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Resume Tips: Where are the Dates Listed?

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Perhaps the most nerve-racking part of looking for a job, other than the job interview itself, is writing your resume. Did I get this section right? Am I phrasing this line correctly? Should this go here?

Writing resumes is an arduously inexact science, mainly because the way in which your resume is received is often dependent on the unknown preferences of the potential employer.

Nevertheless, there are some pretty standard principles behind writing resumes that should be applied in most, if not all, cases. We found these “5 Quick Fixes for Physician CVs” over on the American College of Radiology website and will break them down over the next few blog posts. (The article was originally printed on thedoctorjob.com/careercorner.)

First, dates shouldn’t be the first thing that an employer sees. In other words, they shouldn’t be your resume’s focal point.

According to the article, “A layout that puts dates before or on top of titles and degrees is not only visually unappealing, but it forces the reader to dig for the most pertinent information.”

Under Education, Postgraduate Training, and Work Experience, you should list the following items in this order:

1. Position or Degree

2. Name of Organization

3. Location of Organization

4. The Dates of Your Tenure

Notice that dates are listed last. As the article states, “Of these four, the position and name of the organization are the most important.”

Here are the two examples given:

Example A:

1999-2003, St. Francis Hospital, Queens, NY, Internal Medicine Resident

Example B:

Internal Medicine Resident, 1993–2003

St. Francis Hospital, Queens, NY

Notice how the position is bolded. This is the information you want to “stand out even more.” You might also want to bold your degree.

Why?

It’s a factor that needs to be taken into account by anyone applying for a job: the person hiring you is busy.

We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s vital that you consider the employer’s time and schedule in all of this. They don’t have much time to thoroughly examine every resume that comes across their desk.

Remember: The quest for good physician jobs is more competitive than ever. You’re not the only one applying for a particular job. You could be one of 10 or 20 or 50. You simply don’t know.

Finally, the article mentions the placement of dates underneath such categories as Memberships, Honors/Awards, and Volunteer Activities.

Instead of looking like this…

1993–2005, Member, American Medical Association

1994–2005, Member, American Academy of Pediatrics

1992–2003, Member, Wisconsin Medical Association

…these sections should follow the same rule as above and look like this:

American Medical Association, 1993–2005

American Academy of Pediatrics, 1994–2005

Wisconsin Medical Association, 1992–2003

Notice how the names of each organization are bolded.

“As a general rule, the most substantive information should be the most prominent.”

Tomorrow, we’ll ask the question, “How clear is your timeline?”

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