Want to know how to turn your mile long CV into a nonclinical resume? Not sure how to explain resume career gaps or red flags? Maybe you don’t know what to include – and what to eliminate – for the best chance of a successful career move.

If you want to craft the perfect resume for the nonclinical job you really want, this episode is for you.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • The importance of your summary statement, and how to get it right
  • How to address employment gaps and other potential resume red flags
  • Commonly included details that you should leave out of your nonclinical resume
  • Tips for how to describe your most important skills on a nonclinical resume

In today’s interview with Dr. Laura McKain, she explains her process for helping other physicians see how to match their experiences with potential nonclinical careers. She gives us some of her best resume makeover insights, and be sure to check out her ingenious resource for those considering a nonclinical career transition!

By the end of this episode, you will have a starting point for writing your nonclinical resume, examples of what to and what not to include, and a bit on the mindset shift for a deeply rewarding physician career.

In this Episode:

[0:35] Special welcome to Dr. Laura McKain
[6:50] Beginning the process of a nonclinical resume
[9:35] All about the summary statement
[12:20] How to outline your professional history in a way that makes sense for the job you want
[18:00] Common mistakes to avoid in your nonclinical resume
[21:30] What to do with gaps in employment or experience
[23:50] Have a question? Ask it in the Physician Nonclinical Career Hunters Facebook Group
[27:40] Turning your unique story into a clear advantage
[33:50] Laura’s secret for unlocking the magic resume words

Links and Resources:

Nonclinical Career Hunters Facebook Group

Grab Laura’s Swipe File at https://www.mckainconsulting.com/swipe-file-guide

Industry Insider – what to know about landing a nonclinical career without a new degree, a foot in the door, prior experience, or a pay cut

The Branding Rx 18 hours of CME, mastering digital strategies for advancing your career, building your business, and growing your professional brand



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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 68 – Creating a Nonclinical Resume with Laura McKain

Hey there, I’m Marjorie Stiegler and you’re listening to The Career Rx Podcast, where we tackle the important things they don’t teach you in medical school. Like how to treat your career, like the business it really is, with strategies to accelerate the kind of success that you want, because you deserve a career you love, and a career that loves you back. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Okay, welcome back, everybody to the career prescription. furthering on my interview series with some special guests this summer, I’m so thrilled today, to have Dr. Laura McKain with me, you may know her from physician, Nonclinical Career Hunters, the ever growing Facebook group, but Laura is here to help me in my mission to make sure that you my physician audience know that your career is a business and you can take it in absolutely any direction you choose, if you just treat it that way, right. And if you really approach it from that mindset that your limits, that you have no limits that you have a limitless endless possibilities worldwide open oyster, but of course the ticket to getting wherever you might want to go, I hinges around being able to to brand yourself, sell yourself and a lot of that has to do with a resume. And Laura is very, very expert in physician resume. So it’s one of the reasons I brought her on the show, one of the things we’ll talk about, among others. Laura, welcome so much to the show. Thanks for joining me.

Marjorie, it is a great thrill to be here with you today. I’ve been a listener for a while. And it’s really fun to be a guest.

Well, thank you so much. I’m so happy to have you on. I mean, you and I have known each other sort of virtually in the way that people do on Facebook groups for some years now. And it’s really exciting to to get to chat, and see you face to face, although my listeners, of course, can’t see that we see each other face to face today. And to get to talk to you in detail about you know, all of the wisdom that that you have, and that you’ve really developed over the years and that I know you’ve coached other people with as well. So I’ll plant that sort of teaser right here should know that. If you like what Laura is saying you can get more of her. We’ll get into that later. So, Laura, maybe we should start with just you introducing yourself a little bit to my listeners a little bit about your, your training and your career and kind of what you do now.

