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How Resident Physicians Can Present a Polished CV

What Should Resident Physicians Include in Their CV?
Luca Bertolli/123RF.com

As July 1st rolls around and every residency year advances, one thing that is doubtless on the minds of every chief in the country is: where next?

Whether you’re pursuing fellowship, academic positions, or private practice after residency, the final year of training will involve lots of planning and decision-making about the future. While the options available to graduating doctors can feel overwhelming, one thing that can help make the job-finding process a little smoother is to enter into the process with a polished and ready Curriculum Vitae (CV).

Like most residents, you probably haven’t even thought about your CV since the days of residency application and interviewing, which are luckily in the rear-view mirror at this point. One of the first things you can do to help ease into the job search is to dust off the old resume and get it ready to work in your favor. A well-composed, neat CV that flows easily for readers can really make an applicant stand out among the crowd. Given that the years between medical school and completion of residency follow a similar path for MD’s in each specialty, it’s important to craft one that will catch the eye of a potential employer. You want to end up with a document that highlights what makes you special without giving readers a novel to read or leaving them confused about who you really are.

So, what should every resident include in a professional CV, and what elements can be left for the annals of history?

CV Basics

First, you want to begin your CV with a set of contact information that employers can use to reliably reach you during business hours. You don’t necessarily have to include your personal cell phone, but make sure that if you give a work number it’s for your personal desk or at a location where voicemails will consistently be checked. The last thing you need is a recruiter or hiring manager to have to struggle to reach you! Include a work email and a backup email, since many hospitals’ emails have sensitive spam filters. Address is optional but probably best to include.

Education

When summing up your education experience, start with college and work forward from there. You can include where you attended school and during which years, the name and type of degrees you obtained, and any special academic title (summa cum laude, etc.). Do not include GPA or thesis titles- not necessary. For medical school, you can include any distinctions you obtained upon graduation (honors, AOA, etc).

Medical Training

Residency training information can then follow the Education section. Make sure to include the dates of training, name of your program director, and title as chief resident (admin or education chief).  You can also add in an “awards” section following the education portion to highlight any educational or teaching awards you may have received during medical school or residency.

Work and Extra-Curriculars

After opening with the facts about your training, it’s time to move on to things you’ve actually accomplished during your training. This means highlighting any research, administrative work, and general activities that demonstrate how you’ve filled your time above and beyond the basic requirements of training. Start with publications; anything that has been in a peer-reviewed journal (even abstracts) should be included. Use a standard format (eg: Vancouver) for each item. Next, include any presentations you did at events either within your hospital or at outside conferences. Note, M+M and tumor-board type presentations should not be included.

Another important section to include is “extra-curricular” activities, which includes activities inside and out of the hospital. Any committees, boards, or clubs within hospital should be included with a 1-2 sentence descriptor of your role. Remember not to under-sell your contribution or importance in these roles! Any relevant volunteer work can also be included. For all of these activities, you should include rough dates of your service and name of supervisor (if you had one).

Extras

Lastly, it’s good to end your CV with brief lists of any professional societies you belong to, as well as any unique skills you might have that set you apart from the crowd. Things like professional sports titles or awards, language fluency apart from English, and community leadership roles can all be mentioned in brief. Some people like to include any particular hobbies or interests.

While this sounds like a lot of information, the best thing to do is approach the resume in a step-wise manner. Make a list of each category you want to include, and then bullet-point the items within each category that you can think of. List the bulleted items in chronological order, and fill in whatever details you need for each one. Once the details are fleshed out, move on to formatting. It’s best to make sure that titles are in a slightly larger font than the details, and that you use a font that is easy to read without being distracting (Arial, Courier New). Avoid Times and New Roman, as it will lend more of a “high school essay” feel. If your resume extends past one page, also include a header with your last name and page number on each page.

Once you’re satisfied with your finished product, time to crowd-source! Get someone or multiple people to review your CV and provide feedback. You want it to be polished and perfect before sending out to future employers. And remember, at the end of the day your in-person impression is what will really make the difference, but setting expectations with your CV is a great way to get your foot in the door.


Final Step, Submit the CV

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About Laura Gilroy, MD

I am a chief resident in Ob-Gyn at a busy community hospital in Connecticut. My interests include Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Ob Critical Care, and Ultrasound. I have done research around quality improvement in maternal care, and gestational diabetes. I’m hoping to go into fellowship in MFM to further hone my skills and expertise in caring for moms and their babies. In my spare time I love to play tennis, do yoga, run, cook, and enjoy the outdoors. I also find writing to be an essential outlet for both my ideas and creativity!