Top 5 Physician CV Mistakes


Being a physician often puts you in a position of high demand if you are looking for employment. Most times, it would seem as though your credentials could speak for themselves. However, having a curriculum vitae – CV – that is not well put together can be detrimental to your job search.

The CV is one of the first ways you present yourself to a potential employer, and if that presentation is sloppy and disorganized, those qualities can be transferred to you as a physician. To avoid this scenario, you will want to have a CV that highlights your achievements while being logical, orderly and easily scanned. Here we will cover five common mistakes in physician CVs and what you can do to fix them.

Dates Are the First Thing You See

The most relevant information should be easily spotted when a potential employer is reading though your CV. While the date of your training or work and experience can be an important piece of information, it is not the most important. It is better to start off the line of text with the title of the position you held, such as Critical Care Fellow, or the place where you worked or trained, such as Mayo Clinic. The date can come afterword and is typically lined up with that first piece of information on the right side of the page.

Tip: To call attention to the position or place of work/training is to bold or underline those terms. When done sequentially, this can have a nice clean and organized look.

No Chronological Order

Putting your education, training and work experience in chronological order is another key in making your CV succinct and easy to read. A more seasoned physician will typically want to highlight their years of practice experience, so the work experience section would come first, then training and then education. As a new physician however, putting your training section first makes the most sense as you probably don’t have extensive work experience yet. If you do have work experience you would like to highlight, you have the option of putting either section first.

If you have gaps in any of your sections be sure to offer a brief description of your activities during this time period and be prepared to address it during any contact with hiring staff.

Tip: Each section should be reverse chronological order. This allows your potential employer to get the most recent information about your experience and highlights the most recent skills you have obtained.

Inconsistent Formatting

The details can really make a difference when a potential employer is looking over your CV. Look over each section and determine if the headings and punctuation are consistent. You don’t want one section using bolded words where you had used underlined words before, such as with a title or organization name. Also, little details like the types of bullet points, colons after headings, or using dashes instead of “to” between dates should really remain consistent throughout your CV.

Not only does taking care of the details make you look detail-oriented, but it also shows that you were willing to put time and effort into your application, so you must really want the job.

Tip: Have someone look over your CV who hasn’t seen it yet. A fresh pair of eyes is often times the best way to find those little mistakes you may have overlooked.

Too Long

As a resident or physician you are most likely going to have an extensive resume that includes honors/awards, research, volunteer activities, and other various experiences n top of your education, training, and work experience. It is fine to have a CV on hand that reflects all of that information, but most employers would prefer to look over a CV that is two to four pages maximum. This makes it much easier for the person reading over your CV to find the necessary information without getting too bogged down in the details.

Tip: If you have a very extensive record of research and other activities, keep a CV with all of that information included so that you can give it to a potential employer upon request.

Going Too Far Back with Work History

If you are a physician who is just about to finish residency, chances are you are not going to have a very extensive work history. Trying to build this section up with past work experiences that range from high school landscaping to bartending typically isn’t the best idea because it looks like filler. Most employers understand that as a new physician, you don’t yet have a great deal of work experience. If you don’t have anything to add to the work experience section then you can just leave it out.

These are a few of the most typical mistakes Resolve finds when reviewing a physician’s CV. Avoiding little mistakes like these gives you the best chance of landing the job you want. To bolster your chances further, use Resolve’s custom search services. Resolve revises your CV, creates your cover letter, and takes care of the job search so you don’t have to. Call us at 877-758-3318 or fill out our short form here.