forms and responding to insurance and other third-party inquiries

  • Maintain patient confidence and protect operations by keeping patient care information confidential

  • Serve and protect the physician or healthcare provider practice by adhering to professional standards, policies and procedures, federal, state and local requirements and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) standards

  • Update job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities, reading professional publications, maintaining personal networks and participating in professional organizations

  • Enhance health care practice reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests and exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments


  • Requires a high school diploma and medical assistant certificate 

  • 0-2 years of experience in a related field 

  • Knowledge of commonly used concepts, practices, and procedures within a particular field

  • Rely on limited experience and judgment to plan and accomplish goals

  • Perform a variety of tasks

  • Rely on instructions and pre-established guidelines to perform the functions of the job

  • Work under immediate supervision of a supervisor or manager

How does understanding the Medical Assistant job description factor into your career?

When you learn how to dissect the job description, you become equipped with valuable information that can help you advance your career. 

Make a list of your skills and proficiencies

The first thing you need to do – before you ever get to the point of writing your resume – is make a list of skills you possess that help prove you're one of the best Medical Assistants out there. 

Carefully consider a blend of clinical and administrative duties.

  • Clinical Duties: These could involve assisting with medical procedures, conducting basic laboratory tests, and caring for patients before, during, and after exams.

  • Administrative Tasks: This side of the job covers scheduling patient appointments, maintaining detailed health records, managing billing information, and ensuring the smooth operation of the office.

How about a list of Medical Assistant top skills & proficiencies for some inspiration?

  • Professionalism

  • Customer Service

  • Inventory Management

  • Written and Verbal Communication

  • Clinical Skills

  • Health Promotion and Maintenance

  • Procedural Skills

  • Documentation Skills

  • Inventory Control

  • Planning

  • Dependability

  • Teamwork

  • Supply Management

  • Organization

  • Customer Focus

  • Confidentiality

  • Bedside Manner

  • Scheduling

  • Medical Teamwork

Recognize common terminologies and phrases

Yes, you'll want to tailor your resume to each Medical Assistant job description you come across, but you will see some commonalities. Pay special attention to terms like 

  • Patient care

  • Clinical support

  • Healthcare administration

  • Regulatory compliance

These aren't just jargon; they are crucial areas in which you will need to showcase expertise.

Tailor your resume

Once you have your list of skills and have found all the common phrases different companies use in their Medical Assistant job descriptions, write your resume. You'll most likely want to choose the reverse chronological resume format because, let's face it, the world of healthcare is nothing if it's not traditional – simply put, it's what hiring managers will expect to see.

Related reading: How to Make a Resume: Beginner's Writing Guide with Examples

Then, you'll go through your new resume and inject keywords that aren't so common among different job descriptions. This is called tailoring your Medical Assistant resume. Basically, you're ensuring that it is customized with the right keywords, using the language and verbiage you find in the Medical Assistant job description. 

Professional development

You may also find it interesting to know that another way the Medical Assistant job description factors into your career centers around ongoing professional development. When you review the skills and experiences required for the jobs you want to apply to, you'll be able to identify areas for growth. 

For example, if you see a lot of Medical Assistant job descriptions requesting proficiency with a particular electronic medical record system, but your skills using that system aren't quite up to par, you could take an online course to boost your knowledge. That course would be something you could put into the EDUCATION section of your resume, boosting your qualifications. 

Common mistakes to avoid when interpreting job descriptions and tailoring resumes

Whether you spend several days or a couple of weeks carefully crafting your resume, there are some errors that can derail your job search efforts. 

  • Avoid overlooking soft skills, especially in a field that requires teamwork and compassionate care. Soft skills will often win the day and earn you an interview if the hiring manager has two candidates with similar hard skills. 

  • Honesty is key. It can be easy to give in to the temptation of inflating your qualifications, like saying you have experience in the psych ward when all you did was a one-week rotation during clinicals. 

  • Don't skip the tailoring part. It is so easy to send your resume out to hundreds of companies and hope something sticks, but it's more efficient to customize it and actually get a phone call for an interview.

Dissecting the Medical Assistant job description is a strategic move

Searching for a job in today's market can, in and of itself, feel like a job. However, when you use a little strategy and properly dissect the Medical Assistant job description to align your skills and qualifications with what employers are looking for, you'll set yourself up for success. Remember to avoid pitfalls and go out and get that job you want.

Once you've written your Medical Assistant resume, a great next step is to let the resume-writing experts at TopResume give it a free once-over for you. You'll get comprehensive feedback on anything that needs to be done to help your resume stand out from the crowd.

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