A curriculum vitae (CV) is a thorough and detailed account of not only your education and past work experiences, but it also identifies any achievements, awards, and honors you’ve been conferred, as well as your involvement in groups, projects, and publications. Curriculum vitae is Latin for “course of life” and should give potential employers a good overall idea about what you’ve done, who you are, and what you can offer. This article will review the “must-haves” when it comes to creating a successful CV.
Your contact information should be at the top and center of your CV; typically in larger and bolder font. This should include your full name, residential address, phone number, email address, and website (if applicable).
Personal Goals and Objectives
A lot of people like to add in a couple sentences outlining their career goals or objectives. We recommend doing research on the specific job that you are applying for and tailoring your objective to this. For example, if you are applying for a job at a practice with a heavy pediatric patient base, don’t state in your objective that you are looking for a position that focuses on the treatment of glaucoma and age-related eye diseases!
List all of the schools that you have attended, their location, year of graduation, and the degree you obtained. If you had an impressive GPA, or were the class valedictorian or salutatorian, you may add that as well.
In addition to paid work experience, you should also add in all of your clinical rotation sites; you worked hard for those experiences, so showcase them! Be sure to list the office names, location, dates worked at each location, and summarize your duties. You’ll also want to leave out any unrelated jobs you had back in high school; focus on experiences that are relevant to your optometry career (but you can leave in any work experiences in college or optometry school that you feel could benefit you, even if they weren’t specific to optometry).
When describing your duties for each work/clinical experience highlight special areas that may set you apart, such as co-management of LASIK and refractive surgery patients, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and pediatrics, etc.
Here is another place that you can really sell some of your great qualities! Be sure to list any other languages that you speak (either fluently, or conversational), certifications that you hold, special equipment that you have been trained on (OCT, retinal imaging, A-scan/B-scan, topographers, IOL master, PAM, RAM, etc.), computer programs that you are proficient in (specific EHR programs), and any other information you feel can put you at an advantage for the particular job you are applying for.
Honors and Awards
Did you receive any awards, scholorships, grants? Did you win any case-based or essay-writing competitions? Were you the class valedictorian or salutatorian? Did you receive any public recognition for community service? Add all of these special honors to your CV!
Leaderships and Organizations
List your involvement in any optometric societies (AOA, AOSA, and state/local societies), clubs or groups on and off campus, and any leadership positions that you’ve held in your class or in any organization. This shows more well roundedness, so add in anything you can think of, even if you feel it is obvious! You can also add in any relevant meetings you’ve attended; for example, did you attend AOA Advocacy Day in D.C? Or your state association’s yearly House of Delegates meeting? This shows your passion for your profession! Come on, brag a little!
Publications and Presentations
List any publications that you have been a contributor to, or any presentations that you may have been a part of. This area may be slim, and that’s ok, but keep adding to it as your professional career advances!
Now go get that dream job you’ve had your eye on!