So, you’re considering new career opportunities and beginning to think seriously about applying for positions. What’s the first concrete step you should take to begin the process? If you’re honest, you’d probably admit it’s a task you’d like to put off. You know you need to update your CV, but it’s a bit daunting. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to write a CV for medical professionals, so you can land the jobs you want.
As a medical professional, you know that having a CV is a must, and everyone competing in the medical job market has one. But do you have a CV that stands out? Does your CV represent you in a professional, succinct manner? Does it invite recruiters to get to know you better? Or is your CV dated, wordy, unfocused, and off-putting, however impressive your training and experience may actually be?
Why a Professional Curriculum Vitae is So Important
Whether you’re just starting your career, or updating your documents to launch a new chapter, there’s a lot to consider. A CV is not just a catalog of your education and work history. It’s your first opportunity to make a great impression, introduce yourself, and project an image you’ve hand-crafted. You’re putting your best foot forward, and it’s important that you start on the right foot!
In the healthcare jobs market, recruiters look at dozens of CVs every day, and appearances count, but the content is also critical. Creating an effective summary of your education, skills, and work history is an important task, one that’s deserving of careful consideration. While the point is to convey the pertinent facts of your life, you also want to pay attention to format, length, spelling, which specifics you choose to include, keywords, and accuracy.
What To Include as You Write a CV for Medical Professionals
The terms “CV” and “resume” are used almost interchangeably, but there are differences you should be aware of. As a medical professional, you’ll want to create a CV.
Key Components of a CV for Medical Professionals:
One of the most crucial pieces of information you can include in your CV is your contact information. Be sure your CV has your name, major credential (MD, DO, NP, PA-C) address, phone number, email, and social media profile link(s).
Your professional summary includes a sentence or two to provide an overview of your training and work experience that aligns with the position you’re applying for. Adding your years of cumulative experience to this field as well as any specialties in your field which could help to contribute to the position are advised.
Core Qualifications / Skills
This is where you can write a short summary that includes soft skills (interpersonal strengths such as leadership, organization, etc.) and hard skills (certifications, additional medical training, etc.) which help to qualify you for the position. You may choose to use bullet points in this section of the CV.
Work History / Professional Experience
List your work history/jobs that pertain to the position you’re applying for, and list them in reverse order, starting with your current position first; use dates to clarify how much experience you’ve had in specific areas of practice. Also include responsibilities and key achievements within your role, which are typically portrayed using bullet points so the reader can easily scan this information.
Include a full listing of your educational achievements, from most recent educational accomplishments to oldest. Depending on your profession, you likely will want to list higher education and post-graduate education and may exclude compulsory education (K-12).
To round out your CV, you may also want to list certifications, published work, honors, or additional skills.
Additional Tips as You Write Your CV for Medical Professionals
- Save personal narratives for a cover letter, don’t include this in your CV.
- Don’t include personal details such as race, religion, age, place of birth, citizenship, and marital status.
- A CV may be 3 pages or longer. However, it’s still important to be concise. Use bullet points rather than full sentences when appropriate.
- Don’t add unnecessary language to try to elongate your CV.
- Never exaggerate anything on your CV.
- Use headings such as “Teaching” or “Research”; education may be divided between “Degrees” and “Advanced Training.”
- Don’t include information as to why you left previous positions, your desired income, or your work history that isn’t pertinent to your medical career.
- You may or may not choose to list references on your CV, but do be prepared to provide them when asked.
- Do ask the people you want to use as references for permission to share their information, you don’t want them to be surprised to receive a reference call about you.
- Use phrases rather than full sentences to keep your presentation concise.
- Use consistent grammar structure throughout your CV.
Make sure you’ve proofread your CV for simple spelling mistakes and typos. Make sure you have all names spelled correctly, that information you include about schools, workplaces, dates, addresses, phone numbers, etc., is current and accurate. Having outdated or incorrect information will make your information appear sloppy and unprofessional.
BE SURE TO ALSO DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE, “10 TIPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE CV.”
How To Design Your CV for Medical Professionals
Websites with CV Templates
Now that we’ve reviewed the basics of what to include (and exclude) in your CV, it’s time to consider the appearance of your document. What format will you choose? Templates are available on websites like Creative Market or Pinterest, word processing programs like Word and Pages, and on design platforms like Canva or PicMonkey; many are offered for free. You can also go to sites like Etsy to purchase a template or have something designed specifically for you on a website such as Fiverr.
If you’re unsure of what format you want, spend some time on any of the sites listed above to see what appeals to you. As you view samples of CVs, you’ll learn what styles you prefer and get a sense of what will best represent you to prospective employers. You’ll see template options such as “professional,” “modern,” “minimalist,” “simple,” etc. Keep in mind searching for “CV” will often pull in resumes templates as well.
Exclude Photos as you Design Your Curriculum Vitae
Often examples of resumes include photos, but the best advice for your medical professional CV is not to include a photo. Keep in mind that recruiters will be checking you out on social media sites, so they’ll see photos posted there. They will also ask you for a photo if they require that as part of their recruiting or interviewing process. All that said, if you choose to include a photo, that’s also fine. There are no rigid rules to this process.
