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Tips for Making Your CV and Resume Stand Out

When you’re applying for a new job, your CV is the equivalent of a 30-second elevator pitch. An employer will spend less than a minute glancing at your qualifications and former positions before mentally getting off the elevator and heading somewhere else, which is why having a polished and succinct CV is crucial. Here are some tips for making yours stand out:

Arrange your job history in reverse chronological order.

Make sure to include all the relevant jobs you’ve held, beginning with the most recent one. If you’ve been a physician for 10 years or more and have held multiple positions, list the five most recent jobs with the month and year you started and ended those jobs. If you can’t remember the exact time you left a job, make your best guess or look back at paystubs or emails you sent to figure out a general timeline. Be sure to include your residency if you’re a new physician.

Include numbers to back up your achievements.

Don’t just say that you managed the emergency room department of a large hospital. List the number of people on the team you led, the daily number of patients you cared for, and the readmission percentage rate, for example.

Use bullet points to make your CV easier to read.

Once you’ve listed your work history on your CV, make sure to list three points beneath each job explaining some of your duties and accomplishments. Separate each with a bullet point, try to keep your explanations to one line, and use active verbs to begin each phrase. For example, under your job as a department head, you might say “Hired and trained 10 doctors in the emergency department.”

List your education and certifications at the top of your CV.

Employers will be interested in the degrees and certifications you hold, so include these at the beginning of your CV, before your work history. List the degree you received, the university you attended and its city, and the year you graduated. Licenses and certifications should be separated by bullet points so they’re easy to read.

Be honest about your qualifications.

If you have very little experience in a certain department, such as pediatrics, don’t list it under the skills section of your CV or make it sound as though you worked in that field for years, even if a hospital is looking for someone with those qualifications. Exaggerating on a CV is a bad idea, because sooner or later someone will find out you’ve misrepresented yourself. You may also be asked questions about a certain specialty and not be able to answer them.

Keep it short and sweet.

Your CV should be no longer than four pages, so cut out any unnecessary information to make sure it’s not too long. List references on a separate page and provide them only if an interviewer asks; no need for the “References available on request” line, either. List the most important things an employer would be looking for at the beginning of your CV, such as your education and work history, and move less important sections like volunteer work to the second page. Avoid listing hobbies and other personal information. There usually isn’t room, and employers are much more interested in the skills you would bring to their facility.

Proofread and then proofread again.

You’re not applying for a job as a copy editor, but spelling and grammar mistakes on your CV stick out and could be a deciding factor when an employer is choosing between several candidates. Make sure your CV is error-free by reading through it aloud at least twice to make sure it flows well and you didn’t leave any words out. Use spell-check on your computer to check for typos as well. If you can, ask someone else to read through it and provide feedback.

Spending a little more time reorganizing, streamlining and editing your CV can make it shine and stand out to a future employer. And paired with a great interview it can help you get hired at the right facility, too.

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