Absolutely. So Hi, I’m Laura McKain. I am a board certified obstetrician gynecologist. I practiced general ob gyn and coastal North Carolina for about a dozen years. And I felt like I was beginning to sound like a broken record. And so I was looking for different options to not feel that way. And I happened to be living in a community that sort of a hotbed of pharmaceutical development. And I’ve had a number of colleagues that has left over to the pharma industry. So I also took the leap, and started out in pregnancy drug safety, which is right up my alley, really got a good on the job foundation and that training and work. And then left over to another company where I held. It was a contract research organization, where I was seated in the pharmacovigilance slash medical monitoring, clinical development sort of division, where I learned bread and butter medical monitoring, everything there is to know about drug safety, and also got the opportunity to do some work in clinical development. I worked there for about almost a decade, and then really took a big leap and joined up a biotech startup. Moved from the east coast all the way to the west coast. And wow, that’s a big leap. It was a big leap, strapped myself in and worked for this startup biotech. For the last three and a half years or so where I lead a big clinical development program.

And actually my drug got approved last week, which was tremendously exciting. That is. I really got the application over the finish line and actually I’m retired now. So it’s so fantastic. Yeah, and it’s you know, I’m it’s been a great passion of mine that I was able to transform my career in this way. And I had many physicians come to me asking how do you do this? How did you do this and it has just become a love of mine to help other physicians see the possibilities in their careers and, and provide some coaching and resources for them if they’re considering transition.

A lot of times when people come to me or to you or as you see just posing questions in the group. People feel like they don’t have Have a background that seems to be a direct fit for whatever it is that they want to do next, and certainly not specific to pharma. But even when we think about administration or leadership roles, even within their clinical organization, they just they look up at the what’s next. And they think, I don’t have what I need in order to be able to do that, or to be an appealing candidate for that. But you and I both know, that’s just not true.

Not true. Not true at all. We have physicians have so many skills. I mean, I can’t tell you how many physicians who have said to me, all I know how to do is take care of patients, and then when I sit down with them, and I really get them to like, take inventory of all of the things that they do, they really do begin to see that. That’s so much of the experience that they have gained in the practice, the clinical practice of medicine beautifully translates to other to other job opportunities. It is it after you talk with somebody for a while, they’re like, Oh, yeah, you’re right. I do think that you’re that, you know, they really begin to see their transferrable skills, that term that we like to use, that they possess many, many, many, many of them.

Yes, they do. And, and so maybe we could start with that, if we talked about, you know, obviously, if someone’s going to build a stellar resume, or elevator pitch or an ace, an interviewer, however, they’re going to communicate themselves. But we can focus on the resume here, a little bit is going to, they’re all going to need to really hone in on that inventory and articulation of transferable skills. So can you give the listeners an idea of how to go about starting that process, or how you do that process?

Absolutely. So I think the most important thing to understand about a resume that one might use to apply, particularly for non clinical job is that it is a sales tool, the whole purpose of that documents is to get your foot in the door, to have a conversation with somebody that has a job opportunity, or maybe know somebody who has a job opportunity, it is simply a sales tool. And it needs to be a tight, concise, easy to read, easy to follow documents, those things are absolutely critical. I also personally think that you should spend a little bit of time on the formatting of the document. But it should be attractive because and I’ve heard you say this in a previous podcast, Marjorie, that, that when somebody looks at when a hiring manager or us or somebody who’s doing screening of resumes, when they look at a resume, they spend seconds looking at the resume, they don’t spend much time before they decide whether or not they may want to talk to that person. So I will tell you that an attractive resume one that actually is visually appealing, somebody may spend a little bit more time because it actually has the look that maybe the person put a little bit more effort into it.

So that’s a personal, this is a personal preference of mine. But I do think it should be an attractive looking document in that it should be clean, it should be neat, there should be white space, good use of space, it shouldn’t be too crowded, it should be easy to scan and take in so that you can get a really great sense of that person’s qualifications as well as their professional timeline, I really think that that’s important. So those are some of the first things it’s of course, I believe it’s very important that someone have a summary statement at the top of their resume, that is typically really customized for the purpose that you’ve decided to share that resume.

