Put together your curriculum vitae the right way

A step-by-step guide to creating your CV

Paula S. Katz | April 25, 2015

Whether you’re putting together your first curriculum vitae or refreshing an old CV, consulting experts say there is right way to do it. Here are their tips:

  • Put your name and contact information at the top. Include a cell phone number, home address, and personal (not business) e-mail address. Add a business phone number if you can and want to accept calls at your office.
  • Next list your education training.
  • Next list your work experience, starting with your most recent position then working backwards chronologically. Use start and stop dates.
  • Lay out the entries in a consistent manner. Don’t use a lot of different fonts or stretch it out by doing anything more than double spacing as needed.
  • Keep it simple. You may like pink paper with borders, but it won’t leave a good impression, says Regina Levison, vice president, client development, Jordan Search Consultants, St. Louis.
  • Don’t worry about length. Unlike CVs in other professions, physicians’ CVs don’t have to be limited to one page. That wouldn’t represent you well if you have a 20-year career. And if you’re a new physician, the more information you can provide the better.
  • If you’re in academia, employers want to see what you’ve done in research, teaching and publications. That means length is out the window—Ms. Levison says she’s seen CVs as long as 112 pages to accommodate all of an academic candidate’s credentials. Be sure to include speaking at conventions and other arenas, and TV and radio interviews as well as published articles.
  • If you’re a resident or fellow, include three to five references. If you’re an experienced physician, omit listing references. You can provide them later in the job-hunting process. Not everyone thinks you need to put “references available upon request” as that goes without saying, but it doesn’t hurt to do so.

While there are resume preparation services, Ms. Levison recommends taking a do-it-yourself approach. (If you really need help, access templates online). “If you can’t use Microsoft Word and a computer, how are you going to work with an EMR? We prefer to see some of those skills in presenting themselves from the start,” she says.

For additional tips, check out this short video on a physician’s curriculum vitae, recorded in May 2016 at ACP.

For even more information! on creating your resume, see: “Choosing the right references,”  “How to address a work gap on your CV,” and “Three hot spots on your CV.”

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