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How to write a good CV

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A presentation given to final year medical students on how to write CV. It also includes some tips on the application process: cover letter, personal statement, choosing references, and thank you ...

A presentation given to final year medical students on how to write CV. It also includes some tips on the application process: cover letter, personal statement, choosing references, and thank you letter.

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  • I was asked to give you a talk on how to write a good CV. I guess the aim of those who organized this event is to increase your chances of being accepted. Hence, I will tell you not only about CV, but about what is involved in the application process: cover letter, CV, references, personal statement, and thank you letter.

How to write a good CV How to write a good CV Presentation Transcript

  • “How” to write a good CV?
    Sohail Bajammal, MBChB, MSc, FRSC(C), PhD(c)
    Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine
    Vice Dean, Academic Development, Faculty of Dentistry
    ssbajammal@uqu.edu.sa
  • Key Points
    “How” or “What”?
    Your CV is your marketing representative
    Organization “look” is important as well
  • Planning
    Writing CV is not a big deal
    What to write is more important than how to write
    “what to write” depends on “what you have done”
  • Failure to plan is planning to fail
  • Planning
    Mission Statement
    Short Term Goals
    Long Term Goals
  • Orthopedics
    Education
    Research
  • Planning
    I use MindMapping (MindManager)
    There are lots free in the market
  • How to achieve your Goals?
    Make a plan
    Academic performance:
    Medical school/workplace
    Research
    Extra-curricular academic activities (courses, workshops, conferences, symposia)
    Extra-curricular activities:
    Volunteering
    Teamwork
    Leadership
  • How to achieve your Goals?
    Be committed
    Be available
    Networking
    Be proactive
    Be organized
    Surround yourself with encouraging people
  • So, how to get a job?
  • Cover Letter
    Personal Statement
    CV
    References
    Screening of Candidates
    Excluded
    Interview
    Thank You Letter
  • Cover Letter
  • Cover Letter
    Addressed to the program director
    One paragraph (4 lines):
    About you & why they have to pick you
    Don’t repeat the whole CV
    One paragraph (4 lines):
    About them & why you want them
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • CV
    No right or wrong – Personal Flavor
    But there are guidelines
  • Organization
    Make a folder in your computer for CV
    Save each file like:
    “Mohammad Ahmed CV 2009 08 20.doc”
    “Mohammad Ahmed CV 2010 03 30.doc”
    Update your CV regularly
  • Organization
    Keep original certificates, thank you letters, timetable of your presentations etc in a folder
    Keep copies of the above in a separate folder (identical replicate)
    Fancier: scan the certificates and keep an electronic format
    Keep Track of EVERYTHING about yourself
  • What to include?Categories/Sections
    Personal Data: Name & Contact
    Education
    Honors
    Certification/Licensure
    Experience
    Research Experience
    Publications
    Presentations
    Professional Membership
  • Additional Categories/Sections
    Objective or Professional Interest Statement
    Computer/Technical Skills
    Leadership
    Additional Experience
    Committees
    Professional Development – training, professional organizations, workshops, conferences
    Community Service/Volunteer
    Foreign Languages
    Interests/Hobbies
  • General Rules of CV
  • General Rules
    Consistent organization: style, margins, alignment, periods, spaces
    Use horizontal space
    Balanced page
    Fill the page
    Avoid ODD page breaks
  • General Rules
    Use easy readable font (Arial, Times New Roman)
    Avoid Comic Font
    Don’t use more than one font
    Font size (depends on the font):
    Size 18: your name at top
    Size 14: headings
    Size 12: text
  • General Rules
    Use bullet format, no dashes
    Use Bold, Italic, and Underline carefully
    Check your spelling & grammar
    Use Punctuation marks, Capitalization, Underlining carefully
    If you use more than one page, include “Name, Page #”
  • Page Break
  • Do
    Share it with your best friends & tutors: ask for their advice
    Read revise, read revise, read revise your CV regularly
  • Don’t
    Don’t write “Curriculum Vitae” at the top
    Don’t send your CV as Word Doc, send it as PDF
    Don’t send your CV electronically with a file name “MyCV.pdf”
  • This how your CV might look if you send it as Word
  • Don’t
    Don’t use emails like:
    ZaKoolDoc@.....
    SoftDreams@.....
    lazzoza@.......
    Don’t fabricate
  • Formatting
    Consistency of format throughout the CV
    Use all periods or no periods at the end of sentence
    Don’t number sections: 1. Personal Date, 2. Education
    Avoid personal pronouns “I”
    Instead use Action Verbs: organized, facilitated
    Consistent alignment
    Left Aligned
    Use Tab
    Use Indent, not Spaces
  • Formatting of Date
    Date:
    Use consistent format
    Sebtember 2010
    Novambar 22, 2008
    23-Oct. - 2007
    Oct. 09
    6/7/1423
    25 – Safar - 1429H
    Very easy to have spelling mistakes
    If you are submitting abroad, no one knows about Hijri
  • CV Final Product
    Avoid graphics, color ink
    Use laser printer
    Use high quality, 100% cotton paper
    A4 or Letter Size; change Page size in Word
    Don’t print on both sides of the paper
    Don’t staple
    Don’t fold  if mailing, use large envelope
  • Your CV should read