So a resume is truly a living documents, and it’s something that should be updated, or just about every time that you hand it to somebody. And I’ll tell you, I share mine a lot. I mean, I shared it with somebody yesterday, and I made some updates to it before I send it out to them. So that profile section should be really specific.

I’m so glad to hear you say that. I’ve been telling people that for a long time, and no one likes to hear it. Because they don’t want to do it. But it makes or breaks. It doesn’t it was great. And let’s talk for another minute or two about that summary statement because I know people have, you know, leftover advice from the 80s that you’re maybe supposed to have an objective statement at the top that sort of says the kind of job that you want, but a summary isn’t really about you and what you want, or at least not in my view. I hope I’m not putting words in your mouth. Do you agree with that?

I absolutely agree. Yeah. In fact, you know, if you’re actually looking for a job, it’s never about what you want, it’s about what they want about you, it’s about how you’re going to fill their need, right summary statement really should, you know target that, that’s, that’s, that’s really critical that it is tell the reader right off the bat, why you are the right person for the job. So, you know, give a little bit about your background, some of those details are going to be further down in the document, no doubt about it.

But it’s a high level summary of what your qualifications are for that job, as well as your skills for that job. And some statement that’s very specific, that tells you how you’re going to, you know, how you’re going to leverage these skills to meet their needs. I think that’s a, every glass sentence should be like, you know, I’m seeking an opportunity to leverage this in such skill to do this job for you. That’s the gist of how, in my opinion, that summary statements are, then they are to do this job for you.

That’s exactly right. That’s what you’ve got to get across. And, you know, one of the things that at least, you know, many of the people I work with struggle with, when they first come to me is they have a long CV, right, and a CV is like a list, it’s just a list of stuff, a chronological list of stuff you did, but as you’re describing it, a resume is a sales document. I agree with that, too, I love it. And it needs to communicate the skills that you have that are relevant. So let’s talk a little bit about how you can do that inventory, perhaps based on your CV or whoever else, whatever process, you suggest, to identify the skills and how that looks different from just a list of stuff a tasks and, you know, papers and events.

Exactly. So I really like to see somebody outline their, their professional history. And, and that may be, it definitely includes, like, concrete positions that they’ve held, the places that they’ve worked, but there may also be additional headings that go into that, that will reflect the skills and even also the accomplishments that that individual has, as part of their their sales package. So I’ll give you an example. I’ve been actually working on our resume yesterday, and person gave me a very beautiful and detailed CV, included a lot of, you know, she’s actually only ever had one clinical job, she’s worked for one practice, at one hospital system that, you know, that’s it. So, you know, and, you know, she had privileges there.

And she served on some committees and things like that, when we put together her when I put together her resume and I translated her CV into a resume, I included her job, of course, or clinical position in the practice that she was working for. And in that practice, and then in that first section, I describe her just very high level, what her responsibilities are with a real focus on the job that she’s applying to so really curated those responsibilities that she’s been fulfilling, to be very specific to the job that she is seeking, and to show how it’d be really necessary in this job to have a really broad medical knowledge to you know, to work with, with patients with many different conditions to have a good come in a general command of medicine, which many of us do, I mean, all of us do. But I really I did it in a way that really showed that she did that she had this like really deep clinical experience. And also that in this position, she had worked very carefully with people. And then that was one heading right, described her, her responsibilities, and a high level to show those sort of skills that translate to the job she’s seeking.

And then also what some of her accomplishments were, some of that is around like, just the reputation that she’s developed in her work. Also, even you know, some more specific accomplishments and like every physician should be when the big day like what have I accomplished, they should look at COVID-19 and see how they survived without like, what did you do to keep your practice and to continue to take care of patients because I guarantee that you’ve, you’ve demonstrated you had skill. So again, we’re talking about her, her clinical experience, the skills, that it’s the skills that that she can demonstrate by that work that she’s done talking about accomplishment. And then I included a complete second heading. And it was never an official title. But she held. But she served on so many committees at her hospital, that I added an entry for physician leader because quite frankly, she was a physician leader. And I was able to describe the same sort of things, the skills she developed in being a physician leader, negotiating, dealing with, you know, peer to peer interactions, all of those sorts of things, as well as the many accomplishments that those committees that she served on the things that awesome things that they accomplished, were completely relevant to the job that you’re applying for. So that’s just, I love examples when I’m talking about these things, and I hope that’s helpful to kind of get a vision of how you can think about this when you’re putting together your resume.

