A medical CV on a desk with a laptop and cup of coffee
A medical CV on a desk with a laptop and cup of coffee

Tips for writing a medical CV

Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt
Stephen Leggitt

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With the thousands of hours of diligent, wide-ranging work you’ve put in to become a practicing physician, it may seem somewhat astounding that, when it comes time to apply for a job, you are required to represent your entire medical experience and overall skill base in the form of one compact curriculum vitae (CV). However, despite size constraints, there are still many ways to ensure that when you send out your CV to potential employers, you accurately and fully represent yourself and the skillset you can bring to an organization.

Here are tips for writing a medical CV:

Clarity is key

While being clear with your intentions seems like an obvious notion, do not overlook the importance of complete clarity in every section of your CV. If you are not displaying your intended information in a proper and presentable format, and your employer struggles trying to decipher your credentials and experience, it could count as a strike against you before you’re even given the chance to interview. So, making sure all the required information (such as contact information, professional summary, education, training, clinical experience, etc.) are laid out in a clear and concise manner using consistent formatting is of paramount importance.

The significance of your professional summary

Perhaps the most important section of your CV, the one where you should make your greatest overall impression, is your professional summary. This summary usually appears near the top of the CV and can range from one sentence to a short paragraph explaining your credentials, skills, and what makes you the perfect fit for the position you are trying to attain. It’s recommended to update this summary for each new application, altering the details to fit the specifics of the organization or facility you are applying to and emphasizing how your skill set fits each specific job.

Showcase any awards

By the time you have finished residency, it may feel like your entire life has been completely focused on advancing your career and spending long nights at a training hospital are the norm. This type of sincere dedication may have also led to awards or honors within your institution.  List your educational achievements proudly, not just the medical degree you have earned, but any certifications, training programs, fellowships or recognitions you may have received. As a rule of thumb, if it’s relevant, do not leave it out. Now is the time to lose some humbleness and showcase the recognitions you have earned. Sometimes one extra mention of an award – no matter how small – can be the difference between an employer choosing you over someone else.

Highlight clinical experience

 While education and personality traits are important factors to showcase on your CV, recruiters will also be heavily interested in your specific clinical experience. List the positions you have held, the number of patients and patient demographics you have served and perhaps even showcase specific situations where you overcame adversity in the clinical setting. Give your future employer a clear picture of how you function in a stressful environment, the type of leadership qualities you possess and what they can expect from you on a day-to-day basis.

 Personality and outlook

 While most potential employers will initially be focused on your educational background and experience in a real-world hospital setting, your personality and outlook as a human being outside your job title will also play a role during the recruitment process. Healthcare organizations are not just hiring a physician, they are also hiring a person they will be spending multiple hours alongside each day. Don’t be afraid to look for ways to make your personality shine through your CV.

 Crafting the perfect CV

 Think of your CV as a piece of paper (or, more likely, a PDF file) that can lead to an interview where you can showcase your personality, outlook on practicing medicine and future goals. While the interview and site visit may arguably be more important than the CV itself, perfecting this initial step will get your foot in the door. Putting true effort into the process, getting second opinions, then reworking your CV based on feedback will be one of the most crucial steps to landing your dream job – whether it’s your first practice out of residency or the next career move for you as a seasoned physician.

 

Read PracticeLink articles from Stephen Leggitt

Stephen Leggitt

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