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CV Pearls for New Practitioners: The Do’s and Don’ts

Broadcast Date: August 18, 2020


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Join members of the ASHP New Practitioners Forum Career Development Advisory Group as they share ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for updating and managing your CV as a student, resident, or new practitioner. Speakers will review the preparation process for developing CV content throughout your career and highlight ASHP CV resources available to you as an ASHP member.

**This episode was recorded April 2020**


Shelby ShemanskiShelby Shemanski is a Critical Care Pharmacist in a Medical-Surgical-Trauma (but now currently COVID-19) ICU in Kansas City, MO. Shelby graduated from Creighton University and completed a PGY1 and PGY2 in CC where I currently practice. While this is her last year on the ASHP New Practitioners Forum, she looks forward to continued involvement with ASHP.

Austin GreenAustin Green is a PGY-1 Ambulatory Care/HIV resident at the University of California Davis Health. Prior to pharmacy school, Austin earned a Bachelor of Combined Science from Texas Christian University. Austin obtained my PharmD from the University of Texas at Austin while simultaneously obtaining his MPH from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Austin has been involved with ASHP since his first year of pharmacy school, and has served on ASHP advisory groups for the past three years.

Chrissy TabulovChrissy Tabulov is a PGY1 resident at Lee Health in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, FL. Chrissy is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University (BS Biology) and the University of Florida (Doctor of Pharmacy). Her interests include neonatology, pediatrics, career development, and education. She is a current member of the New Practitioners Forum Career Development Advisory Group. She is also involved with the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and Pediatric Pharmacy Association. Upon completion of her PGY1 residency, she will be pursuing a PGY2 Pediatric Residency at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC.

Jenna FancherJenna Fancher is an Ambulatory Care Pharmacist embedded in a rheumatology clinic at SUNY Upstate University Hospital. Prior to earning her PharmD, she completed a Bachelor's degree in Biology at Keystone College and a Master's degree in Clinical Chemistry at The University of Scranton. She then went on to earn her PharmD at Jefferson College of Pharmacy. After pharmacy school, she completed my PGY-1 (Pharmacy Practice) and PGY-2 (Ambulatory Care) at SUNY Upstate University Hospital. She has been an active member of ASHP since she was a first year pharmacy student and is proud to call ASHP my "professional home"


ASHP Resources highlighted in the podcast:

The information presented during the podcast reflects solely the opinions of the presenter. The information and materials are not, and are not intended as, a comprehensive source of drug information on this topic. The contents of the podcast have not been reviewed by ASHP, and should neither be interpreted as the official policies of ASHP, nor an endorsement of any product(s), nor should they be considered as a substitute for the professional judgment of the pharmacist or physician.

Speaker 1: Welcome to the ASHPOfficial Podcast, your guide to issues related to medication use, public health, and the profession of pharmacy.

Shelby Shemanski: Thank you for joining us for ASHP practice journeys podcast. This podcast invites members to share their stories about their professional path lessons learned and how their experiences shaped who and where they are today. My name is Shelby Szymanski. I currently work at the medical surgical trauma, which is now currently the COVID ICU at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. With me today are Austin Green, soon to be PGY1 resident at UC Davis Health, Chrissy Tabulov PGY1 resident at Lee Health in Fort Myers and Cape Coral, Florida, and Jenna Harris, a rheumatology and Am care specialty pharmacist at Upstate University Hospital in New York. We're all members of the Career Development Advisory Group within the ASHP New Practitioners Forum. Our charge for this year was to review the ASHP CV toolkit and provide enhancements to these toolkit resources. So for those of you who are unfamiliar with these resources, you can find the CV toolkit on the ASHP website. Throughout this podcast, there will be providing additional information to supplement its content.

