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- By definition, a resume is typically a 1-page document that summarizes your credentials: education, work history, accomplishments, and skills just to name a few.
- By contrast, a CV (or curriculum vitae) contains the same information, but is a chronicle of your entire experience, and may be several pages in length.
For our purposes, we’ll use the general term “resume” and will consider it to be 1 to 2 pages.
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- Contact Information: name, residential address, phone number, email address, website
- Education: schools attended, location, graduation year, degree obtained, concentration(s), (GPA if you do not have much work history)
- Work Experience: employer name, location, dates worked, title and description of duties
But wait, there’s more!
- Clinical experience: clinic name, location, dates, care provided (this section can be very important depending on the potential employer). Highlight specialty services that set you apart, such as Low Vision, Binocular Vision, Pediatrics, etc.! Externships and Residencies are more likely to carry weight than your early days of primary care, so pay homage where it is due when describing your clinical competencies.
- Leadership / Organizations / Positions Held: Optometric societies, clubs or groups, and leadership positions that demonstrate your initiative and relevant experience.
- Honors / Awards: What have you achieved that has been publicly recognized? This includes scholarships, grants, certificates, and other special honors.
- Personal Goals / Objectives: Many people include a summary of their career goals or the objective of the specific job application. This can include immediate or future goals.
- Key Skills
- Language: Language knowledge, and to what degree (fluent / business / clinical).
- Computer: EMR platforms, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, specialty clinical software…
- Presentations/Projects: Clinical endeavors that helped educate others. Show that you’re a subject matter expert!
- Equipment: Does your experience with ophthalmic equipment gives you a leg up? Can you run and evaluate an OCT, HVF, topographer, and more? If so, what brands/models? Don’t list basic equipment like phoropters and slit-lamps.
- Certifications: What are your professional qualifications? Aside from your O.D. license, do you have certifications in language/CPR/business/etc?
Easy on the eyes
- Your contact information should be at the top of the first page.
- Contact Information is typically followed by Education and Work Experience.
- Subsequent sections should be added by order of importance, in a logical fashion.
- Use font size, bold, italics, underline, CAPS and spacing to draw the reader’s attention.
- Maintain the same format throughout the page; don’t alter it between sections unless necessary.
- Keep information within sections in chronological order, starting with the most recent at the top.
- Spend time on features such as lines, shading, and other visuals that give a pop of style.
- Watch your margins – although you may need more room to include everything, does your 0.3” margin create a visually displeasing word cluster that could deter the reader? When printed, does anything get cut off due to tiny margins?
- Keep sections on the same page. Never have a sentence start on one page and finish on the next.
- When printed, try to make the resume double-sided. When electronic, attach the resume as a PDF unless noted otherwise.
- Watch your diction.
- Use strong action verbs and avoid redundancy in your word choice.
- Maintain the same tenses (past or present) when describing the same experience, and don’t mix-and-match. For example, when describing your VA rotation, you cannot say “Provide care for the geriatric Native-American population. Treated disorders such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.” Either it happened in the past, or it is still happening; not both.
- Avoid mixed verb forms when listing activities. All activities in the same sentence have to agree on form. For example, it is proper to say “I served as a student clinician evaluating, diagnosing, and treating ocular disorders.” You cannot say “I served as a student clinician evaluating, diagnosing, and treated ocular disorders.”
If you’re currently looking for your first optometry position after graduation, click here to book a time with one of our recruiters to discuss your job search and goals.
Your target audience
Finally, a resume may not be for a job at all. If you need a resume for a residency or even your FAAO, again, think about what is important to the reader.
The final word
- “Keeping an Eye on Recruiter Behavior: New Study Clarifies Recruiter Decision-Making.” The Ladders. Electronic.