Don’t Hit Submit! What to Know Before You Apply (Set Yourself up for Success)

Don’t Hit Submit! What to Know Before You Apply (Set Yourself up for Success)

So, you’ve decided what type of radiology practice best suits you. You’ve scoured radiology job posting sites, tirelessly worked your networking game, and have found relevant job openings. Hooray! Now, you’re ready to enter the next stage of the job search journey—preparing to apply and interview for a position. 

In this post, I’ll take a look at how to craft a curriculum vitae and cover some basic dos and don’ts to be aware of before you submit an application. 

Crafting a stellar curriculum vitae

Curriculum vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life,” and is a record of all academic and professional achievements.  The information on a CV generally does not get removed over time. Rather, new information is added and the CV grows (and a potential employer will expect a candidate’s CV to show steady progress). This is different from a resume, which is a targeted list of skills and experience, condensed into a 1-2 page document.

A radiologist’s CV should include contact information, licensing and board certification, past education and training, work experience, professional appointments, awards and honors, teaching experience, publications, grants/other funding, research experience, and other career achievements as they are relevant to the job for which one is applying.  

A practicing radiologist should include dates, names, and locations of all prior radiology positions.  The candidate should be ready to explain any gaps between training periods or jobs.

The format of a CV should conform to what is generally accepted at most universities.  A university’s promotion and tenure committee can provide guidelines/templates and several examples can be found online [1].  Real-life examples can be greatly beneficial and colleagues are often willing to share their CVs. Candidates fresh out of training can also learn a lot by comparing CVs from recently employed radiologists.  

Someone who has concentrated her scholarly efforts on education may include more extensive documentation of teaching activities in her CV such as those generally found in an academic portfolio [2].   

The new grad’s CV

Of course, a radiologist just out of training will have a much shorter CV compared with one who has been in practice for several years.  

In the case of a new graduate, the CV will document the relevant education and training up to the time of the interview, including dates, degrees earned, and names of colleges and training programs going back to undergraduate college.  Prior work experience should be included if it was professional in nature (e.g., working in a medical research laboratory, working as a school teacher or other profession prior to entering medical school).  

Tailoring a CV for private practice 

Although academic activities are also important to private practice groups, and can help one candidate stand out from another, a private practice group will want to know about a candidate’s clinical experience.  

If a recent radiology graduate became very experienced in a particular procedure or imaging study during fellowship or residency, this should be documented on her CV.  Examples could include CT lung cancer screening, prostate MRI, CT colonography, musculoskeletal ultrasound, cardiac CT/MRI, venous ablation, uterine fibroid embolization, or any study/procedure for which a group needs extra manpower to implement or grow.  A candidate could add significant value if she were able to implement a new program and train other radiologists in the group.  

In addition to specific clinical expertise, private practice groups will be interested in the quality and quantity of examinations that the candidate can perform.  They will want someone who can keep up with a large volume and provide reports that referring clinicians will see as adding value to their practice. If such metrics are available, they can strengthen one’s CV.  This documentation may also be helpful in obtaining hospital credentialing at sites where a group practices.    

CV no-no’s

Many people would advise against including any personal information on a CV [3].  This would include photos, political affiliation, social security number, any indication of age (especially over age 40) or other information related to a protected class (e.g., race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, and genetic information). 

I also recommend caution when including hobbies or information about family or spouse on a CV as an employer may harbor conscious or unconscious bias regarding a person’s work ethic or ability to perform their job based on that person’s personal situation.  

While such information may help establish commonalities between a prospective employee and employer, it can be shared during an interview—when and if—it seems appropriate.

I also recommend caution when including hobbies or information about family or spouse on a CV as an employer may harbor conscious or unconscious bias regarding a person’s work ethic or ability to perform their job based on that person’s personal situation.

Choose your references wisely 

Before submitting your application and CV to an employer, you’ll also need to develop a list of references, and ask each for permission to share their names with prospective employers.

A soon-to-be graduated trainee should only include supervisors as references (e.g., program director, chair, other faculty members, or research director)—those who are able to speak objectively and with authority about the trainee’s performance.  

At the same time, make sure the references you choose are people who can—genuinely and with passion—provide positive and meaningful comments about you.  If anyone seems hesitant to serve as a reference, it’s probably best to exclude them from your list.

Inform all those acting as references they might get phone calls and give them a brief description of the position you are seeking.  References should be familiar with your CV and career goals so they can talk to the hirer specifically about why you are a good fit for the job.  

If there’s anything in your training/work history that could be construed as negative (e.g., a large time gap between jobs or leaving a job before securing another job), it’s best to address it head-on with your references should they be asked about it.

Lastly, when you land the job, DO send the references a very fine, expensive box of bonbons to demonstrate your gratitude. Okay, you don’t have to do that one, but expressing your thanks might be a nice gesture.

Write. A. Cover. Letter.

A cover letter should always be sent with a CV unless the job listing specifically says not to do so [4]. The letter should be addressed to a specific person, written for a specific job, and organized to highlight the skills and experience as they relate to the job description.  

Yes, it’s a pain, but just do it—and properly.

A cover letter is a golden opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the position (specifically why you chose that employer) and outline why you are a perfect and unique match for the job.  A cover letter is also a great place to note interest in the location, especially if the candidate grew up or went to school there. Such ties are highly prized by employers, and need to be prominently presented when applying for a job.  

Proofread both your CV and cover letter carefully before submitting them and make sure you’ve used correct formatting. Prospective employers notice these things and such easily avoidable mistakes will cast you in a dubious light. 

Squeaky clean social media profile

These days, it’s not enough to have a great CV and cover letter.  A study by Jobvite found that 93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision [5].  

Ensure your digital rep doesn’t give you a bad wrap. It’s fairly likely your employers will engage in some online sleuthing. Google yourself and you will see what employers will find when they search for you. As they say, forewarned is forearmed; being aware of what’s out there will also give you the opportunity to make any corrections (e.g., that college photo of you doing a keg stand, rants about your ex or politics, memes of questionable judgement, etc.) and be prepared to explain anything that can’t be corrected. 

Social media profiles on LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit should consistently represent your name online and should not contain any information that will tarnish your online brand. Take inventory of and spring clean your digital footprint (and, ahem, maybe adjust those privacy settings). 



  1. UC Davis internship and career center.  Resume and curriculum vitae samples. Available at:  Accessed July 10, 2019
  2. Thomas JV, Sanyal R, O’Malley JP, et al.  A guide to writing academic portfolios for radiologists.  Acad Radiol 2016; 23(12):1595-1603
  3. Rothbauer-Wanish H.  A top notch resume is your gateway to the job interview.  American College of Radiology Career Center. Available at:  Accessed July 2, 2019
  4. U.S. Department of Labor.  Careeronestop. Available at:  Accessed July 4, 2019
  5. Augustine A.  Why you should google yourself to monitor your online brand.  Available at:  Accessed July 3, 2019

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