Shelby Shemanski: So some objectives before we get started today. We're going to review the preparation process for developing CV content throughout your career, and discuss important formatting tips and mistakes to avoid when preparing your CV. Our format today will be in a do-and-don't style. And the purpose is to build and maintain your CV. How to do that in particular for new practitioners within a few years of graduation or residency. So we just want to make a few disclaimers before we get started as well. The first is that there's more than one right way to do things. You can find all kinds of examples on the internet and other resources that are available, and it is okay to adapt your CV to do what best fits you. That being said, your CV is ultimately yours and any feedback you're giving, you don't always have to accept.

Shelby Shemanski: However, be sure to show your appreciation for those who do take the time to review your CV. I cannot stress the next point enough. Please do not plagiarize. It's very easy to steal cover letters and other content from internet examples. Don't do it, even something as minor as a rotation description should be original. If you need help coming up with some content, it's always good to seek out advice from mentors. And lastly, I'll talk about a couple of available resources. I already mentioned one of them on the ASHP website, which is under the ASHP CV development page. That's the CV Transition Toolkit on here that was developed by last year's work group. In the toolkit, there's examples tailored to several different stages of your career, as well as other helpful tips and resource links. The other thing that's important to be aware of is the CV review program. This is done twice a year with priority given to reviewing CVs of graduating students and residents, but if you find yourself a few years out, this is a great chance to get involved by volunteering too.

Austin Green: So now I just wanted to go through some basic information regarding the CV. So the bare bones core sections to include in your CV are: education, professional experience and work presentations, publications, projects, and leadership. Now for a few do's-and-don'ts about general considerations regarding your CV. make sure that you do use past tense for your descriptions. And use action verbs. Action verbs are brief, specific, and they clearly define your contribution. And it adds a more confident tone here. Some examples of these action words are: achieved, established, spear-headed, supervised, developed, and implemented. These all add competent tones to your CV. make sure that your CV lists duties included that way. You have all of the duties that you are responsible for included in the CV. So there are examples of like weak or stronger statements. An example of a weak statement would be “made a meds-to-beds program” and a stronger one would be “implemented a meds-to-beds program for the health system that saved the system and estimated blank number of dollars per year”. If you can quantify, it is a good thing to go ahead and quantify.

Austin Green: Then I do recommend saving updates to your CV as new file and do structure your CV to highlight your strengths.  Make sure you make it specific for the role that you're applying for. And it's important to note that not every CV has to list information in a certain order. Now for some don'ts. Do not include information that's irrelevant to the current position. This includes things such as work experience prior to pharmacy school, Do not use abbreviations; make sure that you spell things out so that everyone can understand what you're trying to say. And also do not insert weak or passive verb clichés either.

Chrissy Tabulov: So to go into a little bit more detail on general consideration. So what are employees and the residency program directors looking for? In A 2010ASHP preceptor conference survey was conducted with 300 participants. It was reported that the three most important sections programs focus on were experiential rotations with 61% of responses, pharmacy experience with 54% of responses, and leadership experience with 51% of the responses. Preceptors were also asked for the most common mistakes seen on CVs: 38% said grammar, spelling and typos, 24%structure and formatting, 19% said lack of information and18% too much info or fluff. A 2013 AJHP article by Ensor and colleagues reviewed and listed characteristics shown to have statistically significant association with interview invitation for residency. These included: pharmacy work experience, professional association involvement, research, experience publications, and presentations and rotation experiences.

Jenna Harris: We’ve reviewed some broad general considerations. Let's drill down and tackle some of the specific components of your CV. First and foremost is your formatting, which seems trivial, but it's so important. I have reviewed many CVs, and the first thing that I noticed with a poorly formatted CV, it literally gives me the chills. So please be consistent with your formatting and pay close attention to the section. You want it to have multiple reviewers, even mom, check the format alone without even looking at the content of your CV, your format, and gives whoever is reviewing your CV a glimpse into your attention-to-detail. So let's start with the do’s. Do proofread like crazy. As mentioned, you standard font and size, insert page numbers, list dates as month plus a year, and be consistent if you abbreviate,. Okay. Please use the same abbreviations throughout and lists things in reverse chronological order. Do keep it simple and keep the layout as consistent as possible. One cool trick to help everything line up nicely is invisible tables and a header or footer with your name and page number. Some people even include the date last updated.

