Writing a résumé is a daunting task for any professional, but perhaps more so for a medical or healthcare specialist. While most résumés are interchangeable and follow a similar pattern, those in clinical roles have to be more aware of what exactly they should and shouldn’t include.
For instance, a paramedic’s CV/résumé may need to focus more on their key skills, competencies and qualifications, whereas a dietician will likely need to put more emphasis on the research and publications that they have contributed to. A junior doctor may need to give prominence to both.
Therefore, it’s useful to get a clearer picture of the differences, and highlight what exactly your résumé should look like – and what it shouldn’t – regardless of your role in the healthcare chain.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of medical résumé examples for six key professions, including the main differences that should be accounted for in early career and established candidates, as well as some important insights into how you can make any potential application stand out.
1. Medical student
As a graduate about to leave the relative safety of medical school and enter the frightening and chaotic reality of real-life medicine, you will need to draw attention away from your lack of overall experience by highlighting your academic achievements, key soft skills and prior clinical placements.
As the above example from the University of Iowa shows, this doesn’t need to take up too much space; often, you can fit everything you need onto one page. It’s important, though, to describe any relevant work experience you have had, as well as any relevant internships, work placements and volunteering experience.
Indeed, as you’re expected to be short on experience, these extracurricular activities can help to paint a hugely positive portrait of your enthusiasm, dedication and commitment to self-development and helping others.
2. Junior doctor
The term ‘junior doctor’ can, of course, be slightly misleading; they often possess years of experience and are highly competent physicians. Therefore, this needs to be reflected on your CV or résumé – certainly more so than for a medical student or recent graduate.
As the above example shows, the main emphasis here needs to be on your responsibilities and competencies in each of your roles since graduating. Depending on where you’re based and in which healthcare system you operate, this may encompass several postings at different hospitals, or one single position. Either way, you need to document in some depth what exactly you have done and what you continue to do day-to-day.
If you’re using your résumé to apply for a specialist position, then ensure that the skills you have listed have some relevance, too. If you’re looking to move into cardiothoracic surgery, for example, then it makes little sense to mention that ophthalmology rotation you did in any great detail. Apply common sense and use your summary section to talk briefly about your motivations and suitability for the role you’re pursuing.
3. Consultant/Senior doctor
As a consultant or a senior physician, you’re likely to possess a lot of experience; therefore, most of your CV/résumé should be an overarching summary of your competencies and achievements.
For instance, whereas you might talk about the individual surgeries you’ve performed on a junior doctor résumé, a consultant’s résumé takes a broader view. Your status speaks for itself in clinical terms, and your focus should be tailored more towards your strategic inputs and their relevance to the role you’re applying for.
In many ways, a consultant’s résumé is similar to that of a business executive; it should be heavily tailored and focus more on numbers-based achievements than day-to-day responsibilities.
4. Student/Entry-level nurse
As a graduate nurse, you should follow a similar approach to that of a medical graduate – you should concentrate on promoting your academic, extracurricular and volunteering activities. However, a nursing résumé doesn’t need to be as complex as a medical one.
In your summary, explain what motivates and excites you about nursing, and take particular care in describing your soft skills. Talk in detail about the key competencies you undertook on your clinical placement and be sure to list any volunteering programmes you took part in and part-time roles you’ve held – especially if they involved caring for others.
5. Registered nurse
As a registered nurse, you will – like a junior doctor – have some experience behind you, usually in the range of at least five years. You’ll likely have specialised in a particular field at this point and may even have obtained postgraduate qualifications such as a master’s degree.
Therefore, you need to advertise all of this. You don’t need to go into the same level of detail in terms of clinical competencies as on a graduate résumé, but you should still detail your general day-to-day responsibilities.
You will likely be looking to apply for a more senior position at this stage, so emphase what makes you suitable, too; talk about any leadership or management skills you have developed, as well as any courses you have undertaken.
In much the same way as a CV for a registered nurse, a paramedic’s résumé needs to focus on competencies, skills and any specialist courses or qualifications undertaken. This is particularly important if you’re aiming to apply for a more advanced position, such as a paramedic practitioner or on an air ambulance.
For an EMT, there will be some subtle differences. For instance, you likely won’t need to include any professional registration details, while your scope of practice will also be more defined. If you’re applying for a paramedic or student paramedic position, meanwhile, it’s vital to talk about how much clinical exposure and experience you have amassed, and to ensure that your references are recent and solid.
As allied health professionals who are responsible for taking and processing X-rays and other scans, radiographer CVs are relatively less complex than other kinds of medical CVs that cover a broader scope of competencies.
It still needs to convey your day-to-day responsibilities, however, as well as identify any professional development you have undergone while in the role.
For many of the professions on this list, it’s likely that potential employers will be generally limited to hospitals, clinics or private healthcare providers. Pharmacists, however, possess a lot more scope to work in private and commercial sectors, especially for pharmaceutical firms such as GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
As a result, your résumé – if you’re planning to work in one of these sectors – needs to be more commercially aware. This means a focus on numbers-based achievements, as well as the ability to sell yourself as business-minded.
Whether you’re an industrial, clinical or academic, ensure that your pharmacist résumé is relevant to your area of specialisation.
Dieticians have a broad skillset and a wide knowledge base across a variety of topics and, as a result, the structure of your résumé can vary depending on the context of your practice. For instance, if you’re looking to work in a sports science environment, then your résumé will look totally dissimilar – and be marketed to an entirely different audience – than if you’re interested in specialising in, say, diabetic management.
Either way, you’ll need to place a lot of emphasis on your professional affiliations and memberships as well as any research and publications in your relevant field.
As you can see, there are a lot of subtle differences between these résumé layouts, even within the same professions. The key is to ensure that regardless of how it looks and what your background is, your résumé – as in any industry – is tailored specifically to the role that you’re applying for. This will ensure that the experiences and skills you’ve listed are relevant and that your summary is targeted at the right audience.
Remember: it doesn’t matter how skilled a practitioner you are and how well you operate in a clinical environment; if you can’t translate this onto your CV or résumé, you’ll have a difficult time getting your foot in the door in certain environments. Follow the tips above – or enlist the help of a professional résumé service – and you should have no trouble gaining access to the kinds of roles that you’re looking for.
Do you have any other tips or any questions about writing your own medical résumé? Join the conversation down below and let us know!