You can’t apply for an opportunity in the medical profession without having a Curriculum Vitae (CV). When applying for a new opportunity, your CV is the first thing any facility or administrator will review about you. A great CV may be the difference between getting interviewed for your next opportunity or having your application withdrawn from the candidate pool. We don’t want that to happen to you. Take the process of creating a CV seriously. Don’t Screw This Up!
This article will help you create a great CV to stand out from the other applicants. We will highlight the items within a CV and how it should be organized to enhance your chances of scoring your next opportunity to contract directly with a facility for locums-type work. The aim is to assist practitioners in creating a CV that is impactful yet simple.
Practitioners should always have an updated CV to hand out to facilities upon request. In addition to needing a CV to apply for a new position, you will also need a CV to obtain a malpractice policy, apply for state medical licenses, and to get and renew hospital privileges. We offer some suggestions on technical items you should consider when building a CV and how it should be structured.
Technical Considerations for CV
Layout design and colors. Try not to be overly creative when choosing your CV layout. Stick with simple CV templates that are commonly used. You want a layout that flows so the document can be quickly reviewed. Try to avoid too many colors. It is fine to stick with all black. To spice it up, you can add a second color, like blue. Remember that your CV needs to look good on a computer screen and also when it is printed. It may be printed in grayscale mode, so colors will not show up well.
Font. The selected font should be easy on the eyes, something people are familiar with, and allow for quick reading. Times New Roman font is probably the best, but also consider Arial and Calibri. Stick with a font size of 11-12, and make sure it is single-spaced.
Section Headings. Make sure that your CV is broken up with section headings and markings that clearly delineate different sections.
Spelling and Grammar. Review your CV for spelling and grammar mistakes. How can you be taken seriously as an applicant if you did not take the time to review your CV for spelling errors?
Chronological Order. Your entire CV should be organized in either chronological order or reverse chronological order. Most facilities like to see your most recent professional experiences/employment first. Thus, all sections should be placed in reverse chronological order. This means that your most recent activity is listed first in descending order. This format should be consistent across all sections, including education, work history, publications, etc.
Formatting Dates. Throughout your CV, keep the dates listed in the same format. For example, select 1/1/22 or 1/22 and use one of these formats throughout the CV. Stick with standard US formatting for dates, not how it is done in other countries. Another option for listing dates is “Month YEAR.” Facilities want to see the dates listed on either the document’s right or left side. The location of the dates should be kept consistent. You should list your education and work history with the period that you were there. For example, that might be “1/21 – 3/23” or “January 2021 – March 2023.” If you have not completed your education, place your expected completion date. As for publications, put the date that the article was published. You can also set a single date for any awards received and dates of any oral presentations. When listing state medical licenses, place the date of expiration.
Be Concise. Keep it simple and concise. Present the information that the facilities want to see in your CV. There is no need to fluff it up. Stay away from cliche phrases like goal-oriented, motivated, and team player. Just state the facts!
Keep it Short. For most practitioners, the CV should not be longer than 1-2 pages. If you have an extended work history or academic work, consider listing only the most recent and providing a separate document of these items upon request.
Electronic Format. Your CV should be saved as either a Microsoft Word file or PDF so that it can be sent via email. If you send your CV as a Word file, consider placing a watermark or locking the document so that another individual cannot edit it.
File Name. When finishing your CV, save the file with your name and when the document was last updated, such as “Joe Smith CV _ 1/1/22.pdf.”
Keep it Updated. Take the time to update your CV before you email it to a facility about a new opportunity. Your education may stay the same, but your contact information, previous work history, academic work, and licensing may need updating.
Structure to CV
Title. Don’t title the document as “Curriculum Vitae” or “Resume.” Instead, the document’s title should be your first and last name with a post-nominal abbreviation (“Joe Smith, MD”). There is no reason to add “CV” to the title, but you can if you want to.
Contact Information. At the very top, right below your name, you should list your contact information, including your mailing address, email, and cell phone number. In the future, the facility will use this information to contact you and set up a Professional Services Agreement. Make sure it is accurate! And make sure your email address is professional and appropriate.
Citizenship. Along with your contact information, you could place your citizenship status (i.e., USA). If you are on a J-1 waiver or H1b, this information should be visible on your CV.
Photo. Although it is not required, you should consider putting a professional headshot on your CV. It personalizes the CV to those reviewing it. Let’s be honest; the facilities are searching for you online, so they will know what you look like at some point.
Education Section. It is preferred that you list your education in descending or reverse chronological order if that matches the rest of your CV format. You should list college, but listing high school is not always necessary. List your school/program, degree, location, and years you spent there. If you have not finished your schooling or training, then put your expected completion date.
Certification and Licensure Section. List if you are board certified, the years you have been certified, and when it expires. Also, list your active state medical license and when they expire.
Professional Experience Section. This should be listed in reverse chronological order, like the education section. If you have had many clinical roles, consider condensing the list to include the most recent positions. Each employment role should be listed with the hospital or company name, location, and dates you worked there. Recognize that any work stoppage greater than one month may be questioned. To avoid being asked about the gap in your work history, you could put the reasoning for it within your CV, such as “Medical Mission to Haiti, 1/21 – 1/22.”
Honors and Awards Section. This section is not required but useful if you have received many accolades.
Publications and Presentations Section. Make sure to list each publication and presentation. This section always seems to help practitioners stand out. If you have done any academic work, then list it here.
Hobbies Section. This is not required, but some facilities like to find practitioners with hobbies they can do around their facility. For example, some facilities look to attract those individuals that enjoy hunting, fishing, and hiking.
Additional Sections. You can add sections for your non-clinical roles if they are relevant but where you did not directly practice medicine. Lastly, you could have a membership and association section to highlight the organizations you are in. This is not a necessary section.
Every practitioner needs a good CV if they want to contract directly for locums-type work. An excellent CV will open doors for you and get you to the next step in the application process. Don’t minimize how important it is to have a great CV. Administrators and recruiters review many CVs; make yours stand out by considering the suggestions mentioned above.