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CV Preparation: Professional and Effective Curriculum Vitae

Items to Include
  • Full name
  • Good contact information
  • Full name
  • Education
  • Anything prior to undergraduate
  • Licensure and certifications
  • Professional organizations
Items to Exclude
  • Spouse or children's information
  • Long paragraphs
  • Information not relevant to the opportunity
  • Anything prior to undergraduate
  • Professional references
  • Birthdate, nationality, gender, social security number

Welcome to the PracticeMatch Curriculum Vitae resource page. Here, you will find guidance on how to write a professional and effective CV that will highlight everything you have accomplished. You can also use our CV builder to create your CV using one of our premade templates and submit your CV for a free expert CV Rating.

CV vs. Cover Letter

Before you begin writing your Curriculum Vitae (CV), it is important to understand the difference between a CV and a cover letter. Your CV is a document that allows you to list your education, training, professional experiences, qualifications and more. A cover letter should accompany your CV when you apply for a position. Your cover letter is used to elaborate on your CV in further detail. It gives you the opportunity to highlight your strengths, describe your professional goals and give the employer a deeper look at you as a person.

There is very specific guidance on what should be included in a CV and what is more appropriate for a cover letter. In this section, we will cover what should be included in your CV. More guidance on cover letters can be found here.

Organization and Formatting

Be sure to keep your CV organized and easy to read. Before you start adding information to your CV, you should have a general idea of how you want to format it. Planning ahead allows you to be consistent throughout the document, so any edits that need to be made later will be easy to find. Once you are finished writing your CV, you can go back and make any necessary edits, whether that's alignment, font size, or something else.

When it comes to choosing your font and style, keep it simplh4e ah4nd professional. Choose a font that is easy to read such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman. Stick to dark colors like black or navy to ensure that the font shows up. Font size should range between 10- and 12-point font, and you should avoid overuse of italics and underlines. Unique fonts, colors, and italics can be fun and show your creativity, but they can make the document difficult to read. You should only use a different font size for any headers that may be in your CV.


The next thing to think about is consistency — make sure to use the same font throughout the entire document. If you choose to use bullet points to list out duties, make sure that you do that for each job. Switching back and forth between bullet points and sentence format can make your CV look unorganized. Make sure you are consistent with section headers and sub headers. If you have decided to bold headers, capitalize all the letters, underline them, or use any other variation, be consistent throughout your entire CV. When you list dates, decide if you will list the month in number format or spell it out — there is no right or wrong as long as you are consistent. The final thing to think about from a consistency standpoint is verb tense — make sure you are using the same verb tense throughout.

Creating Your CV

The order of your headers is important. The first thing your recruiter will look for is your qualifications, including postgraduate training, education, licenses, and certifications. The recommended order of headings and content that should be included within each section can be found on CV Basic Outline.

Avoid using the words "Curriculum Vitae" in your CV, and instead, create a header using your contact information. List your first and last name, followed by your degree. Next, list your contact information — this includes your full mailing address, phone number, and email address. Ensure that the email address and phone number that you have listed are ones that you utilize and check often. For a more professional email address that you can give to recruiters, interviewers, and potential future employers, you can create a new email address for free through Google. You should opt for something like for something that identifies who you are. This will also help when recruiters are searching their inbox for an email from you. If you have started to apply for opportunities and you are not already in the habit of checking the email listed on your CV, set a weekly calendar reminder to check and respond to emails. This will help you avoid missing an important email about an opportunity. Listing your full mailing address is helpful as well because once it is time for you to receive an offer, your CV is what administration will use to prepare your letter of intent and contract. Once you have signed your contract, Med Staff will use your CV to start the credentialing process. Having all of your contact information available on your CV will eliminate a lot of unnecessary back and forth and prevent wasted time.

It is important to also note the things that should not be included on your CV. There are some organizations that cannot accept CVs if they include a headshot, birthdate, gender, or any other distinguishing factors that could be considered discrimination. You also do not need to include your spouse's or children's personal information. Any issues such as your spouse's employment or school accommodations for your children should be brought up during your interview rather than being included on your CV.

The first person that sees your CV is the recruiter, whose job is to ensure that you are qualified for the role for which you have applied. Your recruiter will compare the training, experience, licenses, and certifications on your CV to the job posting and the delineation of privileges (DOP) prior to scheduling a phone screening. The DOP is an institutional function aimed at matching the clinical privileges accorded to each member of the medical staff with his/her documented clinical training and demonstrated ability to perform, thereby ensuring patient safety and promoting the quality of patient care. The DOP spells out the minimum training and experience a physician needs to be qualified for the position, and then lists out the procedures the physician will be performing in the role.

The recruiter will also look through any honors, awards, memberships, and projects that appear on your CV to identify the things that you are passionate about. They know the details of the specific opportunity, so they are looking to see if you are a good fit. The other physicians in the practice will also be particularly interested in this information. You should tailor your CV to each opportunity that you apply for and highlight the skills and experience that match the specific opportunity.

Based on the way the hiring organization processes your CV, the order should be as follows:

  • Header
  • Postgraduate Training
  • Education
  • Professional Experience
  • Licensure
  • Certifications
  • Honors and Awards
  • Professional Memberships
  • Research, Presentations, Abstracts, and Publications

Some physicians also opt to list languages that they speak and hobbies outside of work at the end of their CV. Doing so helps recruiters, other physicians, and hospital administrators get an idea of what you may have in common and gives them a feel for whether or not you would find happiness in the community. For example, if you list biking, they may want to be sure to tell you about the bike trails in the area, or the physician group that likes to go biking on the weekend.

You do not need to include your personal or professional references on your CV. If you are a viable candidate for the organization, they will ask you for a list of your references when they are ready to move you forward in the process. This gives you a better timeline of if/when they will reach out to your references and gives you a chance to speak with your references to let them know when to expect a call. You should also use this opportunity to let them know which opportunity this will be about and if there are key items they should focus on during the call. In addition, you do not need to include "references available upon request" on your CV.

Final Steps

There are a few more steps now that you have added all of your information. Add a footer to your CV with your last name and the page number. While this is not required, it is helpful if the recruiter prints it and mixes up the pages. Now, take another look at the length — a CV is typically anywhere between 1 and 5 pages depending on your experience. If you are a resident or fellow, your CV is going to be shorter than that of a physician who has been practicing for 20 years. If your CV is more than 5 pages, you may want to look back through it and shorten job descriptions or program information that isn't relevant. If you have 2 pages of research and publications, only highlight the ones that are relevant to the opportunity.

Next, be sure to review your CV for spelling errors. Pay special attention to the formatting and consistency. Be sure to utilize the spell check — typos happen, but they can be a signal to recruiters that you lack attention to detail. You can also reach out to PracticeMatch to get a free expert CV Review. This is a free service provided to physicians, and it never hurts to have an extra set of eyes to review your CV for any errors or missing information.

Finally, save your CV as a PDF. You always want to send your CV as a PDF so the formatting isn't lost in transmission. It is good practice to name your CV lastname.firstname.specialty.CV.pdf.

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