Yeah, I think that’s so important. I mean, you know, when I think about people’s committee service, for example, you know, the, the job that you seek, probably doesn’t care that much that you were on the committee, but they care a lot that you were able to, you know, resolve conflicts are have good interpersonal skills or communicate, right, and what the committee as a whole was able to achieve based on its mission, right, and that you are part of moving that needle, or that you lead that and whether you’re a an official leader, or you are just leading, right, because within many of these non clinical organizations, leadership sometimes comes with overt authority, but a lot of times, it’s in this matrix environment, right? Where you, you need people to come along and do what you want them to do, but not because they have to. Right.

Exactly. I mean, it really, it’s a it’s an opportunity to show that you are an influencer, that’s a very important thing that you’re negotiating, that you are analytical that you can take a problem, you can take a safety event that was noted or disruptive behavior by a physician and like, you know, figure out how to solve that problem and do it in a way that’s diplomatic using excellent communication skills in this, you know, for her, she thought this was like an entry on her a line on her CV, but it became, you know, a whole paragraph on her on her resume.

Yeah, that’s remarkable. Some of the things that are so little on the CV are huge on the resume, because it really demonstrates those skills and competencies that everyone wants those transferable skills. And then of course, there’s a lot though on our CVS that does not belong on the resume, it’s just sort of a distraction, or it’s sort of just noisy. Or I don’t know, maybe there are even things you think are detrimental. Can you speak for a few minutes about what doesn’t belong on a resume? Okay, so some of my pet peeves when I’ve seen when I’ve seen resume, I you know, when you are detailing your training and education, you don’t need to go back to kindergarten. And I have seen I actually have had a couple of physicians that I’ve worked with, that have absolutely insisted that the place that they went to high school beyond that CBD because they felt it was such an important place. And it’s like, oh, yeah, just need to let it go.

So you know, don’t reach back too far. You don’t need an undergrad, right? Undergrad, absolutely undergrad. Yeah, undergrad degree, medical degree where you did residency, where you did fellowship, if you’ve got other pertinent advanced degrees, most of them are permanent, but like an MPH and MBA, you know, of course that should be included. But don’t reach back farther than that. So that’s an absolute pet peeve to me that does not belong on the resume. Also, you know, some people will put a personal section in and tell you whether they’re married or not, or you know, each other like, it can be okay if it like as long as it doesn’t cause your document to run into a into an additional unnecessary page of the document. And if you are going to include something like that, it should be something that is really well written and may be something that would generate like a nice opening conversation but I would be like very careful about you know, what you about what you might include in a personal section. Although I will tell you I have seen some people where it is really relevant to a physician who had many jobs and she had many jobs because she’d been following her military spouse from position to position so it was awesome for her to be able to say you know, spouse of a captain in the Air Force who does… you know who has moved? So you know, so he could kind of lane that. So anyhow, be careful with that like personal section, it should be, it should be really relevant knowledge should be there.

It can be personal, as long as it’s purposeful is what I think I’m hearing, right? Yeah, absolutely. You know, the other thing is like, Are there jobs that you should leave off? Like, where do you stop? Like, is it really important that you took care of lab rats in college? It may be like, maybe if you’re like, going into some farmer career, and you’re gonna be doing a lot of preclinical, you know, you can be assessing preclinical studies and you learned, got some foundation there. But unless it’s like, really, it’s ancient history, and it’s not really relevant, then I would leave it off. Same with some publications and presentations, if they’re ancient and you haven’t done anything in forever, and they’re completely unrelated to, you know, who your who’s going to be reading your resume.

