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July 31, 2023

The green flags of physician CVs

A physician’s CV allows you to look back at their credentials, education and experience. In doing so, it gives you a glimpse of what they can bring to your practice in the future. We often talk about the red flags these CVs might show, but there are many green flags that a CV can reveal as well.
Green flag: Establishes the basics
A physician’s CV should always include their name, phone number and email address right in the header. This shows respect for your time by ensuring you will not have to dig for contact information.
"The header [should] have their contact information…a reliable phone number, email - just the very basics," says Linda Montano, CPRP.
Obstetrician-gynecologist Rachel Miller, M.D., says that a surprising number of physicians end up forgetting some of these basics. "A lot of people actually forget to put their initials - either M.D. or D.O. - at the end of their name," says Miller, who practices at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina, and previously functioned as obstetrics and gynecology practice recruiter for CaroMont Health in Gastonia, North Carolina. "That’s important, but I sometimes did not see that."
Green flag: Focuses on the right skills
The skills, research or patient experiences that a physician highlights should align with the type of role they’re seeking.
Physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Marilyn Wilburn, M.D., says that the descriptions on a physiatrist’s CV could look different depending on whether they want to pursue an outpatient, inpatient or academic environment. Those gunning for academics will focus on publications. Those seeking outpatient roles will highlight procedural skills, and so on.
"I [said that] I’ve worked in a 55-bed rehab facility that specializes in spinal cord medicine, brain injury medicine. …I didn’t really talk about my procedural skills at all in [my CV]," says Wilburn, who practices in an inpatient rehab center at Ascension St. John Jane Phillips Hospital in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. "My best friend from residency only wanted to do outpatient medicine…so her first blurb at the top [was] really specific for the type of procedures that she wanted to be doing."
Look for CVs that reveal the skills or experiences necessary for the role you’re filling. As physicians choose which details to include in their CVs, they also reveal which jobs they’re best suited for.
Green flag: Shows the right trajectory
Similarly, physicians must have taken on experiences that are in line with the roles they’re seeking.
"If you’re going to go somewhere academic, you have to have the research. If you’re going to go somewhere where it’s leadership-oriented, you have to have a leadership role," says internal medicine physician Joshua Hernandez, D.O., Associate Medical Director for Envision Physician Services at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital and Chief of Medicine at Mission Trail Baptist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
When physicians have these types of academic or leadership experiences listed on their CVs, it reveals that they’re confident about pursuing these types of practice
environments after residency or fellowship. Alternatively, physicians who are not seeking academic or leadership roles may choose not to focus on this type of information (especially their research history, which they may trim or omit entirely).
Green flag: Organizes information clearly
Unlike the résumés crafted for other industries, there’s no need to get creative with CV formatting. Instead, physicians should stick with a simple, clean-cut design that’s easy to read and skim. The writing should be clear, and there should be no unexplained gaps in their career history.
"One mistake I’ve seen a handful of times is the overconfidence that people may have when applying for a job," says Miller. "I have seen some CVs that are not organized.
They look like they were thrown together and there wasn’t much care put into it. [It’s a] mistake not getting someone else to look at it before you turn it in. [Get] a fresh pair of eyes on the CV - make sure there are no spelling mistakes, no errors."
Though not a comprehensive picture of a physician’s work style, a clean, error-free CV does reveal an attention to detail and a commitment to excellence. This is critical for patient care - and shows which physicians would foster an organized practice environment.

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