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Your Pet Fish and Other Things NOT to Include in Your CV

05/20/2016

You want your CV to stand out, but not for the wrong reasons.

Physician recruiter Ali Rogerson, of New England Physician Recruitment Center in Braintree, MA, remembers one such example. "The candidate listed the names of his pet fish right at the top of his CV. So, clearly, he was very passionate about his fish," she said. "But the hiring manager is not going to want to speak with you based on your pet fish or other things like that."

So what does a hiring manager want to see at the beginning of your CV? Put your most pertinent information first, Ms. Rogerson says. This includes:

  • Where you went to school, and when you graduated
  • Where you work now, and how long you've worked there
  • Your previous positions and relevant job experience
  • Your medical specialty and your particular skills

For example: "Let's say I'm looking to hire a gastroenterologist with advanced endoscopy skills," she says. "If I can't tell from the first or second page of a CV whether the candidate does advanced endoscopy, I'm going to put it aside and pick up someone else's CV that does tell me that."

What information doesn't belong at the start of your CV? "Faculty appointments for which you didn't receive compensation," Ms. Rogerson says. "Also, I've even seen people list their part-time jobs in college."

Then again, if your non-physician experience relates to your career- working at a women's shelter if you're an Ob/GYN or volunteering with children if you're looking for family medicine jobs- then it's fine to include.

Because physicians want to be perceived as dutiful workers, many of them don't like to ask for special treatment or exceptions- and this perception can extend into the contract agreement. But before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you fully understand the terms of your contract so you know the extent of your responsibilities, as well as the facility's responsibilities to you. If you want something changed, it never hurts to ask.

Also, there's no need to cite all your papers, research, lectures, and posters at the beginning of your CV. "If you feel it's relevant, you can bring it up in the interview," she says. Otherwise, leave it for last.

Leave out your personal information, too. "Don't include your social security number, NPI number, DEA number, or anything that could lead to identity theft," Ms. Rogerson adds. "You never know where your CV will wind up, and the hiring manager doesn't need that information at this stage anyway."

She concludes, "There are a lot of things in the hiring process that are beyond the candidate's control. The CV is not one of those things- that is something that you can control. It's your opportunity to market yourself in the best possible way, and put the focus on the skills and experience that you want to be known for and hired for."

As for your fish, you can put them in your waiting room.

What Not to Include in a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

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"I'm a Busy Resident. I Don't Have Time to Find a Job!"

You've worked super hard for years. Now it's time for all that hard work to pay off. But you're still so busy, you don't have the time to do a thorough search for the perfect position. (You hardly have time to read this article!) What can you do to fast-track your job search, or at least avoid wasting time chasing leads that go nowhere?

There are several time-saving things you can do, says physician recruiter Ali Rogerson, of New England Physician Recruitment Center in Braintree, MA, who often helps residents navigate their way to their first physician position.

Ask yourself what you're looking for. Many residents are so busy, they haven't even had a moment to catch their breath and consider what kind of position, setting, or location they really want. Consequently, they wander down blind alleys in their job search or, worse, they jump into a position that they later regret.

"Stop a minute and ask yourself a few questions," Ms. Rogerson says. "'Do I want to work in a teaching hospital? At a multispecialty group? In private practice? Do I want to work in a big city, or in a suburban or rural area?'" If you get honest answers out of yourself now, you'll narrow your search- and this can save you a lot of time later, when you find yourself in a sea of choices.

Also, be realistic about your expectations. "Keep in mind that you're only starting out. You're basically looking for an entry level position," Ms. Rogerson says. "So keep realistic expectations, not only about salary but also in terms of responsibility. If you're a new grad who's looking for a leadership role, you may not be able to find that right away. But be open to positions that may have that potential down the road."

Be careful posting your CV online. If you want to draw attention to your CV, try posting it online for anyone to see, such as a doctor's job board or network. "I often encounter candidates- especially new grads- who are just inundated with calls and emails from in-house recruiters and independent recruiters from all over the country," Ms. Rogerson says.

"These candidates will get so many voicemails and emails every day, they can't even look at them all," she adds. "There could be some great opportunities in there, but the overwhelming amount of traffic makes finding them nearly impossible."

To make matters worse, unscrupulous recruiters could copy your CV from the website without your knowledge and use it to apply to positions in your name. "That can create a lot of frustration for residents, especially at a time when they don't need that aggravation," Ms. Rogerson says.

Choose a recruiter carefully. Many residents seek their first position through their residency, or they make connections through professors, mentors, or alumni. But if you're looking for a position that's outside of your network, or you just want to streamline your job search, you can get help from a reputable physician recruiter.

But is there such a thing as a reputable recruiter? Aren't they all just looking to place you in any job so they can make a commission? "You certainly can find a reputable recruiter," Ms. Rogerson says, "but you need to be selective."

She recommends that you:

  • Go to the firm's website. "You'll get a sense of their reputation just by looking at their content and web presence," she says. "See what information they have. The more open and informative they are about their recruiting process, the better."
  • Talk about your needs and interests. "Is the recruiter even interested in talking with you? That's incredibly important," she says, speaking from experience. "The recruiter should get to know you and the type of position you're looking for, so they can make a good match for both you and their client."

So, take a few minutes now to think about your choices, and you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration later.



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