I might also leave this off, unless they’re like great ones, big juicy ones that, you know, had huge contributions to that show, you understand how to do scientific literature, that you’re a good writer that, you know, got to speak at a great conference, but I would, again, curate, it’s really important to curate. Yeah, that’s.

And what do you think about so some of the common questions that I really don’t know the answer to is, you know, what do you think about gaps in experience, so if someone took, you know, six months off between jobs, or just to take a break, or if somebody was out for an extended period, you know, maybe after having kids, like my husband stayed home for, four four years after, after our first son was born, he was to stay at home spouse, so we did struggle with how he’s not a physician, but it was still a question for us or for him, really, but how to put that on his resume. What do you suggest?

Well, I’ll tell you, I, I really believe in addressing the elephant in the room, I mean, not that it’s necessarily an elephant. But if it’s, if there’s something on your resume, that’s gonna raise a red flag, or if it’s going to make the reader wonder, like, why are they out of the workforce for so long, you know, what, just put it up front and give a, you know, a validity end of the, of the position before you took that break. But at the end, if you can, and, and I have typically been able to find the right words to, to describe why somebody has, you know, left to left a job to take a break a polite way, so that the reader just knows, and you can say, okay, you know, she left to care for, you know, her mother who is dying, or, or she left after giving birth to care for a child with special needs, you know, just like, it could be a one liner, like I said, No, moved or left position to follow military spouse’s, new assignment.

I mean, just like it, it can explain so many things, if you just, if you just put one little bullet, and then the reader stops wandering, and thinking, oh, maybe this is a red flag, so they’ll know, then. So I personally believe in addressing those things. For me, the timeline is really important. I like to understand like, the sequence of things. And if there is a gap, please, at least give me some clue as to why there was a gap went back to school, you know, whatever. Yeah. If you don’t know the right words, you know what, ask for help. Get, you know, ask for some, you know, put it in your Facebook groups like, hey, how would you explain this on your resume? Let us all weigh in. We’ll be happy to do that.

Oh, that’s such a great suggestion. I love it. You know, another thing that that people have asked me before, that I don’t really know the answer to is, you know, how about a lot of academic jobs, or even actually in the same organization, if you’re in the same place, but you move up, right, you’ve gotten promoted? So you’ve gone from instructor to assistant professor to associate professor and it all has different years, and you have a different title. But that can get it just takes up a lot of space. So, but it wouldn’t be correct to say you’re a professor from that period to the very, very beginning, right?

How do you how do you do that, again, on a non clinical oriented resume, right, whether a pharma or something else. Obviously, for academics, people do want to know how long you were in each of those roles and, and so forth. But what do you suggest for to prevent that from taking up half of a page, that one’s a pretty easy one.

That’s simply really how you format your professional experience. So sometimes you can format your professional experience with the title and the date. And then you’ll also include like, the location meaning like the institution or organizational name, and like the actual physical location, you know, Raleigh, North Carolina or whatever. But if you have had multiple positions at one company, then what I recommend doing, it’s actually formatting your professional experience a little bit differently. And instead of putting your title as the header puts the organization as the header, and then multiple titles beneath that with the corresponding date… That’s great. And then when you describe, you know, when you get beneath your that entry, when you describe what you did, then what you can easily do is say, you know, had increasing, you know, roles with increasing responsibility rather than, and it makes it much more concise.

I’ll also tell you, that’s another another great thing that you can use, I worked with a physician who had had a series of unfortunate events occurred, she just had a knack for joining absolute horrible practices were like where they went out of business or like the partner retired and let them in, she had to move, she had like multiple positions, with kind of relatively short span, and it was really starting to get to make the resume appear really long, it was like job hopping, which I absolutely hate. And instead, what we did is we made one entry, you know that she was a ob gyn physician.

