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 How to Write a Curriculum Vitae

Assembling a Curriculum Vitae is an exercise in precision within imprecise boundaries.

It requires great precision. A physician must compose, in a few short pages, a career summary that skips nothing of substance and places events in a properly identified chronology.

Unfortunately, there's no guarantee the document you create will fit the expectations of a potential employer. What elements should be included or left out? Is it necessary to list references? What about publications or grants? No set formula, no absolute guide, no strict set of rules, exists to regulate the structure and content of the document. On the other hand, adhering to common guidelines will draw positive attention to your CV.

The following is a summary of elements most recruiters, department directors and physicians expect a CV to contain.

It should go without saying, but for some reason the basics always bear repeating. Type your CV or create it on a computer. Begin with your full name, current and/or permanent address and all contact numbers, such as phone, cell phone, pager and fax. Also include an email address.

Group your professional and educational highlights into broad but rational categories. For residents, the most prominent category should be medical education. List the name of your medical school, its location (city and state or country), your degree and year of completion. Include as much detail as possible regarding your program and double-check all dates for accuracy—the recruiter will, and CV errors may eliminate you from consideration. The category should also include any internships, with area of specialization, facility, location and year of completion—and the same information for residencies and fellowships. If you are still in a program, list the date you began and the anticipated date of completion. Avoid language common to general résumés, such as "to present." Provide information regarding undergraduate degrees at the end of this category and avoid elaboration—other than dates, major area of study and grade point average—unless you received a degree in a field related to medicine.

Several categories require an uncomplicated accounting of, well, paperwork. For example, certification is a simple listing of all Boards and national examinations taken, with dates. Licensure includes the states in which you currently hold a license to practice medicine.

View CV Sample One
View CV Sample Two

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