Recruiters, hospitals, and medical groups receive tons of CVs for every position. When faced with a huge stack of CVs, most will skim and only look at the ones that stand out. What sets yours apart?

For the purposes of seeking employment in non-academic settings, a CV should be kept simple and focus on training and employment. It’s important that the reader be able to follow a timeline of education and training, as well as account for any gaps. Other things potential employers are looking for are state licensure, board certification, and visa status.

The following tips can make your CV easier to read and stand out from the competition:

  • Pick a simple font that is easy to read, such as Arial or Verdana. Use italics, bold, and underlining sparingly.
  • Name should be clear at the top center of page with credentials (ie: Mark Patel, MD, FACS). It is not recommended to put “Dr.” in front of the name, as this is repetitive.
  • Contact information should be near the name. Just include the basics – mailing address, email address, and cell phone number. It’s not necessary to include multiple mailing or email addresses. 
  • An objective is not needed.
  • For a physician that has been in practice for a while, experience should be listed as the first section of the resume. If a newer physician to practice or still in training, education would come first. If it is difficult for a reader to follow the path on the education or experience, consider explaining in a cover letter.
  • On experience, be sure to list the practice name, type of practice (ie: academic, single-specialty), city, and dates of employment. Most recent experience should be first. A brief description of the practice and responsibilities is great if there is space.
  • On education, list chronologically with the most recent education being first. Don’t list anything prior to undergrad. List the school/hospital and date completed. Any noteworthy honors can be listed with the education (ie: Chief Resident) or in a separate section under Honors and Awards. If trained under a particularly well-known clinician, this can be included.
  • Include state licenses (including inactive), but license numbers aren’t necessary. UPIN and DEA numbers aren’t needed.
  • Include board certifications and re-certifications with dates.
  • List any languages spoken in addition to English. Don’t list English.
  • Don’t include a long list of publications. If the physician has multiple important publications, consider putting ‘publications available on request’.
  • Don’t list references. It’s implied that they are available upon request.
  • For international graduates, be sure to list ECFMG and USMLE, as well as citizenship status.
  • Personal information, such as spouse, children, hometown, hobbies, and interests can be included, space permitting. Don’t add it if it pushes the CV to an additional page.
  • Length should be commensurate with experience. Consider having an abbreviated and full length CV if it gets over two pages.

Finally, and perhaps most important, have someone proofread it. Check for grammar, spelling, and even style. It’s vital that the resume have an easy to read format. A CV is the first impression that a potential employer has; make it a good one!