How to make your curriculum vitae (CV) stand out from the rest

May 25, 2018
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It’s time for a new dental job. We know you’re a savvy job seeker, because you’re reading a Doccupations blog. But savvy or not, the first impression you will make on a potential employer will be based on your CV, so you have to find a way to make the words on the page jump out and shout, “I’m the right person for your practice! I’m Doccurrific!” We have some suggestions.


There are numerous formats for CVs. We appreciate simplicity and flow. Arrange dates on the left hand side, so they line up in a more orderly fashion and are easier to read at a glance. Entries should start with the most current and work backward, so your most recent accomplishments will appear first. If you have a graduate degree, don’t include any academic degrees prior to college. Most dentists are busy and impatient, so you don’t want your CV to exceed two typed pages.

To enthrall your prospective employer, you may want to explore a web-based CV. In addition to dazzling your boss-to-be, a web-based CV serves as an efficient self-promotional tool. You can include in it everything you would include in a written CV, but you also have the opportunity to enhance written communication with technology. You can include videos of professors or employers providing verbal recommendations. You can track how many of the introductory emails you send are opened. You can create a link to enable employers to contact you directly. You can connect employers to your social media accounts. (We recommend cleaning them up first!) There are many free web-based CV builders on-line to get you started, so take your pick.


The headings that outline your CV should be bold and should emphasize your most valuable features. Include only what is relevant. Some suggested headings are: Education, Employment History, Professional Licenses and Certification, Honors/Awards, Research, Publications, Post-graduate Training and Continuing Education, Community Service, Extra-curricular Activities, Hobbies/Interests, Languages Spoken and References. Don’t forget to ask the people providing you with references if they mind doing so! Once they agree, make sure to include their contact info.


It’s important to educate your interviewer about yourself as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you haven’t joined the workforce until now, create a bulleted list of ten to fifteen curriculum highlights from your dental school and residency program or, if you’re an assistant or hygienist, any other educational programs you’ve completed. These highlights should illustrate the ways in which you think you can contribute to the practice, and should enlighten the interviewer about your self-motivation and dedication to self-improvement.


We believe that attaching photos to your CV will help you stand out from the crowd, because few people take the trouble to do so, but you know what they say: a picture’s worth a thousand words!

In the case of a web-based CV, you can include drop-down tabs with photo galleries of before and after photos of completed cases, including endodontic procedures, periodontal therapy, implants, prosthodontic cases, orthodontic cases, esthetic cases, etc. Hygienists can highlight their periodontal therapy with before and after photos. Assistants and front desk staff can provide before and after photos of organizational systems that have been implemented.

We know that you’re talented, well educated, and the best person for the job. Now all you have to do is create a CV that clearly indicates that to your prospective employer. Have fun,express yourself, and good luck!


We’ll get you connected.