Is my resume ok? Is it what is expected?
We hear from many doctors who work with us as locums, or those who are wishing to work in the Australian medical system that they are not confident about their CV. They fear it is too long, too short, in the wrong format, the wrong font, doesn’t include the right information, or is not what is expected in Australia.
For the most part, their fear is well founded.
Having recruited to a number of different professions, I can say with absolute confidence that medical CVs are among the very worst I have ever seen. Somehow, amazingly, many doctor’s CVs seem to really hit every mark of ‘what not to do’. Rest assured, though, that it is certainly a problem you can fix.
Why is it so?
The short answer is ‘market forces’. Did you need to supply a CV to get an intern job? No. When you applied for your next job as an RMO/HMO, did it really matter what your CV looked like? Probably not – there were plenty of jobs.
There is a huge surplus of medical jobs in Australia, so by necessity, you haven’t had to learn the skill of writing a CV. Just a few years ago, you could most likely get a locum job with half a CV written on the back of a banana leaf.
What has changed?
Slowly, the medical employment market is becoming more competitive, and regulated. Many colleges are not increasing the amount of training places available and most employers are heavily formalising selection and employment of locums, even for short term jobs. There is now a need to really master the skill of getting your CV right.
What not to do, in a nutshell
First, forget everything you learnt at school about writing CVs. It was a waste of time. Second, never include any of these items in your CV. You may laugh at some of these, but most of them we see every single day on resumes, some are rarer – but are real examples of what I have personally seen.
- Marital status
- Health status
- Hobbies or interests
- Details of children
- Any paragraph longer than 40 words
- Sporting achievements
- Anything negative
- Anything untrue
- Your race or colour
- Date of birth
- Referees names and contact details (Why? Because you want to control access to your referees)
- Political affiliations
- Height or weight
- Weird or offensive email addresses (such as firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Irrelevant jobs
- Irrelevant education
- Salary/income expectations
- Anything spelt incorrectly
- Irrelevant rants about your life, travel, desires, etc
- Lists of every single procedure you have ever done, or considered doing in your life
- Detailed background of your Medicare fraud activities
There are some exceptions to these rules – for example, when an employer or college specifically asks for certain information to be included.
Open up your CV right now, identify anything that should not be in there, and delete it. For some of you, you may have only a blank page left! You now have an excellent starting point to a killer CV.