Writing A CV: A Guide For Doctors

Writing a CV is the last thing on a doctor’s mind. For most doctors, their focus is on patient care, and they spend years training in clinical areas. However, when it comes to writing a CV, many doctors are unsure where to start. In fact, CV writing is often not emphasized in medical school, leaving many doctors unsure how to create a compelling document that effectively showcases their skills and experience.

Your CV is your personal brand

But the truth is, the CV is one of the most critical components of a job application. It’s the first impression potential employers have of you, and if it’s poorly written or doesn’t highlight your strengths, it could be the end of your job search before it even begins. This is especially true for doctors who are transitioning from clinical to non-clinical roles, where their clinical experience may not be as relevant.

The first thing to understand is that your CV is your personal brand. It is your opportunity to showcase your skills, experience, and accomplishments. It is the document that potential employers will use to determine if you are the right fit for their organization. A well-written CV can set you apart from other candidates and land you the job you want.

So, how can doctors write a CV that stands out? Here are some tips to get started:

1. Choose the right format

The standard format for a CV is a chronological one, starting with your most recent work experience and education, then working backward. However, there are other formats you can use, such as a functional or combination format, which may be more suitable for doctors transitioning into non-clinical roles. Be sure to choose the format that best highlights your strengths and experience.

2. Start with a strong objective statement

The objective statement is the first thing employers will read on your CV, so it’s essential to make it count. Your objective statement should be clear, concise, and specific to the job you’re applying for. It should highlight your skills, experience, and what you can bring to the role. This will set the tone for the rest of your CV and make a strong first impression.

3. Focus on your relevant experience

If you’re transitioning from clinical to non-clinical medicine, it’s essential to focus on your relevant experience. For example, if you’re applying for a medical affairs role in pharma, focus on your skills and experience related to drug development, clinical trials, and regulatory affairs. You can still include your clinical experience, but be sure to emphasize the transferable skills you’ve gained from it.

4. Highlight transferrable skills

When transitioning from clinical to non-clinical roles, it’s essential to highlight your transferable skills. These are skills that can be applied across different industries and job roles.

As a doctor, you have developed a wealth of clinical skills and experience through your medical training and practice. However, it’s important to understand that not all of these skills are transferable to non-clinical roles. For example, urinary catheterization may be a valuable clinical skill in a hospital setting, but it is not relevant or transferable to a non-clinical role in medical affairs.

When applying for a non-clinical role, example a medical affairs job in the pharmaceutical industry, it’s important to focus on transferable skills that can be applied in a non-clinical setting. These skills include things like strategic thinking, communication, and project management. By emphasizing these transferable skills in your CV, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you are the right fit for the job.

5. Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for

No two jobs are the same, so it’s essential to tailor your CV to the job you’re applying for. This means highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to that particular role. For example, if you’re applying for a medical affairs role in pharma, emphasize your experience in drug development, clinical trials, and regulatory affairs. By tailoring your CV, you can show potential employers that you’re the right candidate for the job.

6. Understanding the role that you are applying for

Understanding the role that you are applying for is another crucial point to consider when writing your CV. Before you start crafting your CV, take some time to research the job description and the requirements of the role. This will help you to tailor your CV to the specific needs of the role and demonstrate that you are the right candidate for the job.

For example, if you are applying for a clinical role, such as a physician or surgeon, your CV should emphasize your clinical experience, qualifications, and skills. On the other hand, if you are applying for a non-clinical role, such as a medical writer or medical affairs specialist, your CV should focus on your transferable skills and experience in areas such as project management, communication, and strategic thinking.

By understanding the role that you are applying for and tailoring your CV accordingly, you can demonstrate to potential employers that you have the right skills and experience to succeed in the role. This can help to set you apart from other candidates and increase your chances of getting the job.

7. Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments

Using action verbs is an effective way to make your CV stand out. Action verbs are strong, active words that demonstrate what you’ve achieved in your career. For example, instead of saying “I was responsible for managing a team of nurses,” say “I led a team of nurses to improve patient outcomes.” Using action verbs like led, improved, or achieved can make your accomplishments stand out and demonstrate your impact in your previous roles.

8. No fluffy words

Another important point to consider when writing your CV is to avoid using vague and overused terms like “hardworking,” “reliable,” or “detail-oriented.” These words may sound good in theory, but they don’t actually demonstrate any specific skills or experience that make you stand out as a candidate.

Instead, focus on providing specific examples and achievements that demonstrate your skills and experience. For example, rather than saying you are a “hardworking doctor,” highlight specific examples of how you went above and beyond for your patients, such as staying late to provide extra care or taking on additional responsibilities to improve patient outcomes.

By avoiding fluffy and overused words and providing specific examples of your skills and achievements, you can create a CV that is not only more engaging and informative but also more likely to impress potential employers and get you the job you want.

Join us on our upcoming Healthcare Diverse Careers Conference & Exhibition where we have a plethora of clinical topics for GP doctors – How To Market Your Clinic, Genetics & Precision Medicine In GP clinics, Functional Medicine & many more!

To find out more about non-clinical jobs for doctors in Malaysia check out our job vacancy and find inspiration from medical doctors who’ve made a career change in our case studies.

If you’re thinking of a career transition, do download Dr Selina’s Switching Careers for Doctors eBook here to get you started on your journey.

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