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 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

    1. 1. “How” to write a good CV?<br />Sohail Bajammal, MBChB, MSc, FRSC(C), PhD(c)<br />Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine<br />Vice Dean, Academic Development, Faculty of Dentistry<br />ssbajammal@uqu.edu.sa<br />
    2. 2. Key Points<br />“How” or “What”?<br />Your CV is your marketing representative<br />Organization “look” is important as well<br />
    3. 3. Planning<br />Writing CV is not a big deal<br />What to write is more important than how to write<br />“what to write” depends on “what you have done”<br />
    4. 4. Failure to plan is planning to fail<br />
    5. 5. Planning<br />Mission Statement<br />Short Term Goals<br />Long Term Goals<br />
    6. 6. Orthopedics<br />Education<br />Research<br />
    7. 7. Planning<br />I use MindMapping (MindManager)<br />There are lots free in the market<br />
    8. 8. How to achieve your Goals?<br />Make a plan<br />Academic performance:<br />Medical school/workplace<br />Research<br />Extra-curricular academic activities (courses, workshops, conferences, symposia)<br />Extra-curricular activities:<br />Volunteering<br />Teamwork<br />Leadership<br />
    9. 9. How to achieve your Goals?<br />Be committed<br />Be available<br />Networking<br />Be proactive<br />Be organized<br />Surround yourself with encouraging people<br />
    10. 10. So, how to get a job?<br />
    11. 11. Cover Letter<br />Personal Statement<br />CV<br />References<br />Screening of Candidates<br />Excluded<br />Interview<br />Thank You Letter<br />
    12. 12. Cover Letter<br />
    13. 13. Cover Letter<br />Addressed to the program director<br />One paragraph (4 lines): <br />About you & why they have to pick you<br />Don’t repeat the whole CV<br />One paragraph (4 lines): <br />About them & why you want them<br />
    14. 14. Curriculum Vitae<br />
    15. 15. CV<br />No right or wrong – Personal Flavor<br />But there are guidelines<br />
    16. 16. Organization<br />Make a folder in your computer for CV<br />Save each file like: <br />“Mohammad Ahmed CV 2009 08 20.doc” <br />“Mohammad Ahmed CV 2010 03 30.doc”<br />Update your CV regularly<br />
    17. 17.
    18. 18. Organization<br />Keep original certificates, thank you letters, timetable of your presentations etc in a folder<br />Keep copies of the above in a separate folder (identical replicate)<br />Fancier: scan the certificates and keep an electronic format<br />Keep Track of EVERYTHING about yourself<br />
    19. 19.
    20. 20.
    21. 21. What to include?Categories/Sections<br />Personal Data: Name & Contact<br />Education<br />Honors<br />Certification/Licensure<br />Experience<br />Research Experience<br />Publications<br />Presentations<br />Professional Membership<br />
    22. 22. Additional Categories/Sections<br />Objective or Professional Interest Statement<br />Computer/Technical Skills<br />Leadership<br />Additional Experience<br />Committees<br />Professional Development – training, professional organizations, workshops, conferences<br />Community Service/Volunteer<br />Foreign Languages<br />Interests/Hobbies<br />
    23. 23. General Rules of CV<br />
    24. 24. General Rules<br />Consistent organization: style, margins, alignment, periods, spaces <br />Use horizontal space<br />Balanced page <br />Fill the page<br />Avoid ODD page breaks<br />
    25. 25.
    26. 26.
    27. 27.
    28. 28. General Rules<br />Use easy readable font (Arial, Times New Roman)<br />Avoid Comic Font<br />Don’t use more than one font<br />Font size (depends on the font):<br />Size 18: your name at top<br />Size 14: headings<br />Size 12: text<br />
    29. 29. General Rules<br />Use bullet format, no dashes<br />Use Bold, Italic, and Underline carefully<br />Check your spelling & grammar<br />Use Punctuation marks, Capitalization, Underlining carefully<br />If you use more than one page, include “Name, Page #”<br />
    30. 30. Page Break<br />
    31. 31. Do<br />Share it with your best friends & tutors: ask for their advice<br />Read revise, read revise, read revise your CV regularly<br />
    32. 32. Don’t<br />Don’t write “Curriculum Vitae” at the top<br />Don’t send your CV as Word Doc, send it as PDF<br />Don’t send your CV electronically with a file name “MyCV.pdf”<br />
    33. 33. This how your CV might look if you send it as Word<br />
    34. 34. Don’t<br />Don’t use emails like:<br />ZaKoolDoc@.....<br />SoftDreams@.....<br />lazzoza@.......<br />Don’t fabricate<br />
    35. 35. Formatting<br />Consistency of format throughout the CV<br />Use all periods or no periods at the end of sentence<br />Don’t number sections: 1. Personal Date, 2. Education<br />Avoid personal pronouns “I”<br />Instead use Action Verbs: organized, facilitated<br />Consistent alignment<br />Left Aligned<br />Use Tab<br />Use Indent, not Spaces<br />
    36. 36.
    37. 37. Formatting of Date<br />Date:<br />Use consistent format<br />Sebtember 2010<br />Novambar 22, 2008<br />23-Oct. - 2007<br />Oct. 09<br />6/7/1423<br />25 – Safar - 1429H<br />Very easy to have spelling mistakes<br />If you are submitting abroad, no one knows about Hijri<br />
    38. 38. CV Final Product<br />Avoid graphics, color ink<br />Use laser printer<br />Use high quality, 100% cotton paper <br />A4 or Letter Size; change Page size in Word<br />Don’t print on both sides of the paper<br />Don’t staple<br />Don’t fold  if mailing, use large envelope<br />
    39. 39. Your CV should read<br />Like a purposeful professional journey, not a series of random courses and conferences<br />Like you are directing your career<br />
    40. 40. CV Contents<br />
    41. 41. Heading<br />Your name (large font - 20 )<br />Your contact: address, email, phone, fax<br />Will people be able to reach you?<br />Your address is not “Al-Azizyah District”<br />Are these your permanent contacts??<br />You may need to add a second address<br />Your email shouldn’t be ZaKoolDoc@....., ZozaMoza@....., or sweat_dreams@.....<br />Problems with using your institution account (e.g., uqu.edu.sa)  you may move<br />
    42. 42.
