Appearance: First impressions matter even when it comes to physician resumes. Therefore, the resume should be perfect in appearance. The design, font, and text weight should flow and be easy on the eyes. Carefully consider the alignment, symmetry, and the use of bullets, bold characters etc. Do not attempt to put so much into your resume that you have to make the font size so small it becomes difficult to read. The physician resume should look welcoming, and not visually offensive. Try to contain the physician’s resume to one-page as most recruiters, employers, chairmen, department heads, or senior partners don’t have the time to look much beyond the first page. All of these factors directly affect the appearance and readability of your resume, as first impressions matter, and may separate you from another equally qualified candidate competing for similar physician employment opportunities.
Structure: Several key components are necessary in the competitive physician resume. Be sure to include 1) experience detailing your work history; 2) appointed or elected positions if applicable; 3) skills / interests to showcase your special talents or aspirations that make you unique; 4) education undergraduate to fellowship; license & certification board certification, fellow status, etc.; and lastly 5) awards & distinction as needed. These 5 categories are essential to the successful resume. Mention of research, society memberships, volunteer work, lectures, CME, professional references, are not necessary on the resume (unless needed to tailor the resume for the particular job opportunity), but can be used to add structure if needed to the aforementioned key components.
Content: Once the structure is defined, the corresponding content needs to be carefully and chronologically placed into your resume. It’s important to recognize that every single detail of your professional career does not have to be placed into the resume. In fact, the content should be tailored to meet the individualized opportunity. For example, if you are applying for a concierge medicine job versus a prison health, cruise ship medicine, team physician, or assistant surgical professor position, the resume should be appropriately tailored. You want to convince the employer that your are the most logical and smooth transition candidate to fill that job. The reader should not be left with the unanswered question of “why does he / she want this job?”
Grammar: Use action verbs and command language in your physician job resume. Words such as accomplished’, attained’, achieved’, performed’, are good competitive words. Avoid passive descriptors such as responsible’ and practiced’. And under no circumstance should there be any typographical errors, misspellings, in a professional resume whatsoever. One embarrassing typo can cause question and doubt into the entire resume and candidate no matter how accomplished or impressive. It raises concern about preparedness, attention to detail, and commitment of the physician job seeker. Consider the candidate that applies for microvascular hand surgery opportunity . . . whose resume has a spelling typo not good. Given today’s grammar and spellchecking software in everything from emails to word documents, don’t loose your competitive edge by being lackadaisical with grammar or spelling.