How to Create an Outstanding CV

How to Create an Outstanding CV

Whether you’re a resident or fellow looking for your first professional position or you are an established physician searching for your next challenge, having a polished CV is paramount. More comprehensive than a resume, a CV (Curriculum Vitae) is often the first impression a potential employer or recruiter will have of you. As in real life, first impressions matter. Knowing what to include in your CV is essential, but how you present the information is just as important. Read on to discover the keys to creating a standout CV.


The Basics: What to Add to Your CV

Although you may have a general idea of what to include in your CV, you may not know the preferred order of the sections. Name and contact information is always listed first. Be sure to include your cell phone number. If you have profiles on professional social media sites like LinkedIn or physician-specific job boards or sites, list those as well. Education is the next section, followed by Postgraduate Training, and then Certification and Licensure. After that, add Practice Experience, and then Professional and Teaching Appointments. Next, list Research and Publications. It is acceptable to name drop in this portion of the CV and include the names of peers or professors you have worked with on research projects. The last sections should be Accomplishments, followed by Professional Society Memberships, and finally Personal and Professional References. Within each section, list each item using reverse chronological order – put the most recent degree or accomplishment first, the second most recent item next, and so on.


Going Beyond the CV Basics


Astute job seekers know they need to go beyond the basics to create a document that will stand out. Below are some tips and techniques to take your CV to the next level. 


  • Subtly highlight who you are as an individual. If a personal interest or pursuit is related to the position for which you are applying, it is acceptable to include a brief description and explanation of its relevance in a separate section at the end of your CV. Consider writing a cover letter; this is also a place where you can reveal your particular passion for medicine. Frame any mention of personal characteristics in terms of how they will benefit your employer, coworkers, or patients.
  • Use gapping and parallelism when you write your CV. Gapping utilizes incomplete sentences to keep your CV concise and scannable. This technique removes unnecessary words but still conveys essential information. Each gapping phrase should start with a verb. Use present tense verbs for roles you currently hold and past tense verbs for former roles. Practice parallelism by using gapping consistently throughout your CV.
  • Don’t neglect document formatting. It is essential that your document looks clean and professional. Search for templates online to get a sense of layout or to use as a starting point. Choose a professional-looking font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Embrace white space to make your CV easier to read. Be consistent in your formatting and make sure your margins, spacing, and type treatments are the same throughout the document.


CVs are an integral part of the job-seeking process. If you want your CV to stand out, you must go beyond just the basics. Ensure that your CV is error-free and uses consistent phrasing and formatting. Pay attention to the details, because potential employers and recruiters – like Jordan Search Consultants – definitely do.


For more information on Jordan Search Consultants’ Career Placement Solutions FREE Service for residents and fellows, please contact Kathy Jordan at [email protected].

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