Section-by-Section Doctor Resume Guide + Examples

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Medical doctors, commonly known as physicians, are amongst the highest paid professionals in the world. But, unless you’re going into private practice, you’re going to find the competition for jobs is stiff. 

If you’re applying for a job, you’re going to need a strong, hearty resume that shows your training, commitment, medical talents, and people skills. 

We are going to help you write one that will attract the attention of recruiters and help you get that all-important interview for the job you are gunning for.

Resume objective for a doctor

Traditionally, all resumes start with contact information followed by a short objective. 

A doctor or physician will have just a couple of sentences to project a proactive image and good career objective that will prompt employers or recruiters acting for them to take a good look at your resume. The idea is to get an interview where you can sell yourself in person. 

While there is a strong argument against old-fashioned objectives, there is an equally strong argument in favor of career statements. 

Monster, one of the top recruiting companies, advises that in an industry where the job market is getting increasingly competitive, an objective of some sort (whatever you call it) can make the difference between being noticed and simply being ignored.

We know that it’s a fact that busy hiring managers and recruiters scan through hundreds of resumes for every job that is advertised. So you’re going to have to say something that screams out Choose Me! 

One way to do this is to use action verbs when you describe your skills and abilities. Another is to note the possible keywords an employer has used in the job description and to use them. Real people and applicant tracking systems (ATSs) will usually recognize them.

Sample Objective

Knowledgeable and dedicated, certified MD with 15 years of experience, ready to launch a new career in cardiology. 

Resume skills for a doctor

We sampled dozens of job postings to see which skills employers generally single out for those applying for jobs as medical doctors. Funnily enough, not many employers specify skills, probably because they are all so much a part of the lengthy medical training doctors go through before they qualify.

When we think about doctors, we generally think of the important qualities they have, most of which are soft skills. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists communication, compassion, leadership, organizational skills, patience, problem-solving, and being detail-oriented, as well as dexterity (especially for surgeons) and physical stamina. 

The Windsor University School of Medicine singles out five top skills which physicians need in addition to clinical experience, a stellar academic record, strong letters of recommendation, and an impressive medical school application or resume.

Communication skills, which can’t really be taught, come top of their list. It is, as they say, a core competency for any healthcare professionals. 

Time management is also important as are collaboration skills. Medical doctors work with nurses, admin staff, technicians, and other professionals. Both of these are skills that you can actively develop.

Empathy is another important skill they list, which, together with compassion, will gain the trust and appreciation of patients. 

Technical skills are taught, and they range from computer skills to suturing lacerations, venipuncture, arterial puncture, foley catheter placement, and the insertion and removal of IUDs. 

Sample Skills

Communication | Compassion | Empathy | Objectivity | Adaptability | Flexibility | Collaboration | Time management | Technical medical skills

Doctor work experience

While most professions offer doctorates, we are talking about doctors of medicine, or physicians, who are referred to as either an MD (medical doctor) or a DO (doctor of osteopathic medicine). 

If you are an MD, you will be qualified to diagnose patients and prescribe medical treatment that is distinct from surgery.

If you are a DO, you focus on the spine, joints, and muscles, and use drug-free, non-invasive manual therapy aimed at manipulating and strengthening the musculoskeletal framework of the body. 

However, a DO is trained to prescribe medications, and most work as general practitioners. Some choose to become surgeons. 

Your work experience will show exactly which medical path you have chosen to follow. 

If you are just starting out and haven’t got much, if any, work experience to show for yourself you can include any compulsory practical experience you had while you were studying. 

Alternatively, you might be able to include volunteer work you did while in college, without requiring a medical license. 

Whatever work experience you do include in your resume, make sure you include snippets of information (bullet points work well) that highlight achievements and experience that is valid for the job you are applying for. 

Sample Work Experience

Acestack LLC, WA

Physician, 2019 – 2020

Worked in this busy family practice that involved treating and prescribing medication to patients as well as performing minor surgeries. 

  • Collected, recorded, and maintained sensitive patient information including examination results, medical histories, and a variety of medical reports. 
  • Liaised with medical professionals in the local community and in Forks hospitals for networking purposes and to keep up-to-date with medical developments, medications, and treatment.  
  • Promoted health education in conjunction with a team of health professionals from other practices. 
  • Met ongoing targets set by the government for specified treatments including child immunization. 

Placer County, CA

Physician, 2017 – 2019

Worked in the County’s Communicable Disease programs in support of its California Children’s Services (CCS) which treats children with special healthcare needs. 

