Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians.
Yes, You Need a Terrific Resume, by William S. Frank
I once disliked resumes. Everyone had one, and I wanted to be different. Now I see that you can be different simply by having a top-notch resume. Most resumes are boring look-alikes. They don't attract attention. They often appear as though they've been thrown togetherperhaps because many of them have.
Sine qua non means "an indispensable thing, an absolute prerequisite." The resume is the sine qua non of the job search. It's essential, like a black tie or formal dress at a dinner dance. You look foolish and out-of-place without one.
This doesn't mean you can never get a good job without a resume. In fact, I sometimes recommend trying it. It does mean, though, that if you don't use a high-impact resume, you could stall your job search.
What are you going to do, for instance, if a recruiter calls you at the office? Are you going to spend an hour in the middle of a hectic clinical day sorting through your work history? Wouldn't it be easier to drop a resume in the mail and then follow up with a phone call? You bet!
The truth is that you need an excellent resume, because resumes are the language of employment. Every want ad, every friend, and every interviewer asks for one. And most of your competitors have superb resumes. In reality, if you want good high-paying job, you can't get by without a professional, power-packed resume.
You're not alone
The overnight resume is a myth. You've been achievement-oriented all your life and solved a lot of problems, so it will be difficult to remember all your home runs quickly, especially the older ones. Expect to spend a week or two to create the high-powered document you want and need.
After struggling to draft his accomplishments, one physician summed up the process nicely when he said, "I thought this would be easy . . . I was wrong."
Don't rush to market
Even perfect resumes can be improved
The job candidates I meet face-to-face are normally 75% more marketable than their resumes reveal! And that's a problem, because your resume should be just as good as you are, or else it's underselling you. It's hard to get a $300,000 job with a $100,000 resume, and that's true for all salary levels.
You've probably seen ads that make you mad. Poorly-written resumes do that too. They make employers want to avoid you. Let's make sure your resume isn't a turn-off. Let's make it a winner. Even if it's "perfect," you can improve it. There's always a way to reword, to plan and organize better, to include more detail, to make better use of space, or to showcase your accomplishments. There's no such thing as "The Perfect Resume." No matter how good your resume looks today, it can always be tuned up.
Sell your results and accomplishments
What's right? Obviously, there's no right way to prepare a resume. In fact, I've seen candidates land high-paying jobs with terrible resumes. But there is one way to write a resume that always produces interviews and job offers: load it with results and accomplishments.
Resumes must sell
But resume styles change. The old autobiographical summary is out; the new results and accomplishments-oriented style is in. Today, with fierce competition in the job market, the average resume gets only 3-10 seconds on the way to the trash can. So yours must be good.
The best resumes are results-oriented because accomplishments show that you're a take-charge person who gets things done. That's what employers want. They don't especially care what your duties and responsibilities were. They care about your results: your "triples" and "homeruns."
Readers can tell a lot about you by your resume: far more than you ever imagined. Are you neat, tidy, organized? Are you educated? Are you motivated? Are you just a joiner or are you a leader? Are you a power player or merely a C student? Do you write well? Can you think? Can you reduce complexity to simplicity? Do you know what you've accomplished? Can you sell yourself and your ideas?
Your resume is a word picture of you. It mirrors you and represents you. In a sense, the resume is you. If it's sloppy, readers assume you're sloppy. If it's disorganized, you appear disorganized. The reverse is also true. If the document looks well-organized, readers assume you're well-organized. That's the importance of getting it right.
Your resume is often your first interview. It competes against hundreds of other resumes, and represents you when you're not around to speak for yourself; so it must be flawless. If it doesn't compete well in tough initial screenings, you may never get interviews. I've seen hundreds of stalled and discouraged job hunters, and most of the time they're marketing themselves with weak resumes that couldn't possibly work.
Turn on the green light
Resumes allow you to emphasize pieces of your past and to highlight your strengths. But don't equate that with lying. It's not lying; it's telling them what you want them to know, and disregarding the rest: the same thing commercial advertisers do.
Some career changers have a fatal compulsion to "tell it like it is," or to "tell the whole truth," no matter how negative. Telling all may be honest, but it's not good salesmanship or good business. It's naďve to think that listeners can overlook negatives once they've come out.
Most of us hold on to personal secrets in everyday conversation. We don't flaunt our weaknesses. Why should we reveal them in resumes, when our careers are on the line?
Ford doesn't begin its commercials with, "Remember the Pinto? It blew up and burst into flames. Now we have another car we'd like to sell you." You shouldn't air your troubles or weaknesses, either.
In my opinion, you have an obligation to present yourself in the best possible light. Don't lie, but do make yourself look as good as you possibly can.
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