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Best Practices for Creating a Medical Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Creating a Medical Curriculum Vitae (CV)

As a new or practicing physician or advanced practitioner seeking locum tenens assignments (or any kind of medical assignments, for that matter), it's essential that your curriculum vitae (CV) communicates your skills, specialty, experience and work history to the best possible effect.

Just as with any profession, your medical CV should include all of your education, training and work history, and should be packaged in an organized and concise format to let the hiring agent clearly pinpoint your strengths and qualifications.

Unlike with other professions, however, physicians and advanced practitioners who choose to work temporary locum tenens assignments have a need to constantly update and refresh their CVs to ensure that they reflect their latest assignments (and the skills acquired therein).

"We recommend reviewing and updating your CV on a yearly basis, if not more often," advises our sister company, Linde Healthcare. "Add locums tenens assignments and locations as you complete them; this will keep your CV current and will help with future privileging processes. It’ll also speed up the process when it’s time to find your next medical job opportunity."

It's also a good idea to keep your medical CV concise, consistent and precise.

"Select only the most pertinent information," writes former medical secretary Annabeth Borg for the American College of Physicians (ACP). "Keep the level of information concise and, at the same time, as comprehensive as possible."

Borg has more advice on the topic of consistency: "Stay chronologically consistent when presenting information," she writes. "If you elect to present the most current information first, stay with that order through all sections. This makes your document easier to read and avoids confusion on the part of the reader."

In its rundown of tips and strategies for creating a medical curriculum vitae, the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) also recommends careful proofreading, using an active (instead of passive) voice, and including "a page number and name header on all pages."

Creating a Medical CV: Section by Section

There are a variety of different ways to organize your medical CV, but the standard format described below is the most commonly used. It's what most recruiters and hiring agents typically expect, so it's in your best interests to follow it as best you can.

Resources for Medical Residents and Fellows from Staff CareBegin by including your most basic personal information — your name, address, phone number, and email address. (It isn't necessary to include your social security number or date of birth.)

Next, provide details about your education. Here, you'll list where you completed medical school and any post-graduate training. For new physicians, this section will be the most prominent area of your medical curriculum vitae, so don't forget to include the name of your medical school, its location (city and state), the degree you acquired, and the year of completion. In addition, include your specialization, facility location, and completion year or expected date of completion of your residency or fellowship.

The next section of your medical CV should detail your work history, listing all of your past and present assignments in chronological order. Begin with your current or last position, and for each, be sure to also include the name and location of the facility, as well as its contact information. In addition, include a brief description of your responsibilities at that assignment, including specific procedures performed and (especially) any outstanding accomplishments. (Remember to explain any gaps in practice as you list your work history.)

After the work history section, it's time to include your references. In the goal of keeping your medical CV as short and concise as possible, it's acceptable to simply include a sentence stating that references are available upon request; this also works to protect the privacy of your references and limits the extent to which their contact information is shared. If you do choose to include references on your resume, it's standard to include three of them; it's also best to include their names, your work relationship with them, and their contact information (a phone number, and, optionally, an email address as well).

The final section of your medical CV should consist of any certifications you have, or awards you've received. Be sure to include any state licenses and board certifications you have in preparation for your next locum tenens assignment. This is also a good place to list applicable state licenses, board certification/eligibility, as well as volunteer positions or other accomplishments. In her article for the ACP, Borg lists more possible additions to this section: "publications, presentations, invited lectures, abstracts, research activities, community service, and leisure interests, to name a few."

It's crucial that your medical CV is formatted cleanly, making it easy to read and scan. You must also ensure that all the information you provide is as accurate as possible. This will make it easier both on you and the recruiter assisting in getting your next assignment; it'll also help you avoid the awkwardness (or worse) of having misinformation discovered by an employer after you've already accepted an assignment.

Of course, when you search for your next assignment with Staff Care, one of our friendly and knowledgeable recruiters will be happy to help you put together a medical curriculum vitae that best represents your work strengths and experiences. Feel free to reach out to one of our recruiters directly at (800) 685-2272, or contact us here.

If you're a medical resident or fellow interested in the benefits of working locum assignments, we encourage you to sign up for Staff Care's Careers for New Physicians program to receive special tips, resources, information and job alerts customized to your interests and preferences. Even if your date of graduation is years away, it's never too early to begin charting your future career path!