For many physician recruiters, the hiring process starts by posting a job, then analyzing a stack of CVs. This initial review serves a couple purposes.
First, recruiters scan CVs to look for mandatory qualifications. Second, they try to determine which applicants seem like the likely best fits for the role before investing time to screen, interview and, if all goes well, host for a site visit.
Studies indicate recruiters spend anywhere from 6 to 30 seconds initially reviewing a CV. While the true number is hard to pinpoint, this is clear: An easy-to-read CV with the right information can help you stand out from the crowd and catch the eye of a recruiter.
Use these seven tips on what to include in a CV to gain the attention of the recruiter and increase your likelihood of advancing in the job search.
1 Prioritize your specialty
Your specialty and fellowship background are essential information, so why hide it?
Instead, consider listing your specialty and board certification at the top of your CV along with your formal name and contact information. This placement instantly alerts recruiters of two major qualifications.
2 Use your full name
A job application is not the time—nor your CV the place—to introduce a new nickname to the world.
Use your full name, and make it consistent on your LinkedIn profile, school and association membership information, and anywhere else in your professional life. Think about the results if a recruiter conducts a web search on the name you provide.
3 State your location of interest
You could be the most qualified, attractive candidate for an opportunity, but if you’re unwilling to relocate to accept the role, you’re wasting your time as well as the recruiters’.
Conversely, stating your willingness to relocate acknowledges you’re aware of the requirement and prepared to comply.
If you’re pursuing a job in an area that particularly interests you, share that information. Large organizations may have other opportunities to offer if they know the location you like.
4 Include why you’re interested in a location
Do you have family in town? Do you enjoy the surrounding amenities? Are you interested in successful schools for your children? Include the reasons you’d like to practice in a specific location.
These details show the recruiter you have long-term interest in the area rather than the goal of gaining experience only to leave when the contract ends.
If you admire the organization to which you’re applying, also consider the part of their mission or culture that attracted you to the opportunity—and how you can help further that vision.
5 List work experience in order
Detail your experience and training chronologically to make it easier for recruiters to follow your progression.
Start with your current or most recent experience, then go backward. If you lack experience, describe your education and training first. Also highlight your volunteer activities or similar engagements, especially if they relate to your training or caring for others.
If there’s a gap in your experience, recruiters will notice. They’ll likely ask about these breaks during a screening or interview to give you an opportunity to clarify them, but it may be worth explaining them in your CV if a gap could lead to your early exit from the application process.
6 Incorporate keywords
Keywords are words or phrases describing the essential qualifications for a job. They’re the prerequisites recruiters look for when conducting their initial CV review. Some do this manually, while others use an automated system programmed to search for keywords.
Because recruiters place such high importance on these words and phrases, they’re a necessary part of your CV.
Be sure to include the basics like your skills and relevant credentials. Also look through the job posting—and even the organization’s website—for additional keywords.
This may mean adjusting your CV slightly each time you apply to a position, but successfully using keywords can more quickly identify you as a candidate early in the process.
7 Take advantage of formatting
Organizing the content of your CV can make it easier for recruiters to learn about you and confirm your qualifications.
Start by selecting an easy-to-read font. Don’t attempt to add personality with a distinctive font.
Next, avoid large blocks of text, which can be overwhelming to read. Instead, limit paragraphs to three or four sentences and look for opportunities to use bullets for lists.
Using bold headlines and section subheads can also assist with organization. Just ensure your formatting choices serve a purpose. Overdoing can lead your CV to being more cluttered – and confusing – instead of clear.
When it comes to graphics, less is often better. The inclusion of unnecessary graphics and images draw attention from your information, costing even more precious time recruiters could spend reading about your interest and experience.
This also means excluding your profile image. Qualifications and experience should carry you through the hiring process. A photo only contributes to the perception or possibility of hiring bias, whether unconscious or outright discrimination.
By applying these tips and knowing what to put in a CV, you can more quickly communicate your abilities and be identified as a top candidate.
The more work and attention you give to your CV translates to less effort recruiters need to read it—and is the first indication of the work ethic and care you’ll bring to the practice.