Which Is Best for Healthcare Candidates? 

How you present yourself when applying for a new role can mean the difference between landing the position and embarking on a long, drawn-out job search. And a big piece of that equation is your application. Whether you’re just stepping into the workforce or you’re an industry veteran, nabbing your next career opportunity requires crafting a strong CV. 

So, what’s the difference between a resume and a CV? And what should you include in yours to make a compelling case for your candidacy? Here’s everything you need to know. 

Resume vs. CV: What’s the Difference?

Resumes are typically competency-based, serving as a way to convey a candidate’s skills, professional experience and noteworthy accomplishments. While two-page resumes are standard, a one-page resume is an acceptable and modern form to showcase work experience and professional achievements. It helps present skills and work history concisely and quickly to the hiring manager. It’s also ideal for candidates with only a few years of experience and those just starting out with fewer qualifications to fill up two pages.

On the other hand, a CV is leveraged by professionals in the fields of medicine, academia and scientific research, and is primarily credential-based. CVs are comprehensive in nature, detailing an individual’s education, research and publications, certifications, and professional memberships and affiliations. 

Some key differences between a resume and CV include:

  • Unlike a resume, a CV seldom contains a narrative profile or objective statement. Instead, healthcare candidates can opt to craft a cover letter as a way to add a pop of personality and explain why they’re an ideal fit for the role. 
  • Educational information is always listed first on a CV.
  • It’s a common practice to utilize bullet points in a resume, but they’re rarely used in a CV.
  • CVs are much lengthier than a resume and can contain anywhere from 3 to 15+ pages depending on experience level (i.e. A mid-level healthcare candidate has likely amassed numerous publications in comparison to a medical resident just entering the job market). 
  • Name-dropping is more frequently used in a CV. For instance, if a candidate performed research under a particular professor, their name and title would be included. 
  • A CV should be succinct, clear and neatly organized. A candidate’s experience, for example, is typically divvied up into distinct sections using headers like “Research” or Teaching.” Similarly, education can be grouped by “Advanced Training” and “Degrees.”

What to Include in a CV

To craft a stand-out CV, it’s crucial to emphasize information that is required for your particular discipline. Points included should also align with standard conventions within your discipline, which can be found by conducting a bit of research and reviewing examples of recent CV’s from those within your field.

How you choose to present your experience should be consistent with the requirements of the position you’re applying for as well as your individual strengths. The goal is to prioritize and highlight the most important information, placing it early on within your CV.   

That said, your CV should contain the following details:

  • Name/Personal Info: Your contact information should give a detailed overview of your mailing address, phone number(s), email address, your preferred method of contact, and the best time to connect with you.
  • Education: Start with the most recent, listing the name of the institution, location, attendance dates, and degree received. 
  • Certification and Licensure: Provide completion dates for each. Currently undergoing the board certification process? Be sure to note what stage of the process you’re in – i.e. written or oral boards, awaiting results, or board-eligible. 
  • Professional Experience: Incorporate key details, like the type of practice, patient volume and a brief description of your responsibilities. 
  • Research and Publications: Cite relevant publications or presentations you’ve given. 
  • Accomplishments and Awards: Highlight honors you’ve received, as well as accomplishments from projects you managed or committees you served on. You can also showcase your clinical and nonclinical administrative or managerial skills.
  • Professional Memberships: Include societies you’re affiliated with, along with any leadership positions you may hold. 
  • References: List the individuals who can serve as effective references and attest to your strengths from both a skills and personality standpoint. Remember to speak with the people you’d like to utilize as a reference before including them in your CV. 

Tips for Making Your Candidacy Stand Out

Before you submit your CV, it’s imperative to perform a little due diligence and research the hospital or facility you’re interested in applying to. Why? Because once you have a firm grasp on their values, corporate culture and goals, you can tailor your application in a manner that unites your expertise with the needs of the organization. 

Use key learnings from your research to emphasize specific skills, accomplishments and work experience that are relevant to the position. This ensures your CV is focused on compelling, meaningful information (i.e. what will ultimately capture a hiring manager’s attention) in lieu of listing a bunch of irrelevant details. 

Another pro tip: quantify your accomplishments. What we mean by that is to leverage numbers and measurable outcomes to make a case for why you’d make an excellent fit for the role. To paint a clearer picture, here are three examples of ways to quantify your achievements: 

  • Maintained an 89% success rate for patient goal attainment as measured by surveys and annual follow-up calls.
  • Responsible for the planning and management of the clinical department for 5 NY offices and 32 providers.
  • Facilitated interdisciplinary afternoon discharge rounds to encourage early discharge before noon the following day. Exceeded unit goal of 27%.

Bringing It All Together 

As a worker navigating today’s healthcare landscape, it’s crucial to go the extra mile and illustrate why you’d be an asset to the hospital or facility you’re interested in. From the information included in your CV to your cover letter, exercise thoughtfulness in how you present yourself and the experience/skills you choose to highlight. The added effort will help your candidacy stand out from the pack. 

If you’re a healthcare professional looking for your next career opportunity, contact the Polaris team today to learn how our recruiters can help you achieve your goals.