    Like a purposeful professional journey, not a series of random courses and conferences
    Like you are directing your career
  • CV Contents
  • Heading
    Your name (large font - 20 )
    Your contact: address, email, phone, fax
    Will people be able to reach you?
    Your address is not “Al-Azizyah District”
    Are these your permanent contacts??
    You may need to add a second address
    Your email shouldn’t be ZaKoolDoc@....., ZozaMoza@....., or sweat_dreams@.....
    Problems with using your institution account (e.g., uqu.edu.sa)  you may move
  • Personal Data
    Date of birth
    Nationality
    Marital status
    Gender
    Controversy: many countries do not want these information because of fear of bias
  • Education
    Chronological order (start with most recent)
    High school
    Do not include elementary & intermediate school
    Keep consistent format
    The University, College, Dates, Degree granted, Grade
  • EducationConsistent Format
    August 1998 – July 1999: Compulsory Internship, King Abdulaziz University Affiliated Hospitals, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    September 1992 – June 1998: Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, MB ChB, Very Good, 79.3%, honor degree, 3rd rank in class, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    September 1989 – June 1992: Secondary School Certificate, Excellent, 99.2%, 3rd rank, Western Province, Saudi Arabia
  • EducationInconsistent Format
    August 1998 – July 1999: Compulsory Internship, King Abdulaziz University Affiliated Hospitals, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, MB ChB, Very Good, 79.3%, honor degree, 3rd rank in class, Faculty of Medicine, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, September 1992 – June 1998
    September 1989 – June 1992: Secondary School Certificate, Excellent, 99.2%, 3rd rank, Western Province, Saudi Arabia
  • Honors/Recognition
    Appreciation letters
    Scholarships awarded
    Other significant awards
    Alphabetical or reverse chronological order
    Include graduation with honors in Education section
  • Experience
    STC
    Focus on relevant experience
    Include significant experience obtained before medical school
    Include volunteer/community service completed during medical school
    Do not include experience that is part of the Medical School curriculum
  • Experience
    • May divide into additional categories:
    • Clinical Experience
    • Research Experience
    • Teaching Experience
    • International Experience
    • Volunteer Experience or Community Service
  • Experience Descriptions
    Elaborate on your relevant experience
    Begin descriptions with strong, descriptive action verbs (avoid personal pronouns)
    Focus on skills and accomplishments rather than including a comprehensive list of job duties
    For less relevant experience, focus on transferable skills
  • Medical Action Verbs
    Examine
    Perform
    Interpret
    Prescribe
    Administer
    Diagnose
    Counsel
    Evaluate
    Treat
    Confer
    Monitor
    Assess
    Refer
    Specialize
    Repair
    Consult
    Communicate
    Document
    Teach
    Implement
    Supervise
    Manage
    Collaborate
    Plan
  • Research Experience
    Institution or organization and department
    Principal investigator, supervisor or advisor
    Research topic or title
    Your title/role
    Dates (months and years)
    Short description of project and your role
  • Research Action Verbs
    Analyze Assess
    Clarify Collaborate
    Collect Compare
    Conduct Determine
    Consult Disprove
    Document Evaluate
    Examine Extract
    Formulate Gather
    Identify
  • Research ExperienceExample
    Umm Al-Qura University Faculty of Medicine – Summer Research Program
    Department of Genetics Makkah, Saudi Arabia
    Research Assistant 07/2010 – 08/2010
    Principal Investigator: Faisal Allaf, PhD
    Research Title: Genetic Determinants of Colon Cancer in Saudi Patients
    Conducted interviews of patients and assisted in conducting physical exams
  • Interests
    Usually non-medical
    This where most of interviews start
    Be careful of what you put here!
  • Final Word on CV
  • The market is getting more competitive for job applications
    Younger folks are more expert in writing CV (like a grade 11 student!)
  • Personal Statement
  • Personal Statement
    According to the application process
    Usually one page
    Narrative account
    Tell them something special about yourself
    Yourself, your personality, your strengths
    What made you choose medicine, your specialty
    Personal successes, Obstacles you’ve overcome
  • References
  • References
    Ask their permission to be your referees & release of their contact information
    Give them a copy of your CV and ask for their feedback
    Tell them about the job & why this job
  • References
    Choosing your referees:
    Careful: someone who knows you & likes you
    Relevant
    Credible & Competent
    For each referee, list:
    Name, title, organization and department, business address, phone number, and email
  • Thank You Letter
  • Thank You Letter
    Make sure you send a thank you letter after the interview
    Thank them for giving you the chance of the interview
    Follow up/highlight some of the points discussed
    Re-emphasize that you really want the job
  • Why a Thank You letter?
    It’s a small community
    You will come across these people, sometime, somewhere
    Even if you were not accepted, you maybe wait-listed
  • Summary
  • Write your CV TODAY
  • Summary
    Failure to plan is planning to fail
    “What” is more important than “How”
    (Read  Revise)3R
    The organization is as important as the content
    It’s not only CV
    Cover letter, Picking your references, Personal statement, Thank you letter