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What is a Curriculum Vitae?

A curriculum vitae (CV) is an essential piece of a family physicians’ portfolio and your opportunity to make a great first impression on a potential employer. Your CV provides a holistic view of your professional and academic accomplishments and should be tailored to meet each employers’ needs. Unlike a résumé, which is often limited to one page, a CV is a comprehensive listing and is usually three or more pages long. You should regularly revisit your CV to reflect important developments in your career.


How should I write a CV?

1.     Be Clear. Use the template below to lay out your accomplishments. Include brief descriptions where needed. Lastly, remember to have at least one person review your CV for grammar and spelling mistakes.

2.     Organize it well. There is no standard CV format. But remember, your CV must reflect what you deem as important. Consistency is key when structuring your CV. See below for more tips how to format your CV.

3.     Keep it current. Your CV should reflect your most recent accomplishments. At minimum, you should try to update your CV every year. When job hunting, you should curate your CV to each position you are applying for.


What should I include in my CV?

When writing your CV, first gather all relevant information then list your accomplishments by category. Use the following headers and sub-headers to gather the requisite information.

Contact Information

·       Full Name

·       Address: Permanent and Current/Present if need be

·       Telephone

·       Email

·       LinkedIn profile or personal webpage (optional)


Tip: List your degrees in reverse chronological order.

·       School Name

·       Graduation Date

·       Degree Completed

Internships, Residencies, Fellowships

Tip: You may use a separate sub-header, or include these roles under your Education header. 

·       Name of Organization

·       Your Specialty

·       The Location

·       Leadership Roles (if applicable)

Board Certification, Specialty, and States in which you are licensed

Tip: Do not include license numbers.

Professional Experience

Tip: Do not include non-medical experience here.

·       Position

·       Organization name and address

·       Dates of employment

·       Short description of duties

Professional Affiliations and Honors

·       Membership in Professional Organizations

o   Full names of organizations

o   Years of Membership

o   Leadership Positions Held (If Applicable)

·       Honors from professional, educational or related organizations

o   Name of Honor

o   Location

o   Date Received

Publications, Presentations and Other Activities

Tip: For publications, use complete bibliographic citations.

·       Publications

·       Presentations

·       Invited lectures

·       Research Activities

·       Community Service

·       Leisure Interests


What should I leave off my CV?

·       Do not use acronyms, nicknames, or abbreviations; spell out full job titles and organization names

·       Personal information, such as gender, race, age and marital status

·       Non-medical work experience or any experience that does not relate to your role as a medical professional

·       Test scores and license numbers need not be included unless requested by a specific employer

·      Irrelevant Information, vague descriptions and repeated entries


How do I format my CV?

·       Leave plenty of white space

·       Use a simple, professional font such as Arial or Calibri

·       Include a name header and page number on all pages

·       Place job title, organization name, and duties on the left side, and dates on the right

·       Choose a format and stick to it; layout, spacing and structure should be consistent

·       Use parallelism: keep the structure of your phrases and/or sentences consistent throughout your document

·       Use CAFP’s sample CV to get started


AAFP’s How to Write A CV 

Purdue OWL’s Writing the Curriculum Vitae 

5 Fatal Physician Curriculum Vitae Errors