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CV Preparation: Curriculum Vitae Mistakes to Avoid

Tips & Reminders
  • Do not forget to add page numbers! Include page numbers in this format: last name, page number, to ensure that your CV is not mistaken for someone else's.

Although CVs can be different from one to another, there are some common mistakes to avoid. Avoiding these mistakes will help you submit the best CV possible.

Using Curriculum Vitae or CV as a heading

  • It is universally understood that the document is a CV. Use your name and contact information as a header instead. List your full name at the top of the first page, and include your degree after your name, indicating MD, DO, FACP, PhD, etc. Directly under your name, include your contact information — list your full mailing address, phone number, and email address.

Inaccurate contact information

  • Keep contact information on your CV up to date. Do not use old phone numbers or email addresses. Also make sure to only list out contact information you are comfortable being contacted at.

Unprofessional e-mail addresses

  • Make sure that you are not using an email address that is unprofessional, such as This email address may be funny for personal use or to your colleagues but will not be impressive to potential employers. Many websites will allow you to create a free email address, so opt for one like first initial last name.

Overuse of capitalization

  • Make sure that you are capitalizing names and words that should be capitalized.

Printing your CV on poor quality paper or sending photocopies

  • Having your CV printed on low quality paper or photocopied will send the message that you don't care to make a good impression. A photocopied version of your CV may look close to an original print, but you run the risk of the CV not copying correctly, as well as black dots or lines appearing from the copier. Using low quality paper can also result in not being able to read your CV well. If the paper easily rips, tears, or is see-through, it may be difficult for a potential employer to read your CV.

Relying solely on your computer's spell check

  • Spell check is a great way to pick up some misspelled words, but a word may be spelled correctly and used in the wrong context (e.g., 'here' and 'hear' or 'to' and 'two'). Make sure to also re-read your CV or have another set of eyes on your CV to pick up spelling errors missed by the computer.

Using fancy fonts, formats, colors, and graphics

  • These can make your CV more difficult to read. Keep in mind that your CV will be one of many read by a potential employer or scanned into a computer system. If your CV is hard to read it can create a bad impression.

Including non-relevant personal information

  • Date or place of birth, gender, race, religion, marital status, family, sexual orientation, and political affiliation have no bearing on your clinical capabilities and should not be included. Your CV should only contain information pertinent to the opportunity.

Listing identifying information such as license numbers, DEA numbers, and social security numbers

  • With the increasing prevalence of identity theft, it is important to safeguard this information.

Forgetting to add page numbers

  • Pages of your CV may be separated by accident. Including page numbers on your CV in the last name, page number format will help ensure that your CV is read in the correct order and not mistaken for someone else's.
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