And then we put the multiple practice names below, it describes the kinds of roles and responsibilities and for what her accomplishments were, and actually even put a blurb in to say, you know to explain it, or is a header, we explain that, you know, that she that she had had multiple positions at some of them and I and actually, some of them were locum tenens positions. So we were able to sort of weave that in, to kind of answer the reader’s question. And to make it much more concise. So that’s another trick of handling situations like that.

But I love that it’s so practical, extremely helpful. It’s, it’s transparent is forthcoming, but it also is not. It’s, it’s like the best way to put it forward. Right, you’re you’re not making it into a red flag, when it need not be your we headed into an advantage, we got to say that she got to experience multiple different types of healthcare systems in a variety of urban and rural settings. I mean, we turned it into a complete advantage, though, so and and just you know, because it bears repeating. For people who are listening, if you’ve kind of zoned out for a second, what Laura just said, is incredibly, incredibly important.

Because, you know, when you think of the list of the places that you have worked, it’s very tempting to just view that as just a list. But when we’re talking about transferable skills, and what builds your value story, it’s exactly that kind of thing, which is saying, you know, because you were here, here, here, and here, that you had a variety of practice settings with a variety of different types of internal stakeholders and a variety of different patient problems. And, you know, all of the genius things that you just said, Laura, it’s like, hit rewind on this for 30 seconds or a minute and, and listen to what what Laura just said, because that’s taking a sort of neutral fact, and turning it into an asset for the purpose of the sales document which resume So yeah, that’s great.

But now you’ve said something to that I think is so important that we should just address it head on. Because as people are trying to figure out what transferable skills and other skills they have that are relevant to the job they want. And they’re trying to, you know, personalize things. take just a minute to talk about what you think when you’re reading the job description, and you’re looking at it and you’re saying, I don’t have 80% of those things, right. Like, that has so many people feel that way. And it holds them back from even applying what is your advice on how to sort of gauge whether or not you actually might be a good candidate.

So the job description is looking for prince or princess charming. They just are they’re not, you know, it is purely aspirational. It would be lovely if they could find somebody that ticked every single one of these boxes. Well, I’ve done plenty of hiring and I can tell you, I have I don’t think I’ve ever hired anyone that absolutely ticked all of those boxes, because if they did, they were probably actually eligible for a higher level position than applying for right? Am I right, Marjorie?

You’re absolutely right. And in fact, one of the my favorite stories that I tell my students who come take Industry Insider is exactly that. I had a boss say to me early on. As, as I was participating in the hiring process for the first time, you know, we were interviewing somebody. And I said to my boss, you know, I thought this person was good. But my feedback was, they didn’t have, you know, XYZ experience, which I thought was really relevant. And he said to me, Well, if they did, then they’d be ready for my job. Exactly. So I thought, “Oh, okay. I have a whole new way of thinking about that now.”

Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. So I think it’s, I think that when you look at a job description, that you should have some kind of a sense as to what that person is going to be doing. And aside, you know, aside from that very specific job description, you should think about, like, what well, what skills do you need to be able to like maybe I’ve never, you know, written a, you know, this is such a regulatory document, but I know what that regulatory document is, because you can read about that and figure that out easily.

And I have a sense for the data that goes into it. So they need somebody who has, you know, writing skills, they need somebody who has analytical skills, organizational skills, medical knowledge, put the whole package together. And that’s what you need to emphasize in your resume. You need to really just like pick apart what those responsibilities are and what they want the person to be doing, and, and ask yourself, what do you need to be able to do that? And do I have not? Honestly, 99% of the time? The answer is, yeah, you may never have done it. But you’re trainable.

You’re trainable. Well, and they know that we are right, what’s why physicians are in such high demand, as they know we’re trainable because we do so much self directed, lifelong learning. I mean, really, more than a cliche. I mean, absolutely. I can teach anyone with a medical license will not anyone. But if I always told the people that I hired who had never done the job before, I said, Listen, I can teach you how to be a drug safety suspicion, I can teach you how to be a medical monitor, but I can’t teach you how to be a doctor, you got to come here with that knowledge, you got to know how to read the medical records, you have to know what goes into medical decision making what goes into diagnosis and how treatments get selected. What complications occur, I can’t teach you that. But I can teach you how to be a medical monitor or drug safety physician. So you’ve already got 90% of what it takes.

