Prepare your CV to Convey the Right Message

How do you want to be perceived?

  • Well-Organized with clear goals?
  • Pleasant with good interpersonal skills?
  •  Chaotic with little attention to detail?
  • SLICK, SALESMANLIKE, and SELF-IMPORTANT? (We don’t know anyone like this, but you might....)

Your CV sends the most important message, the unwritten one!

Your CV makes the first impression of you. It is the gateway to the next step in learning more about a job you may want. It will make an impression before you ever have a conversation on the phone or in person. That first impression can determine whether you even have the opportunity to talk to the hiring authority.

So then, what do you want your CV to say?

A great CV does more than telling the practice what you have done. It will also present you in the best light. It demonstrates that you have both the professional and interpersonal skills to be successful in the position.

That foot-in-the-door, conversation-getting CV will look as clean and professional as you are. Pleasing to the eye, your CV will entice the reader to want to meet you and learn more about you.

Here are some guidelines to help you along the way:

  1. Choose a clear business type font such as Calibri, Ariel, Times New Roman, or Helvetica and use size 12 for the content. Your name can appear in larger font in the same style and bolded.
  2. Common formats such as .docx and .pdf work best so that nobody has trouble opening it.
  3. Include the date you will be available to start work. The reader will want to know how quickly they can get you on board.
  4. Include the best way to contact you. Leave off your work number if you don’t want to be contacted at work.
  5. List your work and educational history chronologically, with dates from present to last. This makes it easy to follow.
  6. A picture of yourself is optional but can be quite nice. If you are going to include a picture, make sure it’s a high-quality image. A disheveled or unhappy-looking photo can do more harm than good. (And trust us, we’ve seen a lot of bad photos on CVs).
  7. Gaps in time sequence and changing jobs frequently may need to be explained. If this applies to you, it may be a good idea to submit a cover letter with a brief explanation or to include a one or two-line summary within the resume itself, i.e. personal sabbatical or practice closed. 

CV Specifics

From the Top

List your name, home address, home phone number, cell phone number, and your email address. If appropriate include your work name and address and phone numbers. If you are not a US citizen, list your citizenship and visa status. It’s optional, but nice, to list your date and place of birth.


List your employer’s name or the name of your practice, hospital appointments, city/state, and dates. If you are employed by an academic medical center, list your organizational titles. If your responsibilities are not evident from your organizational titles, explain them briefly.


List current to last of the following: Fellowship, Residency, Medical Degree, Graduate Degree, and Undergraduate Degree, including the dates and names of the institution as well as fellowship/residency type.


If you are board certified or board eligible, you should indicate so. You may choose to insert dates and scores of written exams and/or USMLEs


List states with active licenses.

Areas of Interest

It’s great if you can summarize your main clinical interests and research interests (if applicable) in 2-3 sentences. If you have done a fellowship and do not want to develop a significant practice in your area of fellowship training, it’s important to explain this in your cover letter. With the increase in fellowships, we often see candidates doing fellowships and then deciding that they do not wish to practice in that area where they have additional specialty training. This can be confusing to hiring practices, which may wonder why you are applying for a position with them if they do not have a need in your area of fellowship training.

Honors and Awards

List your recognized achievements which pertain to your specialty. Personal interests and achievements can be included in your Hobbies and Interests section (see below). High school awards are no longer relevant at this stage in your career, so we suggest that you leave them out.

Military Status or History

If applicable.

Professional Memberships

List any organizations, local chapters, national professional development organizational involvement, etc.

Teaching Experience

Include what institutions, dates, specify courses taught.

Research and Presentations

This is especially important if you are applying for an academic position and want protected research time.


List of all publications with citations formatted correctly.

Hobbies and Interests

This section is optional but can be a nice way to let a practice know you are more than your academic accomplishments. It is particularly helpful if you are applying to an area that is known for your hobbies or interests.

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