Physician CV Writing Tips

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As a physician, by the time you finish residency training and are searching for your first practice opportunity, most likely, you will already have a CV of some sort, because one is needed to apply for residency and fellowship programs, among other uses for a CV. So, here are a few tips to turn your CV into a job search tool - a resume.

These tips will help you compose a great CV that will stand out among the physician candidate pool, and help you get your foot in the door for your desired physician job.

Condense and Trim Where Possible

Your CV likely includes medical research papers and other projects related to academia or medical science. For a job search, these are not needed on your resume. It will make your document much more manageable to remove the extra pages of research from your CV.

Consider Your CV From a Recruiter's Perspective

What do you want a potential employer to know about you, first and foremost? Think about how your resume' will look to the hiring manager or physician recruiter. They review hundreds of CVs and resumes in a week. How will yours stand out?

Use spacing, bullet points, and bold type to make your resume look visually appealing and easy to scan within minimal time (a few minutes, if not seconds). Make sure the key points (contact information, professional experience, specialty, and degrees, most importantly) can be quickly identified upon glancing at your resume.

If someone has to flip to the second page of your CV to find out what specialty you practice, your resume needs some serious updating!

Paint a Clear, Complete Picture

Your resume should illustrate your professional body of work. Make sure the illustration is complete. Show a linear progression without gaps in employment.

Include a brief description of each employer. While your facility or practice may be well-known to you and other local medical professionals, a hiring manager may not recognize your employer, so a brief description of it will help the hiring manager better understand the type of practice setting(s) in which you are comfortable working.

As with any resume, use action words (verbs) to describe your role and your accomplishments in each practice. Minimize your use of adjectives and adverbs. While it may be self-explanatory to a recruiter what a gastroenterologist does, or what a typical general surgeon's work week is like, not every physician's practice is the same. Therefore, it helps to provide a few details to help flesh out your experience and give a more clear picture of your unique work experience. These details may include:

  • Patient volume
  • Patient mix
  • Any areas of sub-specialty or concentration within your specialty
  • Any additional certifications, clinical skills, or surgical skills that set you apart from other doctors in your specialty.
  • Providers with whom you work regularly - NPs/PAs, etc. 
  • Patient satisfaction scores or ratings (if positive, and if applicable)
  • Any special or new equipment with which you're experienced, certified, etc.
  • Any special or new procedures you do

In today's physician job market, employers are seeking team players who will work well within the existing culture of the organization. Therefore, soft skills are becoming increasingly valuable in physician candidates. While these are not as easily portrayed in your resume, including the details about your experience working with a team, or regarding any recognition you've received or metrics you can provide will help illustrate what you add to the team.

Education, CME, and Licenses

Don't forget to include your medical degrees - and don't forget undergraduate! (Even though that was a long time ago.) Also list licenses, including states and expiration dates.

Board certification should also be in this section - for most positions today, board certification is required. If you aren't board certified, your job search will be more limited and challenging (unless you're currently in training and haven't yet sat for the board exam).


Do not forget to proofread your resume! Have at least one or two people review your resume before applying for physician jobs, to catch any typos or misspellings. 

Additionally, you may want to reach out to a recruiter at a physician search firm to take a look at your resume' and see if he or she has any revisions or additions. 

As the physician workforce trends towards increased employment (and away from physicians owning their own practices), CVs are more important than ever to physicians in their job search, as they are increasingly at the mercy of hiring managers and recruiters when seeking their next practice opportunity.

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