Yep, absolutely. Absolutely. And in some ways, when you’re looking at these non clinical job descriptions, in you know, utilization, management, and pharma and administration, there are they almost feel like they’re written in some kind of a code is like a totally different language that people who have been working clinically, just kind of don’t really know what they mean, because they’re a little bit different. And an example I like to give is, you know, in, in industry, we use the term matrix team, but in clinical medicine, we just talk about multidisciplinary teams. Right, right. You’re a nurse, you’re a tech, I’m a doctor, like, there we are. We’re a matrix. Now the mystery is lifted, and you understand how to describe that yeah, you have that skill set of matrix leadership. And it looks like this, right? What one of the things that you and I were talking about, as we were arranging this, this episode, was some of the practical tips for how to how to figure out which of the skills are most important and how you might describe them. And you sent me over an example that I thought was awesome. So I wanted to just make sure that we didn’t forget to talk about the swipe file. Can you tell us about that.

So a swipe file is something that everyone who has a job should have. But I think it’s particularly important for people who may be seeking to transition their career. Essentially, it is an electronic file of some sort. I personally use OneNote, an electronic notebook, Microsoft OneNote, where you catalog materials that’s going to help you to maintain this professional inventory of your skills, accomplishments, as well as the things that you’re aspiring to. So when I was job hunting, and were actually when I was writing my first resume to apply for non clinical jobs, I started a file where I would take snippets of other people’s resumes, if I got my hands on them or language from LinkedIn profiles. That was a big one, or even job descriptions that were known bit of it did apply to me, I would copy that that information over into my swipe file and use it for inspiration to truly take inventory of what your capabilities are, what your experiences and and for you to begin to describe, you know how your skills meet those sort of job descriptions, it is invaluable file to have. And it’s something that that really could even be expanded beyond that because again, remember, we’re talking like not, you know, resume should not only talk about your skills, you really should reference in some way what your big accomplishments are.

And this is an app or the file is a great place for you to keep track of those. So, you know, take some time and write down like when COVID came along, you know, how did I? How do I successfully manage that? Because all of those sorts of things are our accomplishments that you have that can somehow be useful to demonstrate that you have a particular skill set? What kind of safety issues have you tackled, in your practice patient safety issues that you may have tackled in your practice or on committees that you sat on? What are your patient satisfaction scores?

How does that speak to what your reputation is down that when I know there’s a lot of controversy around that, but also think about, like, you know, keep an inventory of kudos that you received from patients, or from other providers, because that speaks to what your reputation is, which is really important and you know, reflects the type of worker that you are, what kind of quality assurance activities have you been involved in, even if you’re doing it, your maintenance of certification, if you have to know do some chart reviews, you know, some of that information that you amassed, there can be useful, these are all the sorts of things that you can put into your swipe file, that can be really helpful in informing your resume or informing conversations you can have as a kind of an interview, you know, to get your foot in the door.

Yeah, or even conversations that you’re having every year, I think right with your boss, like your annual review, that’s a good one. And, you know, I think that a lot of physicians, I think, are familiar with the idea of keeping, you know, what I’ve also heard referred to as like a brag file where you know, when someone sends you a compliment, like keep it in a folder, because you want to be able to show that to your boss, at some point, it may be not every single one, or just that it kind of like, is a good way to lift yourself up when you’re feeling low, right. So there’s a lot of good reasons to keep these kinds of files.

