How a Physician Can Write a User-Friendly CV

Physician CV

Make Your CV Easier to Read and More Likely to Work

Think of your Curriculum Vitae (CV) as you would an app: if the hiring authorities find it easy to get the information they want, you are closer to landing the right practice opportunity. Follow the tips in this article and anyone who reviews your Physician CV will have a good user experience.

1. Make it Concise

Most of the people who will read your CV know nothing about you and will have a limited amount of time to shortlist candidates. If those reviewing your CV don’t get through the whole document, they will not be fully informed.  While the optimal number of pages for a CV varies on a case by case basis, a 2 or 4-page CV is generally sufficient for the highlights in a young medical professional’s career. Write a precise and clearly articulated CV with unnecessary information removed.

Keep in mind that the CV may be viewed on a mobile device, making the density of its contents important for your success. Use bullets when possible to highlight information that needs to stand out.  If there are fewer words and those words are organized well, there will be a smaller chance that the important ones will be lost.

2. Make it Accurate

Honesty and transparency are requirements for a CV to be most effective. When you describe your employment history, there should be zero gaps in the years worked. Be detailed about your career. Distinguish between part-time and full-time work. Include military service and volunteer activities under headings separate from employment. If you took a leave of absence, briefly explain it.

Don’t take credit you don’t deserve: specify your role in any group efforts described, including research projects and publications. Include all information about your educational background (the year your degree was rewarded, your major, the name of your degrees, and the complete name and location of the institution). Date all information about current and former memberships to any relevant organizations. If you are as transparent as possible about your past, your CV will be better for it.

3. Make it Consistent

Consistency is crucial for a CV to be reviewed and understood quickly. Organize information into categories. Include the same information for each entry in each category; for example, if you include the location of your undergraduate institution, be sure to include the location in your medical school’s description as well.

If schooling is presented in chronological order, do the same with your employment history, publications, and any other referenced category. Present the descriptions of each category in a consistent manner as well; for example, job titles in bold style under employment history mean that the titles in a volunteering category should be bold as well.

Instructions on how to order the categories in your CV vary, but as a physician, your education is so crucial to your candidacy that placing it first often makes sense. Consistency of information and how that information is presented will go a long way toward ensuring ease of use.

4. Make it Flawless

Before your CV is ever presented to any employer, have it reviewed by multiple readers. Each will evaluate the CV from a different point-of-view, so select readers who will best be able to identify weaknesses. For example, a friend with a writing background may do copy editing, but a colleague in your industry may have even more important edits affecting the content.

The most valuable feedback will come from a contact who has hiring authority in healthcare and knows what is most important to a potential employer. This authority could be an HR professional, a senior physician with whom you practice, or a department head where there is an existing academic relationship.

When you do make physical copies, print on 8 ½” by 11” white paper, on one side only, and place a single staple in the upper left-hand corner. If the page is smudged, creased or marked, reprint it. Remember, if there are grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors, if important information is missing, or if the printout is problematic, the reader may stop in their tracks and dismiss you as a candidate altogether.

No set of tips is enough to make sure you land the position you want, but these four points contain best practices that can influence a hiring authority. Keep your CV as user-friendly as possible and it will ease your search for the right practice opportunity.

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