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Physician Resume Tips: How to Avoid These 9 CV Mistakes

Creating a doctor’s resume is like walking a fine line between overcompensating and underselling. There is this precision we must abide by, but boundaries that are not set in stone. Putting all of the important details of your career into a short number of words and paragraphs that must capture the essence of who you are, in the correct order, without overstepping. Then at the end of the day, the physician resume you create may not fulfil the expectations of what the employer is wanting or needing to see. There is no guidebook, set of rules or magic formula for creating the perfect physician CV, just guidelines that you can follow that offer up the main elements that almost anyone who sees your resume will expect. When running up against an unknown number of fellow doctors and physicians, keeping your resume in these guidelines can catapult you to the front of the line.

The Purpose of a Physician Resume and What Makes it Different from Any Other Type of Resume

It may not seem like there would be much of a difference between a physician’s resume and say, the resume of a businessman, but the difference is larger than you think. To keep things clear, those who are in the medical and healthcare industry often use the resume style dubbed an academic resume. While an everyday businessman would use an industry resume. The difference is in its length and depth of information.

The Cheeky Scientist who transformed his resume from an academic CV to an industry resume states “An academic CV is typically very comprehensive: covering aspects of education, employment, publications, and training, in detail. Your academic CV is like a peer-reviewed timeline of your work history, whereas an industry resume is a persuasive marketing document meant to showcase your biggest professional achievements. For example, your CV will discuss in detail the various methodologies you used throughout your scientific career, including extensive scientific nomenclature. Your industry resume, on the other hand, will simply list and quantify your professional results, excluding any scientific or industry-related jargon.” Therefore, while it may seem completely normal to have a one-page resume for that of a businessman, a doctor or physician can have a CV that covers several pages.

What is the Average Physician’s CV Length?

If you were to research this simple question online, you would find an array of alternate answers. It seems to come down to what your experience is and what position you are going for. While there is no required length for a medical CV – just guidelines – there is a trend that tends to be around 2 – 4 pages long. However, once again, this really depends on the circumstances. An early graduate will be looking at the 2 – 3 mark, while an experienced researcher could be more in the 7 – 10 page mark.

How Much Information Should be Included on a Resume for Physicians?

Your hiring manager requires you to stay clear, concise and to the point. Below are the most important basics to add to your doctor’s resume!

  • The real basics include your full name, address, phone number and email address.
  • The location where you currently hold your medical license.
  • Undergraduate degree information which should include areas of study and dates.
  • All of your graduation details. This should include your medical school name, location, what your degree was and what year you completed it.
  • If you followed up medical school with internships, residencies or fellowships, you should definitely include these. Especially any area of specialties, what facilities you worked in, their location and what year you finished.
  • Starting with your most recent ventures and ending with your training. Your professional experience needs to be clear, accurate and in chronological order.
  • Any extra experience and relevant information to the hiring manager. I.e. professional affiliations, awards, committee memberships or honors.
  • Depending on the position you are going for, you can always include research and published papers.
  • For some, simply mentioning references are available at the end of your resume is enough. However, if you want to place them there for the hiring manager to see, include professional references and make sure those references know they could be getting a phone call on your behalf.

Common Resume Mistakes To Avoid

  1. Do I Add Personal Information?

The only personal information that should be added to your doctor’s resume should be your full name, contact information (phone number), current and/or permanent address and email address. As for what does not need to be placed on your resume, these include:

  • Age or date of birth
  • Social security number
  • License number
  • Race or nationality
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital status
  • Family situation
  • Political and/or religious beliefs
  1. What Should I Not Include In My Resume?

To keep it simple, anything outside of your professional and academic accomplishments should be avoided. Any non-medical work experience or situations, as well as any hobbies you enjoy, will not want to be read by your employers. Keep it work-based.

  1. How Do I Explain An Employment Gap?

One of the biggest mistakes doctors and physicians makes is not explaining any gaps in their resumes. Why? Because when we don’t see an explanation, we tend to fill in the gaps ourselves. That means your hiring manager could be coming up with any type of situation that caused you to have that gap. Therefore, you can both note why there is a gap in your timeline and better yet, what you gained out of that experience.

  1. Can I Add My Social Media?

While we tend to spend a lot of time on our social media, or even promote ourselves as a brand, throwing that on our resume isn’t exactly the most brilliant idea. Even if you do maintain your own website, stick to healthcare associations and networks. Subsequently, if your employer does ask for your professional website, you can relay it to them then.

  1. Should I Include My Test Scores?

No matter how well you did on your MCATs or USMLEs, your employers have no interest in knowing. Remember, your employer only needs to know about your professional accomplishments and experiences.

  1. How Do I Talk Myself Up Without Seeming Arrogant?

Don’t worry, it’s not just you who tends to downplay their accomplishments. It’s actually quite common for people to feel uncomfortable sharing their greatness. However, not allowing yourself to adequately explain the impressive things you have achieved can be a detriment to you. With your resume being the first thing employers see and how you essentially land an interview, it really needs to represent exactly who you are, what you have done and what you have to offer. So, go for it. Expand on any peak moments or difficulties you have overcome.

  1. Do I Need To Alter My Resume For Each Job I Apply For?

The short answer is yes. Although it can be much simpler to make a one size fits all resume, it can also create a shoot-yourself-in-the-foot moment. You must alter your resume to fit every company and position as each is unique to the other. Will it take a lot more time? Yes, it can. Especially when you are going to dive into the job description, research companies and positions and make sure you are hitting the mark on what the company values and shaping your CV to fit just that. For an extra note: use the keywords from the job description!

  1. Do I format it in a CV or Resume?

The words CV and resume have been mixed and matched throughout this article, but once again, it depends on the position you are going for. As well as how much time you think the hiring manager will have to look at your full CV or resume. Most physicians tend to stick to a traditional CV which works well because they are commonly used for clinical medicine jobs. However, non-clinical positions may find a doctor’s resume template may work better for them. Either way, if you are looking to go more fast-paced so that the hiring manager can skim through quickly, a resume format will benefit you more. Then in the interview, you can fill in all of the exciting blanks.

  1. Should I Hire A Physician Resume Writing Service?

If putting together a CV or resume isn’t your strong suit, or maybe you just don’t have the words to match all of the incredible things you have achieved, then hiring a resume writing service could work perfectly for you. Not only will you not need to worry about how your resume will come across to hiring managers, but you won’t need to worry about typos, unreadable fonts, format mistakes or sloppy margins. Your resume will be enhanced and professional so that you can land that important interview!

  1. Should I Include A Photograph?


Does Locum Tenens Need To Be Added To My Resume?

Absolutely! In the part of your chronological professional experience listed on your resume, you can add any Locum Tenens positions you have had. Just be sure to add

  • Full name of the institution
  • Dates worked on your Locum Tenens assignment
  • Any specialties you have or were involved in
  • What your position was throughout your time
  • The name of your supervisor and agency

As a doctor or physician, honing in on your resume or CV and making sure it is exactly what the employer and hiring manager are looking for can be a tedious task. Do I need to include this in my doctor’s resume? Or do I need to remove that from my physician’s CV? Can be asked for almost every aspect. Following the mistakes previous employees have made and being certain that the information represents you, will make your experience that much smoother. If you are unsure of how to go about it and don’t have time for a headache, remember there are physician resume writing services available. To nail that next interview, you have to get your foot in the door. Get in on the right foot with the perfect resume.