Jenna Harris: Now for a few, don'ts. Do not print your CV on colored paper; use ivory or white. Do not use graphics or pictures and do not use a hard to read font. Save your final product with a date last updated. As mentioned previously, a good example would be last name, first name and CV with date. And when you're all done, let us take a peek. As we said previously, ASHP does have a CV review program that happens twice a year. There is both a fall and spring cycle. Now that's a wrap on formatting. Let's move on to personal and contact information, which yet again, seems like a trivial section of your CV, but remember like formatting this too is the first impression section for the person reviewing it.

Jenna Harris: Let's start again with the do’s. Do include your full legal name, address, and phone number. Create a permanent email address that is professional. You definitely want to avoid workplace and school emails as they have the potential to be deactivated. Choose something personal yet professional. For example, first and last [email protected]. Try to avoid any personal emails that could mimic an old AOL or aim screen-name like [email protected]. And trust me, I have seen this done. You could also consider adding social networking handles like Twitter or LinkedIn, but only include these if you are active and professional on these platforms. You want to ensure these platforms are also up-to-date with your CV so there's no conflicting content. Again, this shows attention to your detail and if you are going to include social media, I really hope it goes without saying that this should be a professional and clean profile. Some employers may even search you on these platforms, even if not included on your CV. Lastly, you could consider listing additional qualifications in this section, such as foreign language fluency. Okay, so now let's close out this section with some don'ts. As stated previously, avoid work or school emails. Do not list more than one address. Do not add photos, and again, do not include overly personal information

Shelby Shemanski: The next few sections that we're going to talk about are education and professional training. So the first thing to do under the education section would be to list your pharmacy school and any undergraduate degrees or pre-pharmacy coursework. Under these, you could include sub-bullets, such as honors received. Things not to do within the education section would be to list high school. This is implied. If you'd completed collegiate coursework or postgraduate degrees. Also, do not feel obligated to put your GPA under this section. If it matters, your employer should request a transcript. If you do decide to include your GPA, we recommend not to list both honors received and GPA. So for example, don't write summa cum laude and a GPA of 3.9, as this could be perceived as redundant information? The next important section is work experience and professional training. So things to do under this section would be to include your residency and fellowship training. This would include listing the position, name, the location, and any program directors or supervisors that you reported to. An important thing within this section is to include appropriate credentials of those supervisors. And after your residency is finished, you could consider reformatting your CV to include a high-level summary of your experiences within this professional setting. A good examples of this and how to modify your CV. once you’re few years into practice are included under the toolkit with the title new practitioner, a few years into practice applying for a new position. The thing not to do under work experience is to list at the end of your CV. This is often the most important thing that's going to help you stand out as a candidate for certain positions. So you want to list that early on in your CV.

Austin Green: Now I want to talk a little bit more about professional experiences. So do include your residency rotations on your CV. Make that you're including sites, preceptor plus their credentials, and the dates. Do list your pharmacy intern information or APPE information highlight the unique activities that you've completed, as well as any skills. Also make sure that you highlighted any accomplishments achieved within the role and quantify this as much as possible. Kind of like I said earlier, do not include more than three bullet points for your descriptions. You're not describing experiences with tasks that aren't obvious, such as interns in community pharmacies obviously fill prescription. Make sure that you're including the more unique activities that you provided those sites, and not the obvious ones. Do not include non-pharmacy work experience and do not include your IPPE or IPE experiences. Since we're going to be focusing on post-residency prep, most cases, the IPPEs are no longer relevant to employers at this point, and you can remove descriptions as well. You can also consider removing listed experiences al-together.

