Lifetime Career Management-sm
Showcase Your "Home Run" Accomplishments, by William S. Frank
This is the most popular article on www.physiciancareernetwork.com for good reason. It's one of the most important and useful learning tools I've written.
Before writing this article, I spent at least three hours with each individual client explaining these principles. With these directions, it's faster and simpler. I know you'll enjoy the self-discovery process and create the best, high-impact resume you've ever had. Written records of your work results, achievements, successes, and accomplishments are the heart of your marketing campaign. They explain the essence of your "track record." Sooner or later, you'll be asked about your clinical triples and your home runsor else your business field goals and touchdowns. So writing them down on paper prepares you in advance.
Reasons to Document Your Work Performance
You will use your written accomplishments in at least three places:
the resume, marketing letters and face-to-face meetings.
At the start of this exercise, many physicianseven senior doctors with years of practice, teaching, or management experiencesay
something like, "I didn't really accomplish anything, I just was a good doctor."
Most doctors don't think about their work the way most business people do. . Physicians see what they do as an ongoing process, not a serial set of projects, so it's natural to feel that way.
Yes, you did your job, but you did a lot more besides. You were accomplishing things even when
you didn't know it. You may have hundreds of accomplishments.
Some may not be in medicine. It's just a matter of digging for them those accomplishments with the
right frame of mind.
Many times we take ourselves for granted. But we shouldn't, because what we can do easily might sound downright impossible to the average reader.
"We look back on our life as a thing of broken pieces,
because our mistakes and failures are always the first to strike us,
and outweigh in our imagination what we have accomplished and attained."
Duties and Responsibilities Versus Accomplishments
Your duties and responsibilities refer to the general scope of your job, such as "hemodialysis" or "neurosurgery" or "practice management." Accomplishment statements give specific examples of tasks you finished and the good, useful things that resulted. The following chart shows the difference:
Placing an internal jugular catheter for cardiodynamic monitoring isn't an accomplishment. It's a skill. But doing that 1750 times without a complication is an achievement.
Being an excellent manager isn't an accomplishment. It's a core competency. But establishing a new internal medicine practice in a crowded healthcare market that is "down" 19% and building it to annual revenues of $375,000 in three years is.
Maintaining productivity is not necessarily an accomplishment, but maintaining productivity under adverse circumstances, say, keeping volume and outcomes unchanged despite using a leased truck-mounted temporary facility in the parking lot while the cardiac catheterization laboratory is rebuilt after a fire, is. See how this works?
Where to Find Your Successes
To find your accomplishments ask yourself if you have:
If you can't remember your successes, then think of problems you've solved. Take a sheet of paper
and divide it vertically into three columns, and title with the following:
Don't be afraid to take credit for what you've done, especially in the early stages of this project. Most of us undersell ourselves. We tend to claim too little for ourselves, not too much.
Job-hunters and career changers hesitate to take credit for an entire project, especially when they managed the project or had others help. Don't worry about that. If you write "Increased daily procedure volume by 41% by selecting and installing open MRI in new offsite outpatient imaging center," the reader will assume you had help with the project and didn't do it alone. So don't be shy. Speak up!
Whenever possible, try to show how what you did contributed to hospital, organization, or practice profit. This shows that you were thinking about the bottom line, and sometimes that's more important than what you actually achieved. Patient care is critical, but without profits, it isn't sustainable.
However, not everyone saves the organization $3 million per year or improves productivity by 182%. Some docs really do "just do their jobs." Still, you can find accomplishments that "sound impressive," and for the purposes of this exercise, that's what counts. So look for things that sound difficult to do, even if they weren't that hard for you.
A physician client said to me, "I just did my joband I must have done something right, because I never got sued in twenty years." I said, "That sounds like a big accomplishment to me."
Dig Deep Into the Past
Core Competencies for Physicians
Core Competencies for Physicians
|Seven Helpful Hints|
|1.||Use before-and-after comparisons. For example: "Before I introduced learning portfolios to document Physician Assistant students' progress, grading on performance was subjective and difficult to justify. After the portfolios were put in place, each student's entire course work and experience were recorded." Such before/after statements are easily turned into written accomplishments, like this: "Introduced learning portfolios to document Physician Assistant students' progress, making grading uniform, understandable and justifiable."|
|2.||Add numbers, data, details, facts and percentages.|
|3.||Condense long sentences into short ones.|
|4.||Be relevant. If you redecorated your office, that's irrelevant (unless you want to be an interior designer). If you redecorated your office for $10,000 less than last year time, that's significant, especially if you can explain how that also improved patients' response to you and your practice.|
|5.||Avoid glowing generalities, statements that fall into the category of "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." If not supported by facts, figures, numbers, and details, they aren't believable.|
Be realistic. An achievement statement should sound difficult, but not impossible. If it sounds
"too good to be true" and you take credit for it, it may damage your credibility.
Also, there's a thin line between sounding good and bragging. Sounding good is fine but bragging isn't. One client told me he had sold his duck logo (a piece of artwork on a business card) for $3,500. I could tell the art was inexpensive "clip art," so I disbelieved him and never again fully trusted what he said.
This may seem to contradict the advice just given, but it doesn't.
I've seen too many resumes full of bulleted-accomplishments that
lack impact because they lack "struggle." They sound too easy.
The example below isn't medical, but it makes the point very clearly.
"Reduced operating costs 4%," is finebut sounds as if it could've been achieved with one phone call to a vendor. Therefore, it sounds weakor if not weak, it doesn't sound nearly as strong as it could if "struggle" were added.
Whenever possible, add the agony of the process. Show
the dragons you slayed, describe the 14,000-foot mountains you climbed without oxygen,
and mention the bushels of broken glass you tiptoed across to complete your task.
Don't exaggerate, but don't minimize, either.
Let's reword the above accomplishment, adding struggle:
After you've drafted your "triples" and "home runs," read them from the viewpoint of struggle. If they sound too easylike you could've completed them on your cell phone by the poolgo back to the drawing board. You're not finished yet. Next.
James Lane Allen
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