Great First Impressions: CV Do's and Don'ts

Your CV is more than a list of information; it's an illustration of your past achievements and future goals. Most importantly, it's a representation of your ability to communicate effectively. Potential employers often look past the words on the pages, paying close attention such aspects as format, layout, grammar, and syntax. Here's some basic information that will help streamline your CV and ensure you make the most of your first impression.

The Basics

CV's should follow standard resume format: education first if you're just finishing school. If you've been practicing for several years; put it last. Include your internship, residency, and fellowship locations and dates. Also include all state license numbers, your areas of board certification, or certification status, languages spoken, and citizenship.

CV.com

Along with your regular contact information, make sure to include an email address. A lot of professional communication takes place over the internet. It's quick and convenient, especially if one or both parties are away from the phone for long periods of time. Also, make sure your email address sounds professional. If the only personal email account you have is "This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.," sign up for another one-there are plenty of free services out there like hotmail, AOL, or Yahoo!

Get Personal

You should add as much spousal and family information as you feel comfortable. "Hospitals are interested in knowing about your family and lifestyle, since you're going to be a part of their community and serve the people in it," Says Kelly Marsh, Director of Marketing for Seaboard Health Care Search, a physician staffing firm located in Nashville, TN. Personal information will give hospitals a good idea of the timeline involved in hiring you, especially if you're planning on relocating. Do you need to wait for your spouse to find a job, or your kids to finish out the school year? Are you looking for a home in a neighborhood zoned for a specific school? Do you have your heart set on a rural or suburban area, or do you prefer to live in a metropolitan area? Not only will this information be useful to potential employers; it may help you as well. They'll be able to refer quality local realtors or contractors, as well as other resources you may need.

But Not Too Personal:

Don't put your Social Security number on your CV. "It's unnecessary and risky information to give out," states William Herrington, COO of Seaboard Health Care. "If a potential employer wants to check your professional background, they can use your state licenses to do so." It's also unnecessary to list every study, publication or speech you've been involved with. Hospital administrators are busy; they want to be able to look at a CV and quickly find the information that's most relevant to them. For the most part, they're interested in clinical experience and educational backgrounds. For this reason, a CV doesn't need to be any longer than two or three pages at most.

Closing the Gap: :

Creating a CV can be difficult if you've taken a break from medicine, so make sure you document and explain any gaps in your timeline. "It's tough to find an opportunity if you've been out of medicine for any length of time," states Marsh. "If it's been more than a year or two, I suggest taking a class on a new procedure or doing some volunteer work that could go on your CV.

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