ThePhysicianCareerNetwork |ARTICLE
Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians.

  A Physician's Resume Agony, Part Two,
by William S. Frank

Resume Writing "It showed not only that I was prepared, but also that there was more about me than the resume was designed to show. It stimulated interest and gave us something other than the resume to talk about. That was a very important part of it.

"The resume truly was a struggle, given the criteria set forth: if you can get it on two pages do it—and if you absolutely can't, then put it on three pages. Again, I suppose it's a bit of ego, it's a bit of arrogance to want to list everything you've ever done in your entire life on this particular document.

"The other thing is the basic mindset. You want to communicate everything possible about yourself, particularly to a reader who might think that quality and quantity are synonymous. You can lose sight of the objective that you have to keep it quick and short and concise, and your resume is really nothing more than a tool to get you in the door. If it's eight pages long and nobody reads the first page, your chances of getting in the door are simply nonexistent.

"But it's difficult to come to some happy medium with regard to the resume—the length, the contents, the wording. This is the document you're relying on to reach your objective. I mean it truly is. It is your primary sales tool. I wanted mine to be absolutely perfect. I wanted it to say everything and do everything that was possible for it to say and do—be perfectly typed, be perfectly punctuated.

"I think I went through 10 or 15 edits of the material, because this was the document that was really going to help me reach my objective. To say that I agonized over that is a bit of an understatement.

"You stood back and let me struggle with it. You were perceptive enough to know that I needed an awful lot of time and an awful lot of room to work on my own. That's how I work best. I needed to be given a basic objective, a basic idea of what needed to be done and then just be told to work and do it.

"I felt very good that you stayed out. You gave me advice and help when I needed it, but only when I'd ask and that's exactly what I wanted. I also knew—I guess I didn't know at the time—but I know now that I did indeed need to agonize over that resume. That was the paper that was going to represent me. Had you pushed in one way or another or not given me the time to make it right, then I wouldn't have been comfortable with the document. And I needed to be comfortable with the resume in order to promote it and myself in an interview situation."

There's no overnight resume
Many resume books imply that the resume writing process should be quick, easy, or "overnight." These claims sell books, but they're seriously misleading. As in all of life, there's no free lunch, there's no quick fix. Resume writing, if done well, is often a struggle. Writing of any kind is a struggle. It's a well-known fact that many famous writers hate it. Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, said, "I hate writing, but I love having written."

Don't be afraid of struggling. Don't be upset if you can't get your resume done overnight. Stay with the process. Don't run away from it. In the end, you'll be greatly rewarded. When your resume is complete, ask if you feel better about yourself. If you don't, you haven't done the exercise right.

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