The Difference Between a Physician CV and a Physician Executive Resume

Article by: Jackson Physician Search
May 8, 2024 by
MedGeo Ventures, Lindsay Thomas
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“What is the difference between a physician CV and a resume?” In my eight years of recruiting physician executives, I often hear this question after advising a candidate that he or she needs a resume. After explaining the subtle but important differences, I often find physicians realize they need help navigating the process. Physicians have a better understanding of creating a CV from prior training in school but less experience with resume building. CVs are detailed lists of training and employment – resumes illustrate the value a physician adds to his or her employer.

It’s not easy to convert a physician CV to a resume, as it takes some time and considerable thought. The goal of this article is to help you better understand the differences between a physician CV and a physician resume and provide advice on how to craft a resume that will help you advance your physician executive career.

Physician CV vs. Physician Resume

Depending on where you live, the terms “CV” and “resume” may be used interchangeably. However, in the United States, a CV refers to a comprehensive record of one’s education, training, employment, publications, research, and awards. Typically used in academia or clinical medicine jobs, a CV is the norm for physicians applying to clinical jobs in any setting.

However, when applying to physician executive jobs or other non-clinical physician jobs, employers don’t want to see a comprehensive list of every position held and procedure done. At this level, it’s assumed you have the clinical training and experience needed for the job. What they do want to see is a resume that demonstrates your leadership skills and highlights what you have done to improve patient access, the quality of care, and/or the bottom line of your employers. This, quite simply, is the difference between a CV and a resume. Your CV is a history of what you’ve done to improve yourself as a physician, while your resume tells the story of the impact you’ve had on others in a professional capacity.

Physician CV: What You’ve Done

You likely started building your physician CV in medical school, so you’re familiar with what it should include – education details, awards, publications, committees, research projects, volunteerism, etc. The CV tells potential employers everything you have done thus far to get you to where you currently are in your career. For early-career physicians, the CV is largely focused on education, training, and volunteering. For mid-career physicians, the CV will be a bit longer, listing each employer and position, along with the setting, patient population, clinical focus and responsibilities, as well as any committees or teams you led or were involved with at the organization. You may want to include speaking or presenting opportunities, grants received, and professional memberships. Do not worry about the length of the document, but rather, take the space you need to provide a comprehensive record.

Despite the longer length of a physician CV, a dedicated recruiter is able to scan it and quickly determine if a candidate has the training and skills to succeed at the job in question. If the answer is yes, the recruiter will pick up the phone to learn more about the candidate – his or her personality, values, and, of course, job search preferences. The recruiter is skilled at the screening process and will quickly know if the candidate is someone the client should meet. The CV tells the recruiter if the candidate has the knowledge and experience needed to do the job, while the phone screen begins to reveal if there is likely to be a good cultural fit.

Physician Executive Resume: What Impact You’ve Had

Physician executive jobs are more complex. Yes, the recruiter needs to know if the candidate has the right education and clinical practice experience, but he or she also needs to know how effective the candidate is in leadership roles. This level of nuance is better captured in a physician executive resume.

Like a physician CV, the physician resume also lists places of employment and job titles. However, along with practice settings and areas of focus, each role should include bullet points that show leadership responsibilities and, ideally, metrics that demonstrate success as a leader. These metrics might be documented by increases in the number of patients seen per day, month, or year. Or perhaps the hospital reduced the average length of stay or percent of readmissions as a result of a program you chaired. Maybe you were involved in the implementation of a new EMR that decreased the time spent by providers on charting. These metrics show a recruiter that your actions have made a positive impact, which is the goal of a physician executive resume.

Pursuing the Physician Executive Path

If you are interested in following the path to becoming a physician executive, you absolutely need a physician executive resume that highlights your leadership responsibilities and demonstrates your success as a leader. Converting your physician CV into a resume will take some time and thought, but a dedicated physician executive recruiter will be happy to coach you through it.

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