If your Curriculum Vitae isn’t all it could be, you may as well be stacking trophies in a cave. I say this as a longtime radiologist recruiter who firmly believes a CV is something of an unavoidable add-on. Much more important is who you are as a physician and a person.
Over the past 25-plus years I have seen thousands of CVs and it has convinced me that regularly updating your CV is the single most important thing you can do to maintain a career contingency plan. And you’ve got to have one of those, Covid-19 or no Covid-19.
To identify some simple CV-buffing measures on which radiologists should check at least twice a year, I consulted with Raymond Montecalvo, MD, Senior Medical Director here at vRad. Here are eight pointers that he and I strongly agree are critical. (We came up with more than eight, but you only have so much time.)
1. Keep your CV up to date even if you have no desire to find a different place to practice.
Making a habit of tweaking your CV “helps you bounce your own career off of yourself so you can see yourself as others would see you,” Dr. Montecalvo points out. Yes, it’s a seller’s market for skilled radiologists right now. But then no one saw Covid coming. Change can strike like lightening. “Just this January I interviewed a radiologist who’s 63 years old," says Dr. Montecalvo, who regularly revisits his CV even with retirement inching closer. “You just never know.”
2. Show your contact information somewhere toward the top.
You’d be surprised how many CVs we get that don’t have any contact info at all. That alone makes for a poor first impression. Email address and phone number will do.
3. Tailor your CV to fit the type of job you want.
Ask yourself if you’re aiming for a private group or an academic practice, for example. Then consider each of your CV's components. Do they support your intent and what a hiring manger is likely to look for? For instance, a teaching hospital or health system may be interested in seeing all your pertinent publications. Others, probably not so much.
4. Convey the story arc of your career.
Use your CV to give a sense of how you’ve been developing from your undergraduate days to medical school to your current life as a radiologist. As Dr. Montecalvo puts it: “I want to see how you got to where you are from where you started.” We also want to get a feel for what’s motivated you along the way.
5. Tell which job duties you’re especially good at, what you most like to do and how you prefer to work.
Don’t assume everyone who’s hiring is focused on productivity above all else. It’s often more important that you’d fit in with the culture. Are you now in a small rural hospital that doesn’t see much volume? A big private practice covering multiple hospitals and seeing massive volumes? That’s important for us to know with a glance at your CV.
6. Format your CV such that it communicates keen interest in the job for which you’re applying.
How thoughtfully your CV is arranged, organized and presented is really an expression of your interest in the job as well as your passion for your work. Every physician appreciates a colleague who’s thrilled to contribute to patient care while supporting workplace culture. In a CV, form can subtly convey as much as function.
7. If your career has been set back by the Covid crisis, be upfront about it.
You really do have to explain every single gap in your CV’s timeline. But you don’t have to go into detail. Took a vacation between earning your undergraduate degree and starting medical school? Understandable—and only a problem if you try to hide it.
8. Spotlight your dedication to high-quality patient care, your love for your work and your appreciation of team dynamics.
To hit that last point, you don’t need to avoid listing group-oriented activities outside of work. Church missions, Army Reserve service—whatever you’ve got, Dr. Montecalvo says. “I just want to know you’re a team player,” he explains. “I want to see that you know how to work in a collaborative way.”
Another thing on which Dr. Montecalvo and I agree: It’s hugely rewarding to help a radiologist relaunch his or her career with new goals to reach for and new horizons to head toward.
“Patient care is always Job 1,” Dr. Montecalvo says. “But I can only read so many cases. I can help a lot more patients indirectly, by helping skilled radiologists find a place they truly love to do their work.”
If either of us can help you in any way with your CV—or your career—please don’t hesitate to reach out.