  • Treated for more than 1,000 children with chronic musculo-skeletal and neuromotor conditions. 
  • Provided detailed guidelines for treatment, prophylaxis, and infection control.
  • Worked closely with the CCS staff as well as community organizations and Federal and State agencies. 
  • Instituted several child health initiatives to promote and improve the quality of care provided by CCS.

The IMA Group

Physician, 2018 – 2019

Worked as part of a growing healthcare clinical team performing consultative evaluations for many government agencies that related to claims from patients. 

  • Reviewed all available documentation relating to claims, including claimants’ medical history. 
  • Performed physical examinations and reviewed ancillary testing reports. These included electrocardiographs (EKG) to check heart conditions; pulmonary function testing (PKT) that evaluates respiratory systems to determine the severity of impairments; and Doppler ultrasound test to estimate blood flow through the blood vessels. 
  • Produced detailed reports for all claimants. 
  • Reported extreme situations including various types of abuse and suicidal or homicidal tendencies. 

Doctors’ education

According to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)’s David Geffen School of Medicine, the first thing medical students need to decide is whether they are going to become an MD or a DO (see above). 

Most medical schools, including the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, offer the traditional MD education. But there are at least 33 accredited colleges of osteopathic medicine in the U.S. 

While their training is similar, osteopathic schools of medicine focus more on alternative therapies, disease prevention, and holistic medicine. 

The education and training both DO and MD students undertake is very demanding and it can take up to 15 years to qualify and specialize. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook states that there are some medical schools that offer combined undergraduate and medical school programs that last between six and eight years. 

Then there are internship or residency programs during which medical students work under the supervision of experienced physicians in clinics and hospitals. 

Otherwise, the educational path starts with a four-year bachelor’s degree followed by a four-year degree from medical school … and then another three to seven years in internship and residency programs. 

Sample Education

David Geffen School of Medicine

MD/PhD, 2012 – 2019

  • 2 years at med school; 4 years of PhD graduate training; 2 years back at med school

California State University 

Bachelor of Science, 2008 – 2011

  • Biology major 
  • GPA: 3.5

Courses 

There are many opportunities for medical students to enrich their medical school experience, including summer programs and short courses. 

But once you have qualified, continuing education (CE) or continuing medical education (CME) courses are much more important. 

The American Medical Association (AMA) is dedicated to providing the profession with lifelong learning opportunities to ensure better health outcomes for patients. 

In fact, the AMA has a portfolio of more than 2,000 online CME activities available to medical professionals who belong to the association. These range from a Health Systems Science Learning Series to the AMA Code of Ethics. 

Trending topics include electronic health records (EHR), physician burnout, diabetes care, and breast cancer prevention and treatment. 

Don’t add courses simply because you have done them. Only include courses that relate to areas of expertise or specialty, or courses that are relevant to the job you are applying for. 

Sample Courses

  • Community and Preventive Medicine
  • Managing Common Summer Health Hazards & Conditions
  • Opioid and Pain Management
  • Lifestyle Medicine

Certifications

Both MD and DO physicians must be licensed by the state where they are going to practice, and their licenses have the same basic requirements. But, of course, they can only apply for a state license after their residency. 

Board certification is optional but required by many employers. 

In terms of the standardized national licensure exams, MDs must take and pass the U.S. Medical Licensing examination, while DOs take the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensing Examination. 

To become board-certified, candidates have to pass a specialty certification exam after completing a residency program.  

The American Board of Medical Specialists (ABMS) has been offering physicians the opportunity to become certified for more than a century. 

Certification indicates specialty-specific training beyond medical licensure and is a voluntary process that requires training at accredited programs after graduation as an MD. 

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) has a certification offering that is designed to distinguish DOs from MDs. And there is now an opportunity for DOs who are certified by the ABMS to receive reciprocal certification from the AOA certifying board services. 

The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) offers physician board certification to both MDs and DOs. 

Additionally, employers sometimes ask for doctors to have American Red Cross Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification, American Heart Association Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification.

Sample Certifications

  • ABMS
  • AOA
  • ABPS
  • BLS
  • ACLS

Complete doctor resume sample

We have chosen the advert below to show you how to craft a resume for a specific job. It’s highly unlikely to be the job you are applying for, but the principal will be exactly the same.

You will see that this is an advert for a physician who specializes in family medicine. The employer is a medical group that has a team of eight physicians and other staff members who work in an outpatient setting. 