Design Your Curriculum Vitae So It’s Easy to Read
Once you choose a general style and layout, you’ll also want to focus on a few other details. You may choose a template that gives you everything you want. Or you may find a layout you like but want to choose a different font or point size (size of the type) or vary the use of regular, bold, or italic type in your document.
Whatever font you choose, make sure it’s easy to read. Don’t try to be artistic with your font choice. Your CV is not a document that should have an “artsy” look.
It may seem that these variables are unimportant details. But these choices can make your document appear clean and current, or fussy and dated. Above all, you want your finished product to look polished, organized, and have a consistent format. In a sea of applications, your CV should be memorable for the substance and the style you present.
Keywords in Your CV for Medical Professionals Can Make Yours Stand Out: Here’s How
Recruiters use software that searches CVs for keywords to help them efficiently evaluate candidates. As you prepare your CV, use keywords that will be easily found by software and search engines, and can be quickly spotted by recruiters.
For instance, if you’ve had ER/ED experience, note whether that has been “fast track” or “main track.” Indicate if you’re a primary care provider, or work in urgent care. Write names of procedures and other details that will showcase your expertise and experience. Mention systems and software you’ve used by name, especially electronic health records systems: Epic, Cerner, etc.
Keywords will literally help you be found and can make the difference in getting interviews and job offers, or not making it through the screening process. If you’re unsure of what keywords to use in your CV, try searching online for keywords that pertain to your medical degree or your field of specialty.
A quick Google search for “keywords for emergency medicine doctor” yields this to give you suggestions. Google “keywords” plus whatever specialty or topic you’re writing about to find keywords that will help your CV stand out. Google will do a lot of the work for you by giving you lists of keywords to choose from, just as in the example noted above.
Keeping Your Medical Professional CV Up to Date
How often should you update your CV? As often as you add to your education or work experience. Even if you don’t have updates to note in these areas, it’s a good idea to periodically review your CV and be sure that all the information you’ve included is still accurate. At WMS, our recruiters recommend that providers send us any updates to their CV every six months, so we have the most recent version on file.
Have you changed any of your contact information? Have you added new skills or positions, even if you haven’t changed employers? If any of this important information has changed, be sure to update it.
Keeping your CV current when you’re promoted or complete a new certification, etc., will make it easy to have your CV ready to submit when you find an opportunity that interests you. If you haven’t updated your CV in years, it will be a much bigger challenge to gather the critical details of positions, dates of employment, specifics of skills, etc.
Before you submit your CV for a job application, ask a peer whose judgment you trust to review it, and give you feedback. Better yet, ask a couple of people to review your draft. Having someone else proofread your document is essential. Ask them to read for clarity and consistency as well. Let it sit a day or two and re-read it to determine if you’ve included everything you want to highlight.
Additional Considerations Beyond Your CV to Help You Land the Job
Keep in mind that other choices which are not even part of your CV can also make you appear dated or out-of-touch, or even unsuitable for a professional position.
What service are you using for email? Is it AOL? If so, it could be worth upgrading to a Gmail, Outlook, or even a Yahoo account. If you’re still using the first email address you created in high school, you might want to consider updating this, at least for your professional communications. Typically, including your full name in your email address is best for professional correspondence.
As technology and society evolve, it’s good to be comfortable with texting or messaging and offer that as a means of communication when you’re working with a recruiter. This means triple-checking that your phone number is correct on your CV to make sure they can contact you.
What about your social media presence? Be aware that your social media profiles will be reviewed and evaluated as appropriate or inappropriate for the professional role you’re seeking. If you would feel awkward having a recruiter view your social media profiles, you should consider editing your content.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider creating one. Up to 90% of recruiters report using LinkedIn to recruit or screen candidates, including WMS.
Fear of Technology
Avoid sounding intimidated by technology or reluctant to use technology in general. While you don’t want to represent yourself as more tech-savvy than you really are, if you’re not comfortable with the technology you’re expected to utilize, consider asking for help from a tech-savvy friend or relative, or use online tutorials to get up to speed. Technology is considered a necessity in most professions, so understanding enough to work with it is important.
While your responsiveness won’t be something to showcase on your CV, keep in mind that once you submit a CV, you can expect to be communicating with recruiters. Prompt, professionally worded, and courteous emails or texts will put you ahead of candidates who are not good communicators.
Next Steps to Getting Your Perfect Position
We’ve included the template below as an example of a simple yet professional CV for medical professionals. This version was modified from a Canva template, which you can find on their site by searching “CV.”
Good luck with updating or creating, whichever you need to do, and remember, this is your first chance to make a great impression. Your effort here will be well worth your time and thought!
Once your CV is ready, if you’re an existing WMS provider, we encourage you to email us your most updated version. If you’re interested in working with WMS as a contracted locum tenens medical provider, you can submit your CV to us either by contacting us on our contact form or by applying to one of our open jobs.