The Curriculum Vitae, or the Physician CV as it is more commonly known, is the culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dedication. It represents all your knowledge, accomplishments, and experience, and when written well your CV can mean the difference between landing the position of your dreams and being stuck somewhere for longer than you planned. Whether you're a new graduate or a seasoned physician, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when drafting or updating your CV. Below we have provided the top tips of the trade for making sure your physician CV stands out amongst the crowd.
Organization is the key to success, and this couldn’t be more true than when laying out your CV. Similar to a resume it will contain your all of your vital information, in chronological order, and should be written in a tone that signifies professionalism yet is easy to read and follow. Including the following sections, in order, will help make sure you make the best impact on potential employers.
- Name & Contact Information
Fairly straight forward information, this should be located at the very top of your CV usually with your name centered on the top of the page in a slightly larger and bolder font. As far as contact information goes, including your address is an old adage and completely optional today. Make sure, however, that you include your email address and a phone number, preferably not one associated with your current employer.
- Education & Training
Begin with your most recent activities first and work backwards from there. Keep in mind that you should emphasize what you’ve done lately and try to keep the information relevant to position you’re applying for. Letting a potential employer know you were on the lacrosse team that made it to the semi-finals might show your extracurricular activities but it probably won’t help you get an interview over another physician.
Here is your time to shine, but for most this is quite possibly the most difficult part of the CV simply because it’s the most subjective. How do you come across as confident but not arrogant? What qualifies as significant enough experience to include? Or my favorite, “I do so many different things it’s hard to remember them all.” One tip, keep a file on your computer or a quick note on your cell phone and anytime you do something new or are assigned a new task, jot it down. This will make it much easier for you to remember all you’ve accomplished as well as narrow down the tasks you want to highlight.
- Publications (If applicable)
Many physicians, particularly during their postgraduate education, might have had the opportunity to take part in some primary research that led to being published. If this is the case for you, you’ll definitely want to highlight this experience on your CV. Standard citation is preferred or use the citation directly from the publication.
Check with references and get their permission before using them. This way they can be expecting a call and can prepare some things to say about you before being placed on the spot.
Certain positions may request that you submit your references in a separate document so pay attention to how and what you are required to submit.
Choose three or four professionals, of which at least two should be in the medical field, if possible, and include their name, position, and contact information for review.
Once you have your document organized it is important to make sure the minor details are correct. This might possibly be the most overlooked part of any CV, yet one of the most important. Make sure you look over your CV and then let several other people look at it before submitting it. Below is a list of common errors:
- Verbs are in multiple tenses
- Fonts or sizes are different for similar areas like headings
- Periods are randomly present or absent in a bulleted list
- Dates are in multiple formats
Finally, you want your CV to stand out and show that you are the right candidate for the position. This is where extra touches will showcase that you put thought and effort into your work.
Choose a common font that is easy to read and an 11 or 12 point for readability. Use of bold and underlined text will draw the readers eye to that part of the text, so if you choose to use this please do so thoughtfully and sparingly. You will often use this to delineate sections of your resume and the names of employers and/or institutions. Italicized text should be reserved for proper use such as publication titles (remember to do so consistently).
Additionally, simplicity is key. Using bright colors or odd layouts can detract from your experience and accomplishments - make sure to use a simple, professional layout and black font on a white background.
Once you have a final draft that has been critiqued and refined save it as a PDF, so that it can be opened on any computer, and proudly submit your CV to your next employer!