Chrissy Tabulov: So for the research and publication section, to highlight your scholarly activity for the do’s, go ahead and list the title and location where research was conducted, along with the names of advisors and co-investigators. Be sure to not forget the credentials when listing yourself with additional authors. Make sure to bold your name so it is easily found on your CV to help distinguish in case employers are curious if you were first author or third author. Highly consider making publications its own section as well. So what types of publications do you include? Should you include articles for newsletters or websites that you publish on? It is probably okay to include all of the above, but consider creating subtitles within the section with details such as peer-reviewed journal publications and textbook publications. If you had a journal article published, it is recommended for you to list the names of all the authors by last name with first and middle initial after. Examples can be seen on the CV transition toolkit online.

Chrissy Tabulov: As far as the do’s for this section, be sure to not listen multiple spots throughout your CV. It's important to not double dip and not include irrelevant info. Don't add fluff to the section.

Jenna Harris: So as we move on to presentations and projects, just like the previous section for research and publications, it's a really important section to highlight what you've done throughout your career. Many of these sections can be combined or separated out into individual sections, depending on the level of activity. For example, as a student, these sections may have been combined all into one due to lack of experience; however, as your line items under each of these categories increase, ensure they received their own sections. But again, do not double dip. So let's begin with the do’s for presentations and projects. First, consider separating the section by national, state, and local posters or presentations. Additionally, you could format this section similarly to your research and publication section that Chrissy just reviewed to keep this consistent throughout. Do use clear headings to differentiate types of projects. List the target audience, such as pharmacists, other health care professionals, and the community etcetera. And perhaps the most important point about this section is once listed, be sure to familiarize yourself with each particular poster or presentation. If listed on your CV, it is fair game for any potential employer to inquire about it. I recently had a residency candidate had a really cool new drug listed on her CV. During her interview, two separate pharmacists inquired about this drug. Not only did she not remember how the drug worked or what it treated, she could not elaborate at all about the drug. And she had spent an entire rotation focused on that. Now that is a complete horror story for an interview.

Jenna Harris: So knowing that, let's transition into some of the don’ts. Do not include presentation descriptions, unless the title is not considered to be self-explanatory. Do not include irrelevant presentations. And so an example of this would be, you know, maybe presentations as a student. A good rule of thumb is to remove any presentations more than 10 years old. So this is going to vary depending on where you are in your career. And finally, just to reiterate, do not include a presentation you are not able to elaborate on during the answer.

Shelby Shemanski: Another really important section to focus on in your CV is leadership experience. And again, this will grow as you develop throughout your career, but the things to include or do under this section would be to highlight any committee work and project leadership. So for example, on my own CV, I have listed ASHP New Practitioners, Forum participated as a work group lead between June2019 and May2020, and through this work group, and we developed a presentation and podcast for publication on the ASHP website. Additional examples of this would be if you participated as a journal club moderator, if you're a poster mentor, which little plug for that, if you've never done it before and you attend or like to attend the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting, everyone should sign up to be a poster mentor for either students or residents. It's a great experience and, and you can put it on your CV.

Shelby Shemanski: Additional examples would be any hospital or local pharmacy related committees or organizations, and involvement in your hospital's stewardship program. So as I mentioned previously, be sure to highlight and you can adjust your CV to make it specific for the job you're applying for. So if you're applying for a medication safety position, you should highlight experiences on medication safety committees or presentations you may do that are pertinent to this., The important thing about the leadership experiences are to be truthful about your level of involvement. So to transition into the don'ts - don't over embellish so that you who are a resident who did a medication safety rotation and you attended the med safety meetings once a month, don't put on your CV that you were the medication safety chair. And again, as Jenna mentioned, be prepared to answer any questions that your employer may ask of you.

Austin Green: Now, I'm going to talk a little bit about professional affiliation and honors and awards. Starting with the professional affiliation side, do go ahead and describe your role within the organization, whether you're a member, the treasurer or the chair. Go ahead and describe the role there. Also, if you have a board position or a leadership role, consider listing that role in your leadership section of the CV. Do not include meetings and conferences that you attended. Now, this is considered okay to do as a student, but kind of not necessary information. The exception to this rule is that if you have significant involvement within the meeting, you can go ahead and do that, but that should be included under a different section. Like if you were giving a presentation, and so there's that under the presentation section, or if you held a leadership role and holding this conference or meeting, then you can go ahead and list that under the leadership section.