    43. 43. Personal Data<br />Date of birth<br />Nationality<br />Marital status<br />Gender<br />Controversy: many countries do not want these information because of fear of bias<br />
    44. 44. Education<br />Chronological order (start with most recent)<br />High school<br />Do not include elementary & intermediate school<br />Keep consistent format<br />The University, College, Dates, Degree granted, Grade<br />
    45. 45. EducationConsistent Format<br />August 1998 – July 1999: Compulsory Internship, King Abdulaziz University Affiliated Hospitals, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia<br />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<br />September 1989 – June 1992: Secondary School Certificate, Excellent, 99.2%, 3rd rank, Western Province, Saudi Arabia<br />
    46. 46. EducationInconsistent Format<br />August 1998 – July 1999: Compulsory Internship, King Abdulaziz University Affiliated Hospitals, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia<br />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<br />September 1989 – June 1992: Secondary School Certificate, Excellent, 99.2%, 3rd rank, Western Province, Saudi Arabia<br />
    47. 47. Honors/Recognition<br />Appreciation letters<br />Scholarships awarded<br />Other significant awards<br />Alphabetical or reverse chronological order<br />Include graduation with honors in Education section<br />
    48. 48. Experience <br />STC<br />Focus on relevant experience <br />Include significant experience obtained before medical school <br />Include volunteer/community service completed during medical school<br />Do not include experience that is part of the Medical School curriculum<br />
    49. 49. Experience<br /><ul><li>May divide into additional categories:
    50. 50. Clinical Experience
    51. 51. Research Experience
    52. 52. Teaching Experience
    53. 53. International Experience
    54. 54. Volunteer Experience or Community Service</li></li></ul><li>Experience Descriptions<br />Elaborate on your relevant experience<br />Begin descriptions with strong, descriptive action verbs (avoid personal pronouns)<br />Focus on skills and accomplishments rather than including a comprehensive list of job duties<br />For less relevant experience, focus on transferable skills<br />
    55. 55. Medical Action Verbs<br />Examine<br />Perform <br />Interpret<br />Prescribe<br />Administer<br />Diagnose<br />Counsel<br />Evaluate<br />Treat<br />Confer<br />Monitor<br />Assess<br />Refer<br />Specialize<br />Repair<br />Consult<br />Communicate<br />Document<br />Teach<br />Implement<br />Supervise<br />Manage<br />Collaborate<br />Plan<br />
    56. 56. Research Experience<br />Institution or organization and department<br />Principal investigator, supervisor or advisor<br />Research topic or title<br />Your title/role<br />Dates (months and years)<br />Short description of project and your role<br />
    57. 57. Research Action Verbs<br />Analyze Assess <br />Clarify Collaborate<br />Collect Compare<br />Conduct Determine<br />Consult Disprove<br />Document Evaluate<br />Examine Extract <br />Formulate Gather<br />Identify <br />
    58. 58. Research ExperienceExample<br />Umm Al-Qura University Faculty of Medicine – Summer Research Program<br />Department of Genetics Makkah, Saudi Arabia<br />Research Assistant 07/2010 – 08/2010<br />Principal Investigator: Faisal Allaf, PhD<br />Research Title: Genetic Determinants of Colon Cancer in Saudi Patients<br />Conducted interviews of patients and assisted in conducting physical exams<br />
    59. 59. Interests<br />Usually non-medical<br />This where most of interviews start<br />Be careful of what you put here!<br />
    60. 60. Final Word on CV<br />
    61. 61. The market is getting more competitive for job applications<br />Younger folks are more expert in writing CV (like a grade 11 student!)<br />
    62. 62.
    63. 63.
    64. 64. Personal Statement<br />
    65. 65. Personal Statement<br />According to the application process<br />Usually one page<br />Narrative account<br />Tell them something special about yourself<br />Yourself, your personality, your strengths<br />What made you choose medicine, your specialty<br />Personal successes, Obstacles you’ve overcome<br />
    66. 66. References<br />
    67. 67. References<br />Ask their permission to be your referees & release of their contact information<br />Give them a copy of your CV and ask for their feedback<br />Tell them about the job & why this job<br />
    68. 68. References<br />Choosing your referees:<br />Careful: someone who knows you & likes you<br />Relevant<br />Credible & Competent<br />For each referee, list:<br />Name, title, organization and department, business address, phone number, and email<br />
    69. 69. Thank You Letter<br />
    70. 70. Thank You Letter<br />Make sure you send a thank you letter after the interview<br />Thank them for giving you the chance of the interview<br />Follow up/highlight some of the points discussed<br />Re-emphasize that you really want the job<br />
    71. 71. Why a Thank You letter?<br />It’s a small community<br />You will come across these people, sometime, somewhere<br />Even if you were not accepted, you maybe wait-listed<br />
    72. 72. Summary<br />
    73. 73. Write your CV TODAY<br />
    74. 74. Summary<br />Failure to plan is planning to fail<br />“What” is more important than “How”<br />(Read  Revise)3R<br />The organization is as important as the content<br />It’s not only CV<br />Cover letter, Picking your references, Personal statement, Thank you letter<br />

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