When was the last time you gave your CV a check-up? Whether your CV could use a quick tune-up or a complete overhaul, it should be a living document that reflects your career path, goals, and accomplishments – and the new year marks an ideal time to update and improve it.
When you apply for a new opportunity – from a locums assignment to a permanent position – your CV must make it through recruiters to department chiefs to reviewing physicians and finally, to the top of the pile. Having an outstanding CV can mean the difference between settling for a mediocre, ill-fitting job and finding the practice opportunity of your dreams.
All it takes to create a fantastic CV is finding the time to evaluate and improve the document – and with these quick tips compiled from research published by top medical organizations, updating your CV will be an easy and worthwhile investment.
Resources for Improving Your Physician CV
The quick tips below can help you rapidly review your CV and find areas for improvement. The tips were adapted from the following publications, which you can visit for in-depth advice on how to craft an effective curriculum vitae:
Creating a Physician CV That Shines from the New England Journal of Medicine
Creating a Standout CV from the American Medical Association
How to Write a Medical CV from the International Journal of Surgery, Oncology
Quick Tips on Improving Your Physician CV
- Use a simple and legible format with 11- or 12-point sans serif font.
- For printed CVs, use a heavier weight, cream or white paper.
- For electronic versions, save as a PDF and use your first and last name when naming the file.
- Arrange CV in chronological order.
- Explain any gaps in practice.
- Ensure details are current, accurate, and relevant to the position.
- Have your CV proofed and reviewed by someone you trust.
- Include a cover letter mentioning what you know about the organization and how you can add to the organization.
- If you do include personal interests, be brief.
- Avoid embellishing accomplishments, be honest and accurate.
- Feature distinguishing awards and achievements on the first page if possible.
- Include full legal name, contact information, education, clinical roles, leadership roles, licensure, board certification, medical professional experience, procedure/patient volumes, administrative functions, duties, activities, committee memberships, honors, awards, affiliations, publications, and presentations.
- Do not include birthdate, social security number, or marital status.
- Only provide references upon request.
- Try to keep CV limited to three or fewer pages.
- Consider creating a short and extended version of your CV.
Tips above adapted from Creating a Physician CV That Shines from the New England Journal of Medicine.
- Avoid being self-congratulatory. Instead, be brief and understated.
- Organize sections using clear headings and divisions.
- Review examples from peers in your field to learn standard CV conventions.
- If just out of residency, list education first on your CV.
- Do not include compensation, reasons for leaving, personal health issues, exam scores, license and DEA numbers, race, religion, birthplace, citizenship.
- Use verb phrases and parallel structure.
Tips above adapted from Creating a Standout CV from the American Medical Association.
- Review your CV regularly and tailor it for each new purpose or role.
- Include enough white space, avoid large sections of text, ensure no spelling errors.
- Use active words to focus on positive aspects and skills, along with short professional sentences.
- Be sure to include any volunteer medical experience, quality improvement participation, management and leadership skills, prizes and awards, teaching experience, and IT skills.
Tips above adapted from How to Write a Medical CV from the International Journal of Surgery, Oncology.
See how your CV matches up with our current locums opportunities for physicians!