Resumes That Give You the Edge

A resume or a curriculum vitae (CV) will serve as a vital and necessary tool in your career as an Optometrist/Ophthalmologist. I have seen thousands in my time as a Search Consultant of vision docs across the U.S., and I would like to share some tips on what to do when preparing yours.

  1. Know the difference : Resumes are a summary of your employment and educational background and experience. CV’s are meant to be very detailed, and should outline everything associated with your field of study including: education, research, publications, continuing education, employment, etc.
  2. When to use Resume versus CV : Resumes are more appropriate for gaining employment in clinical practice. When practices are hiring a new Associate, they want to quickly review a candidate’s background. An easy to read-at-a-glace resume is what you want to provide. A lengthy CV would not be appropriate in these situations. CV’s are used primarily in the areas such as academia and research.
  3. Resume content : Again, a resume is a summary. Keep it to two pages if possible, three at most. I advice all job applicants with lengthy resumes to cut back on the “fluff” such as hobbies, personal statements, family info, or other personal info not relevant to the job search.
    Note to new graduates: one page is fine. Don’t create content that doesn’t really help you just to get a second page. Highlight your achievements in academia.
  4. Don’t include personal data such as marital status, age, national origin, social security number, etc. This information can lead to possible discrimination or worse, identity theft. In the United States, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sets rules for what information employers are allowed to use when making a hiring decision. Learn more at
  5. Make your resume readable and proof your grammar and spelling . I don’t recommend using complicated resume formats or layouts. Often times these layouts hurt you rather than help set you apart. Most employers and recruiters use databases and software that will scrub for information, and if the format is not straight forward it may not get seen as you would hope. Follow this order:
    1. Name and contact info
    2. Education
    3. Work History
    4. CE
  6. Measurable achievement sets you apart. Share facts when possible. The questions I get from employers generally are: A) How well did he/she rank clinically in school? B) How much does this doctor produce monthly in his/her current role? C) How many eye exams does this doctor perform weekly/monthly? D) Does the doctor speak Spanish?

    Success and ability are measurable. Make a point to know and share what you bring to the table.

  7. Skip the fluff: As stated in point 6, measurable data is best. I will give you some insight into nearly every resume and interview I’ve seen or done: Every doctor is “great with patients and the staff”. They all say it. When I ask, what set’s you apart? They tell me their “patients want to follow them wherever they go.” If you’re a nice doctor, we’ll get that in the interview by meeting and speaking with you. The points that get you into an interview are the measurable ones.

The information I have shared above is very basic, but so often I see doctors overcomplicating what should be a very simple summary of their careers and education. You should know what employers are looking for when reviewing resumes. They are looking for work experience, education, and measurable achievement. Give them that information in order set you apart from other applicants.

 ETS Vision is a Vision Recruiting firm specializing in finding and placing Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, and Vision Staff throughout the United States.


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