They draw attention to the fact that they are not dealing with search firms or recruiters. So, when you write the resume, it is aimed directly at hiring managers within the company. 

They don’t specify any skills, specific qualifications, education, or certifications. It’s going to be up to you to do a bit of research about the company and present yourself as the best possible candidate for the job. 

Medical Doctor

Objective

Passionate MD with five years of training as a family medicine practitioner. Proven leadership and medical skills. 

Skills

Leadership | Primary health care | Compassionate | Empathetic | excellent written and verbal communication | Technical medical and surgical skills

Work Experience

Unity Health Care, WA DC

Family Practice Physician, 2018 – 2020

Worked in a position of authority with the firm utilizing professional judgment and ingenuity. Was responsible for diagnosing and treating diseases, as well as the continued comprehensive health care of UHC patients. 

  • Conducted physical examinations daily, and diagnosed illnesses. Performed emergency treatment when necessary. 
  • Prescribed the full range of therapeutic measures  to best meet the needs of patients including counseling, medication, nutritional needs, and nursing needs if required. 
  • Encouraged personal health maintenance using the preventive aspects of medicine via health counseling. 
  • Referred patients to hospitals for admission and follow-up when needed. 
  • Accepted referrals from other professionals in the UHC medical team. 
  • Regularly conducted peer review and quality improvement activities that earned a salary increase after six months. 

The GW Medical Faculty Associates, WA DC

Family Medicine Physician, 2016 – 2018

Worked in a well-established, patient-centered environment providing both primary care and urgent care to adults, children, and the aged using innovative technology.  

  • Ensured that patients were properly diagnosed and managed.
  • Prescribed and administered medications. 
  • Worked on-site with two phlebotomists and had access to x-ray facilities. 
  • Provided appropriate health education and counseling. 
  • Worked with about 30 trainees over the period, acting as a part-time mentor. Also instructed numerous medical students appropriate to their skill levels. 

Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Medical Intern, 2012

Undertook a nine-week summer internship in the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s emergency department operating as a volunteer. 

  • Shadowed a board-certified emergency medicine physician observing and assisting. 
  • Examined patients under his supervision, and prescribed medication.
  • Stitched more than 30 wounds.
  • Conducted clinical research relating to COVID-19 issues affecting emergency patients. 

Certifications

  • Licensed to practice in Washington DC
  • Current ABMS certification

Education

George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences

MD, 1996 – 2015

George Washington University 

Bachelor of Science, 2000 – 2009

Courses 

  • Clinical Challenges 
  • Value-Based Patient-Centered Care
  • Women’s Health

Key Takeaways

You spent many years studying to get where you are now and you deserve to get the best possible job that matches your qualification and work experience.  

  • Unless the job description calls for a CV, which is longer and more detailed than a resume, submit a resume with a cover letter that literally covers all the bases. At this stage, what you want is to draw attention to yourself so that you are invited to that all-important interview. 
  • Medical doctors have a plethora of invaluable skills, some learned and others instinctive – which is why a good physician is so good at what he or she does. If the job description calls for specific skills, try to match those that you have with those that they want. If not, choose the skills that you think will be most useful in the job as it is described. 
  • When you list your education, don’t go into all the things you have done, but do highlight your best achievements.  

Tips from Experts

“It goes without saying if you work in health care—especially as a physician who is the team-leader and makes the final decision—you have to display great confidence if your patients are to have faith in you, balanced with humility and empathy. In fact, no matter what field you are in, this combination will take you far.” – Suneel Dhand, Internal Medicine Physician

“I am an academic pathologist on the Clinician-Educator tenure track, so my CV is formatted according to that pathway. However, the general concepts apply to any professional, and I always include Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube in my resumes.“ – Jerad Michael Gardner, MD

“A curriculum vitae (CV) is used by professionals in the fields of academia, medicine, teaching and research as an overview of accomplishments that are relevant to the academic realm. Accordingly, it should be updated frequently to reflect the development of your career. A CV rarely lists an objective or has a long narrative profile. If you would like to explain why you are an ideal candidate for this position, include this as part of your cover letter.” – American Medical Association 

Conclusion

You might not have to prove yourself once you get the job, but you’re going to have to draw attention to yourself to get the job. Your resume is the best tool you have to do this. 

Use the tips we have provided in this article, but tailor them specifically to your needs.

Methodology

In addition to our own expertise as professional resume consultants, for every resume guide we write, we curate dozens of recent job postings and resumes to make sure all our recommendations align with current trends for each specific industry and career path. Learn more about our methodology here. 

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