It is an all too familiar feeling of excitement and trepidation, after weeks or even months of job searching to finally press the submit application button. Unfortunately, for many new physicians, the hard work you put in may not translate into a good read. So, how does one grab attention from a recruiter who has already read a hundred applications? What makes a job seeker too attractive for an employer to pass up? While an application is numerous pieces working together, here we will choose to focus on one particularly significant piece, your CV.
What is a CV?
A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, shares much in common with the typical resumé in terms of content and structure. However, where a resumé typically spans a page or two highlighting and summarizing achievements, a CV is significantly more substantial. This comes as no surprise when you translate from the original Latin, as curriculum vitae can be closely interpreted as one’s “course of life.” The typical structure of a CV includes:
A CV Header (Contact Information)
- CV Summary
- Professional Experience
- Education History
- Additional Content
Given how many CV recruiters pour-over (hundreds… seriously), who can blame them for skimming and overlooking from time to time? Sometimes, the most well-written CVs can be set aside due to bland or poor formatting, as well as boring summaries and stereotypical content. So, you will need to have several formatting strategies to catch the recruiter’s eye.
First, make sure that you are choosing professionally appropriate fonts. Times New Roman and Arial are classics and there is a reason why so many people choose to stick with these fonts. Additionally, keep to single spacing and maintain a font size of 11 or 12 pt. Immediately after legibility, it is important to choose a template to compile your CV. Luckily, there are many websites that offer free, easy-to-use CV and resume templates, such as this one from zety.com. Once you’ve found a clean-cut template, populate it with your material, but make sure to avoid unnecessary clutter!
Your CV Summary and Language
The first thing that recruiters see beyond your contact information is your CV summary. This is essentially a short summary (approximately 100 words) about why you are the best candidate for the position being offered, so make sure to sell yourself. Typically, candidates choose to highlight acquired skills and mastery of the listed requirements, or they can choose to summarize professional achievements that they have accomplished.
Given recruiters’ propensity to check for strong keywords and engaging introductions, make sure you use action verbs and avoid any of the typical pitfalls of writing. Avoid typos, run-on sentences, and those often-overlooked grammatical errors. When it comes to the recruiter, every candidate is “hard-working” and “determined,” so think of some descriptive language to get attention. When writing, integrate your skills into your summary, noting how your skill set is applicable to the position and duties.
Tailor Your CV to Your Audience
A common mistake the job seeker makes is assuming that a singular copy of a CV is enough when applying to multiple positions. However, it is imperative that you personalize and tweak your CV to relate closely to each position for which you are applying. Every recruiter and every company has unique ideas and expectations of what they want from a new physician, so do your research and tailor your CV accordingly. For instance, a hospital may be particularly keen to find someone with strong communication skills and an inclination for teamwork, while financial or accounting positions might be more concerned with organizational and task-driven workers. Make note of these key points and integrate them into your CV.
This extends beyond your CV summary, as your work experience, education, and skills sections can also be modified to highlight desirable skills that can give you an edge on the competition.
Finally, make sure to put some real-time and attention into the final section of your CV. Whereas the prior categories can often feel repetitive to recruiters even with your own personalization. This section is where you can really shine as an individual. Depending on the position, make sure to list applicable certifications, publications, and qualifications, as these can push your CV into the short stack.
Additionally, companies want to get to know you beyond a solely professional capacity. Show them who you are with a list of hobbies and extracurricular activities. Most often, how an employer feels you would fit into their culture and environment is just as important as the actual professional content of your CV. Volunteer work, accomplishments, publications, and unique projects also make for great content in this final section.
With this information in mind, you are ready to get to work on your own appealing CV! Remember, you are developing new skills every day, so constantly update your CV to reflect your growth as a physician and an individual who can bring real worth to the companies you apply to. Additionally, many physician associations, such as AAFP, post informative articles regarding their own respective preferences for CVs, so be sure to check them out. Job searching can be difficult, but with the right resources and the right attitude, you can quickly find yourself at the forefront of your prospective employer’s mind.
Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, Houston’s premier multispecialty group practice, is currently accepting CVs for Physicians and Advanced Practice Clinicians. Kelsey-Seybold Clinic offers regular weekday hours, full nursing and clerical support, paid malpractice and tail coverage, and electronic medical records.