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  • Viewpoint: 7 Tips for CV Building for Young Ophthalmologists

    Viewpoint is a column created by AAOE® specifically for ophthalmologists and leaders in practice management.

    How much time does an employer typically spend reviewing your curriculum vitae? Just six seconds on average. 

    Here are some tips to make your CV stand out from other applicants and keep them reading:

    1. Make it perfect. Your curriculum vitae is your first impression. 
    It must be flawless and without spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors. Use spell check and either hire a professional editor or enlist an editorially skilled friend to scrutinize your CV. A poorly written CV rarely survives the first cut.

    2. Choose the appropriate format.
    Physicians can use either a resume or CV. A resume is typically one- to two-pages and succinctly outlines your professional experience, educational background and skills. Most physicians utilize a CV, which includes more information than your typical resume, including details of your education and academic achievements, research, publications, awards, affiliations, and more. For detailed information, check out the American Medical Association’s guide to Creating a Standout CV.

    3. Make it easy to read.
    The goal of your CV is to get a job interview. Make it easy for your potential employer to quickly skim your well-organized CV. Use concise and bold headers to organize your work history and experience. The recommended font size is 11 points — avoid the urge to cram more text in with a smaller font.

    4. Chronological order is the preferred format.
    The most relevant and important information should appear first. Within each section, dates should be listed in reverse chronological order (present to past). List work experiences first if you are currently working. If you are still in residency or fellowship, list your education first. Elaborate on the work experience at each location with several bullet points.

    5. Red flag — too many moves, too soon.
    Most practices will pass on a candidate who has changed jobs every two to three years. If you have moved frequently, consider writing a cover letter to explain the reason for your moves, such as a desire to get new skills, and a desire to find the right practice where you can make a difference.

    6. Dr. Ideal CV versus Dr. Impressive Skills.
    Depending on how you want to position yourself, opt either to lead off your CV with your education or your most impressive skills at the top of your CV.

    7. Show how you measure up. 
    Look at the position carefully and address the specific soft skills they are referencing. If they are looking for leadership skills, reference concise examples where you’ve demonstrated them. Avoid sending out a generic CV without carefully tailoring it to what a particular employer is looking for. Employers typically look for these nine key attributes:

    • Leadership
    • Ability to work in a team
    • Communications skills
    • Problem-solving skills
    • Strong work ethic
    • Initiative
    • Analytical/quantitative skills
    • Flexibility/adaptability
    • Interpersonal skills
    • Detail oriented

    Finally, be honest about your experience and don’t exaggerate or inflate your experience since the consequences of doing so can be damaging long-term. Following these tips will you make your CV credible, polished and professional.

    For more information on landing your first job, check out The Real World (four-part video series) for young ophthalmologist job seekers in AAOE’s Practice Management Video Library

    Jill Maher is the creator of "Jewels by Jill" on Instagram (@mahermedicalconsulting) where she provides invaluable career advice. 

    About the Author:

    Jill Maher, MA, COE, is the principal consultant and owner of Maher Medical Practice Consulting located in Chicago. She consults with ophthalmic and other medical practices and teaching institutions. Maher has more than 25 years of experience in the health care industry working with Fortune 100 companies. She has extensive experience in sales management and national accounts, including more than 22 years with Wyeth, Johnson & Johnson and Allergan. Her background includes expertise in strategic planning, financial analysis, marketing and creating high-performance teams.