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C.V. vs. Resume’

Posted Mar 24 2011 9:18am

When I am looking for a nurse expert or even a subcontractor, I am often amazed at how many nurses do not know the difference in a C.V. and a resume.  When it comes to locating a professional nurse, a curriculum vitae is expected.  My friend, Pat will go over the details of the CV as part of a new writing skills workshop along with many other tips, hints, tricks of the trade and things that make the attorneys say “Wow!”  Here is a few tips to whet your appetite.

1.      Choose between a resume and a curriculum vitae (C.V.). A resume is a brief (no more than 1-2 pages) summary of your educational and employment history. A C.V. is a longer and more detailed description of education, employment, awards, honors, publications, membership in professional associations, and offices held. To properly demonstrate expertise, legal nurse consultants and expert witnesses are more likely going to prepare a C.V.

2.      In your C.V., include the important and basic information. Don’t overlook adding your phone number and email, as well as an address.  Avoid adding extraneous details such as religious affiliation, names and ages of children, hobbies and interests.

3.      List each of your jobs in reverse order, starting with the most current job. Include the starting and ending years, the name of the employer, your title, and a brief description of your job responsibilities and accomplishments.

4.      Look at your background through the eyes of the attorney who is reviewing your credentials. Stress your clinical experience if you are seeking work as an expert witness. Avoid stating you serve as an expert, as this makes you look like a hired gun.  Avoid including education you completed to become a legal nurse consultant if you are seeking expert witness work, as this may make you look like a “legal nurse” rather than a “clinical nurse”.

5.      Design your C.V. to make good use of white space, bold, and serif fonts. For example, don’t crowd your C.V. by using a small font. Allow one inch margins all around. Place bold on the names of the places where you worked, and then unbold your job description and accomplishments. Use a serif font (with little feet) rather than a sans serif font. Serif fonts are perceived as friendlier. Avoid difficult to read fonts.

6.      Thoroughly proofread your C.V. and ask another person to check it as well. Typos on a C.V. can be enough to take you out of consideration for being hired. Check dates carefully. If you worked in more than one place during the same time frame, place (part time) after your position to help someone who is reviewing your C.V. understand the overlap. Otherwise, your overlapping dates may be seen as typos.

7.      Keep your C.V. current on an ongoing basis. It is far easier to produce an updated C.V. in a hurry than it is to have to make changes under pressure.

The one thing I would add is to always date your CV. This way if an attorney asks you something under oath about an item on your CV that is no longer relevant you can ask what date that CV has on it and compare with the current version. This is a tip also recommended by SEAK .

For more tips on writing resumes and C.V.s, and to learn how to WOW attorneys, check out this information about an all new webinar on how to polish your writing skills.  See this link for more details.

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