4 Tips to Perfect Your CV

6 minute read

6 minute read

The beginning of your last year of training is when you’ll want to refresh and update your resume.

Your resume will act as an introduction to potential employers, and is a summary of your background. Its goal is to clearly outline your credentials for a professional position.

You may not have touched it since applying for residency, so time to brush it off and add to it the additional skills you have acquired during training.

Your resume may get only 30 to 60 seconds of consideration by a potential employer, so remember that it’s your chance to impress.

So what's the difference between a resume and a CV?

CVs and resumes are similar in many ways, and should both include your contact information, employment history, and education information.

But CVs are longer than resumes (usually two to three pages) and they usually contain more information related to a person’s academic background.

CVs should also include professional qualifications, awards, publications, presentations, and professional memberships. The goal of a CV is to accurately list your history. They are usually used for academic positions.

A resume should be more concise than a CV (one, perhaps two pages long) and also include additional clinical training and license/ certification information. Its goal is to persuade an employer that you are the right person for a position.

CVs are usually static, while resumes are tailored for the position to which someone is applying.

So while in content a CV and a resume are similar, a CV is a static list of credentials while a resume is a marketing document that demonstrates to an employer why you should be hired for a specific position.

So when editing your documents, it may be useful to have both a CV and a resume depending on where you are applying. While many of these tips are geared toward creating a resume, the principles of accuracy and formatting apply to CVs as well.

Tip 1: Remember the 4 C's: Clear, Current, Concise, Curated

The purpose of your resume’s content should be attract positive attention and to generate action on the part of a potential employer.

So keep your resume clear and current, with your education and professional qualifications leading the way. Recruiters look at those elements first, so make sure to put those front and center.

Keeping it concise will really highlight your most important accomplishments. The best resumes are written short phrases, usually with bullet points, as a way to relate your education, experience, and skills to the position to which you’re applying.

Employers usually skim resumes first, so being concise will let your true value show.

A resume is an achievement-oriented marketing device, meant to showcase your accomplishments.

Your resume should reflect your most current achievements, so when refreshing it make sure it contains all of your updated education, experience, and successes.

And because it is a marketing document meant to feature your accomplishments, curate your resume to each job you are applying for to highlight your successes that have direct bearing on the position. For example, if you’re looking for an academic position, make sure to highlight any research that you have published.

TIP 2: Think about what you're not including, too

Don’t include an objective—if you applied, it’s clear you’re interested in the job.

Don’t include acronyms or abbreviations without defining them, and don’t add personal information such as non-medical work experience that does not relate to your role as a medical professional.

Only include work experience that is not directly relevant to the position for which you’re applying if it shows off additional skills that can translate to the position.

Other things to leave off of your resume include your marital status, religious preference, references, sex, family, personal interests, hobbies, or political affiliations.

TIP 3: Don't forget to consider the format

Did you know that potential employers usually spend less than a minute reviewing resumes at the screening stage?

Because of this, making your resume easy to read will benefit you by quickly presenting information pertinent to the position in a clear fashion to recruiters. By organizing information by understandable general headings and subheadings, you’ll keep your resume easy to read.

Along with clarity, maintain consistency in your formatting. In fact, the format of your resume is nearly as important as its content.

Use a simple, professional font. Keep the structure of your phrases and dates consistent throughout the document.

Only use present tense for your current position, and use past tense for everything else.

Don’t use personal pronouns—after all, it’s understood that everything on your resume is about your experiences.

And don’t worry about using a fancy or unusual design to stand out. Often an unusual design can backfire by making it harder for a potential employer to find the information they’re looking for.

There’s no need for headers, footers, tables, images, or charts: the point of the resume is to showcase your achievements, not your design skills.

And while recruiters usually don’t want to look at a 10-page resume, squeezing too much text onto a single page isn’t great either.

After all, a potential employer isn’t going to get out a magnifying glass to look over your resume!

It can make it difficult to read, when your goal should be to make your qualifications stand out.

TIP 4: Ask someone else to look at it

Also ask someone else to read it over and think about your resume from a potential employer’s perspective.

Do you seem like a good candidate? Most importantly, really think about how you want to organize your information to reflect the image you want to present to potential employers!

If you want to go the extra mile and make sure that you have the “callback potential” that will help you land your dream position, hire a resume expert to review yours and make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward.

But be careful if you decide to use a professional! Make sure to go to one who has experience with physicians.

And finally...

Don’t forget that your resume is your introduction to a potential employer. It’s your way to put your best foot forward and showcase your talents.

So keep these tips in mind as you start editing your resume, and you’ll be able to find the best position for you!