I need help with my CV, but I have no idea what to do. What do hiring managers look for in CV’s?

Hi everyone, this week, Kent McMackin, President of Physician Leaders for Today, will be talking about the dreaded CV!

We all know we need to keep it updated and have the perfect CV so we are found by recruiters and hiring managers. but what does that mean and how do we do that?

I need help with my CV, but I have no idea what to do. What do hiring managers look for in CV’s? 

Hiring managers most often do not see your CV initially; the initial screen is either automated or completed by someone with little to no clinical or operations background or experience.

In most healthcare organizations applications are screened by a Recruiter or Human Resource employee (screener).  They will be focused initially on the following information:

Contact Information: Name, degree(s), location, cell phone, and email address

Experience/Expertise Cue List:

If you utilize experience/expertise cues (a cue lets the person who screens your CV/Resume know that you have experience or expertise in the job you are applying for and suggests that they will see that experience within the body of your “job history”) under the name section that represent services and products where you have experience; ensure that you list those that are included in the job description or advertisement; for example, Utilization Review.

Work History:

If you do or do not list experience cues, the screener will be looking for the title of the job classification (Utilization Review, Patient Safety, Physician Informatics, etc.) as a position title in your work history or in the bullets you provide that outline what you did in the positions you list in work history.

Example: If you are a Physician applying for a job in Utilization Review (UR), and do not have work history of managing or working in a UR position/role; you will need to connect the dots for the screener of how what a physician does as a clinician involving UR that would give a physician a higher understanding of and capability to lead in that space.

Education and Certifications:

The screener will next look at education, certifications, or continuing education that directly relates to the service or product that you are applying for; in this example UR.

Cover Letter:

You will absolutely have to include a cover letter in most cases.

In following the above scenario for UR, the cover letter must have three components clearly outlined:

First, how your value proposition (Expertise/Experience) as an MD or DO would push the second component of how that would bring value to a UR program; and third how you understand how “The Ripple Effect of UR moves through other departments within a healthcare organization.”

When and if the hiring executive gets your CV it must have concise qualitative and quantitative proof that your career as an MD or DO meets or exceeds their job design and description for their position:

Example: as a medical student how many patients did you see and in what specialties; while seeing patients were any of the job variables of the type of position you seek in play?


You need to analyze and transition your CV from a traditional clinical CV to a CV that operationalizes and highlights your exposure to the key performance indicators of the position or career path you are seeking.

This document would need to give examples of how you as a physician have experience with improving access, quality, and equity for patients; and how, as a non practicing physician you would lead/manage communication, cooperation, and collaboration with practicing physicians and other stakeholders to improve the hiring organization’s service or product (the key here is that as a one-time medical student, resident, or practicing physician who has practiced medicine your new value proposition is driven by the likelihood that you are the most qualified to improve the medical staff’s cooperation and collaboration with programs, policies, and procedures).

I hope you guys were able to follow along and work on your CV while reading this post. If you did, you’re that much closer to transitioning into the next role that best suits your experiences and goals.

Remember this is general advice for everyone, if you want to see what Kent would advise based on your own specific situation, you can email him at kent@physicianleadersfortoday.com. 

Kent can also be found on LinkedIn

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