But the swipe file has a different utility, which is it’s sort of all of that, and then some because it’s all of the good stuff that you want to collect. But it’s also a model for how you might want to talk about it in a way that you aren’t talking about already, right? Or it would be on your resume like that. Now, I think that’s so, so important. And also I you know, I’d be remiss, because so some people who are listening might might know the term swipe file from various other side gigs or sort of business oriented things that you do. And in that regard, you know, you’ll hear things like an email template swipe file, or a article headline swipe file, where it’s sort of a Mad Libs or fill in the blank. So that you take something and kind of, you know, make it your own. So it’s not copying, it’s not plagiarism. And I don’t think that, right, it’s, it’s nothing at all like that, and particularly for this use, Laura, I mean, you and I have both been on both sides of these conversations. Once you’re having an interview, you got to be able to, like talk the talk and not you can’t just write it on the resume and then not be able to speak to it.

Yeah, that is, that is incredibly important. So again, it can be you’re swiping things from other documents that you’ve read, or other people’s resumes that you’ve seen in LinkedIn profiles, but you’re also like, swiping your own accomplishments and like, and storing them away, to be to be referenced later. It really is important, and you need to think creatively about, you know, what you’re going to put in that file, you know, think about like, how have you innovated in your practice? How have you been an early adapter is it’s just a it’s a great opportunity to keep track of those things in one place. And if you ever get a if you writing your own resume, if you’re working with somebody can be a rich resource for them.

Yeah, that’s so so helpful. Yeah, that’s true, right? Whether you’re writing it or you’re working with somebody else. You know, part of the biggest challenge with the resume or with the job interview is is being able to connect the dots for like you’re the one who knows yourself. You’re the expert in what you’ve done. And anyone who’s either going to help you put together a resume or read that resume wants those dots, like at least partially connected already. That’s so important. Yeah. Also, I think really, one of the things, you know, if anyone’s still unclear on the swipe file, I know that in the past if I’ve been introduced, you know, to give a talk, the, the introduction sounds so glowing, and I think, “Wow, is that is that me that they’re talking about right now?” Or I’ve seen other people’s introductions, or they’ve gotten a promotion and announcement goes out? And because I know them well, and I know their work. And then I see the email and it just makes them sound like they walk on water, which, which they perhaps do, and perhaps so does everybody listening to this episode, in a way they haven’t fully appreciated before.

I absolutely agree. I cannot tell you how many people and I know we get down to a final document and they say at the end like oh, my gosh, I really am accomplished aren’t I am like, you are like You’re no different than when we started working together. This is what you came with. We’ve just distilled it onto paper to make you look your very best.

Isn’t that the best? That feeling right there you just described as is like way better than the than the money they pay you to help.


Yeah, it’s true. And it really is the process of putting it together and taking that inventory. It really gives you direction to and it makes you feel much more confident when you’re applying for something. Absolutely. Well, So Laura, I know we could talk about this for hours and hours. And of course over in the Facebook group we do. I know my listeners will want to track you down to ask you questions and possibly to even hire you and to have you help them. Can you tell people where they can find you?

Absolutely. So definitely I’m, I try to be pretty active in the Facebook group. So that’s one location. I do have a website www.mckainconsulting.com. That is another place that that you can find me. And then in addition, I am happy to, I would really love to put together a document for your listeners with a suggestion about what should be included in the swipe file. It’s like real granular details for them to think about when they’re taking inventory. I’d love to make, make that available to them. And also connect with me through that. That’s fantastic.

Thanks, love that I know. So I will do that. So all of that will be in the show notes a link over to the physician on clinical career hunters Facebook group, as well as to Laura’s website, and to what sounds like a delectable resource that I myself may want to put my eyeballs on at some point, we will get all of that linked over in the show notes. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I want to thank you again, Laura, for joining me and for being so generous with your wisdom and your advice to my listeners. Is there anything we haven’t touched on yet that you want to add in at the last moment?

No, just I just really want people to have confidence in their skills and their abilities to have the career that they want. And to always just keep in mind that you know, when you become a physician, it doesn’t mean that you just have to do one thing for the rest of your life that there are so many opportunities and you really need to feel confident pursue those because your career should be just as exactly as rewarding as you want it to be. Oh, I love that I can’t add a single word to it, so I won’t even try. Thank you, Laura for being here today. Really, really appreciate it. My pleasure.

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