Austin Green: Now moving on to honors and awards. Do list a brief description of the criteria or qualifications for the award if it's not clearly understood. Do not include your undergraduate experience. So the undergraduate award, so scholarships that you may have received or no longer relevant, do not feel like you need to include this as its own separate section. So if you're early on in your career, you might not have a lot or any honors or awards. So there's nothing really pertinent to have here. So if that's the case, feel free to omit this section for now. And once you start to rack up those achievements, then feel free to add this section,

Chrissy Tabulov: For the licensure and certifications portion of the CV. It's important to list these, to make sure you meet certain job requirements for the dues, make sure to list your pharmacist licensure first and also be sure to list all states where you are licensed as a pharmacist. Be sure to remove certifications for which higher levels are already obtained. For example, if you are ACLS trained it is assumed you also have BLS, so you can remove BLS from your CV. This is what's recommended on the CV toolkit. However, does it really hurt to include both? If you are a student, I would recommend to, however, as you become more experienced, I would recommend to remove the BLS when you have ACLS. Also, be sure to include board certification with the dates. And also if you earned a teaching certificate, make sure to write where your certificate was obtained and the date... For the don’ts -- don't include internship licensure once pharmacist's license has been obtained, most likely the intern license will become null and void. So no need to list on the CV when you become a licensed pharmacist.

Chrissy Tabulov: Additional CV sections to include potentially are teaching experiences. So highlighting academic positions separately, if you have an obtained a teaching certificate, like I mentioned before, specific teaching certificate information should be listed under the licensure and certification section. Continuing education presentations should be listed here or under presentations, but make sure to not include it in both sections. This section could also be subdivided into the type of experience. Some recommendations include lectures, experiential experiences, small group, facilitation, or tutoring. Another recommendation is to include the number of students in residency have precepted on an annual basis. It is important to update and remove irrelevant info, such as topic discussions you led during your residency experience as your career progressing.

Chrissy Tabulov: If you are fresh out of residency, feel free to still include that information. Another point to include would be community service in a separate section. It's never a bad idea to continue to see community service opportunities throughout your career. Not only is it a great way to meet people and network, but you can also include it on your CV. These experiences can be pharmacy or non-pharmacy related. Be sure to remove this section if your only experience with community service is from when you were a student. If you recently graduated from a residency program or if you're a more seasoned practitioner and had various experiences, if they're over 10 years ago, be sure to remove them. An exception would be a something with a particular significance, for example, a medical mission trip.

Jenna Harris: Okay. So I know we've reviewed a lot here, but at the end of the day, it is so important to remember that your CV tells that professional story of you. It is literally summing up years of experience, but that does not mean that it needs to be a novel. This is your chance to tell your professional story in a clear and concise way. So a few things to remember. Make your CV unique, but keep it professional. Utilize your resources and mentors. You do not have to do this alone. This can be so overwhelming, especially if it's been a while since you took a look at your CV. So never hesitate to ask for help. And as a reminder, ASHP does offer its own great resources. Many of them mentioned previously, but just to review one more time, we have the CV toolkit, the bi-annual CV review program and the mentor match program. Details on all of these can be found on the ASHP website. Be sure to consistently update your CV, so it's not such a huge undertaking each time you have to get it ready; we would suggest at least annually. And finally, that's everything that we have for you, but we would love to hear your feedback on this podcast or on the CV transition toolkit. Thank you so much for listening.

Speaker 1: Thank you for listening to ASHPOfficial, the voice of pharmacists advancing healthcare. Be sure to visit ASHP dot org forward slash podcast to discover more great episodes, access show notes, and download the episode transcript. If you love the episode and want to hear more, be sure to subscribe, rate, or leave a review. Join us next time on ASHPOfficial.

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