This article is brought to you by Health eCareers, the company that manages GICareerSearch, AGA’s online career center.
There are many challenges to face on the journey to a career in gastroenterology. From passing the MCAT and securing your place in medical school, to completing an internship and residency, you’ve nearly passed them all. But you’re not in the clear quite yet! Between landing your first gastroenterology job and finding new opportunities in the future, your CV (or curriculum vitae) is the most valuable tool you have. So you’ll want to avoid these common mistakes.
1. Cluttered Formatting
On average, employers spend mere minutes reviewing your CV before deciding whether to reject you or dig deeper (nearly half spend less than two minutes per one survey). On this first pass, they’re generally scanning for important details rather than reading every word, so make it easy for them. Avoid cluttered formatting and large paragraphs of unbroken text by judiciously using white space, bold headlines and bulleted lists. Stick with a standard, easy-to-read font — such as Times New Roman or Arial — throughout the document as well.
2. Cookie-Cutter Copy
That said, you don’t want your CV to read like every other gastroenterology resident’s CV, either. Make it stand out and you’ll quickly capture your potential employer’s attention while coming across as an individual rather than just another faceless applicant. There are many ways to do this, though one of the simplest is to avoid copying text from the many gastroenterology CV templates you can find online and using your own words instead. Additionally, consider including some personal information in your skills statement — such as why you got into gastroenterology, your volunteer work or a glowing quote from a faculty member about your performance.
3. Misrepresentations or Outright Lies
More than half of employers say they have caught a lie on a candidate’s CV. The most common fibs include skill set embellishment, responsibility embellishment, dates of employment, job titles and academic degrees. While it can be tempting to exaggerate a bit to impress a hiring manager, when caught — and you can bet it will be — even a small misrepresentation is enough to get your CV thrown in the reject pile and yourself blacklisted from that practice, clinic or hospital.
4. Failing to Focus on Accomplishments
Endless lists of “duties included” and “responsible for” statements quickly put potential employers to sleep — doing nothing to help your cause. They’re much less interested in your past chores than they are in your quantifiable accomplishments. Spend some time thinking about ways to describe your internship and residency successes using concrete numbers. This could include an increase in the number of patients you were able to see per day, for example, or any cost-saving measures you had a hand in implementing.
5. Forgetting the Keywords
Whether you’re posting your CV online or submitting it directly to potential employers, keywords are essential. Many large health-care organizations use applicant tracking software — or ATS — to scan and rank the relevance of the CVs they receive. Recruiters who search online databases for potential applicants also use keywords to identify the best matches. Leave pertinent keywords out of your CV and it’s unlikely to ever be seen.
For best results when using keywords, customize them to the position for which you’re applying. Read the job posting carefully to identify the best options. They’re most often nouns and generally relate to the skills and experience required for the position. Certifications and degrees are also often keywords, as are any software programs mentioned in the positing. You should consider the job title and the city in which the position is located as keywords as well.
CV must-haves checklist:
- Full name, complete address, phone number and email.
- Bold headlines and bulleted lists.
- Quantified accomplishments.
- Soft skills as well as hard skills.
- Credentials including degree, licenses, certifications and areas of specialized training.
- Other keywords culled from the job posting.
Want to take your CV to the next level? GICareeSearch.com, AGA’s official job board, is currently offering free CV reviews with personzlied feedback. Sign up today.