episode 57
How can you get a nonclinical job as a physician?
What belongs in a nonclinical resume for doctors?
How do you write a cover letter for a nonclinical physician job?
Do doctors really have to personalize a nonclinical resume for every job application?

If you’re looking for ways to maximize your resume and cover letter to fit your nonclinical career aspirations, this episode is for you.

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

  • The real purpose of a nonclinical resume
  • How a nonclinical resume is different from a CV in format and style
  • What to include in your resume that’s not in your CV
  • What to put in your cover letter that’s not in your resume

In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about what your nonclinical resume and cover letter can do for you that your CV cannot. After listening, you’ll have the tools to create a resume and cover letter that are effective – the kind that will position you to be a successful candidate, get that interview, and land that nonclinical job. And, we’ll cover the big question on everyone’s mind: Do you really have to personalize your resume for every job?

Plus – and this is fun – I broadcast this podcast live into Clubhouse as I was recording it, so we had some great Q&A included. I’ll be doing that more in the future so hope to ‘see’ you there!

“To hear podcasts and other conversations live (and before anyone else), follow my Clubhouse room, Nonclinical Doctors.”- Marjorie Stiegler

In this Episode:

[1:30] Broadcasting this episode live in Clubhouse: Nonclinical Doctors
[2:40] Understand the real purpose of a nonclinical resume
[3:50] You have more experience than you think. Here’s how to make it relevant.
[4:30] What should doctors include in a nonclinical resume?
[5:25] Use this resume section as if it is the ONLY thing they’ll read
[8:25] Do people still use cover letters?
[9:30] Why doctors should send a cover letter with their nonclinical resume
[11:10] Three things that absolutely belong in your cover letter (but NOT your resume)
[13:20] Ask not what your cover letter can do for you
[14:00] Do you really have to personalize your resume for every job?

Links and Resources:

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

Industry Insider – learn exactly how to land a rewarding nonclinical career without a new degree, connections on the inside, prior experience, or a pay cut



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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 57 – Writing A NonClinical Resume and Cover Letter

Hey there, welcome to The Career Rx. I’m your host, Marjorie Stiegler. This podcast is all about the important stuff they don’t teach you in medical school, about how to treat your career, like the business it really is, and how to be strategic about your success. I’ll show you how to use modern strategies to get ahead, create your own path and do more of what you love. Every episode is inspired by questions from listeners just like you. So be sure to subscribe. And of course, send me those questions, so I can use them on a future episode. so you don’t miss anything. Be sure to always check the show notes on my website. Are you ready? Let’s get into it.

Welcome back. In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking about what your nonclinical resume and cover letter can do for you that your CV cannot. This is very, very important if you’re a physician thinking about either switching to a nonclinical career or really moving on up the chain to physician leadership roles that involve quite a bit of nonclinical work, executive level administrative work, where you are really being judged or evaluated based on your leadership and your demonstrated capabilities and accomplishments, not on the sort of bread and butter work that goes with being a clinical physician.

So I have already talked on this podcast about some of the important mindset shifts around your nonclinical resume and a little bit about how to do it. This is something that we were really digging into just this past week in Industry Insider, in my course. And I was also playing around on Clubhouse this morning, doing a live discussion on this very topic. So if you happen to be on Clubhouse, come check out my club, it is called Nonclinical Doctors easy find. And I’d love to have you join and follow and even participate in the conversations. It’s really a fun space.

Okay, so let’s get into the meat of this discussion, which is really about the first steps in how to get a nonclinical job as a physician. I’m often asked “What belongs in a physician nonclinical resume?” Let’s first tackle what your nonclinical resume can do that your CV cannot. And then we’ll talk about what your cover letter does that your resume does not.

So first and foremost, you’ve got to recognize that a physician nonclinical resume is much much more of a marketing document. Whereas your CV is just an exhaustive list of everything that you have done. And it’s usually in a very specific and specified format that will vary from institution to institution and has very little flexibility in terms of you know, what goes where you know what order it goes in what you need to include what you can include. So it’s a very different kind of document. A physician nonclinical resume, on the other hand is really more of a persuading document, it’s a marketing document, its purpose is to get you an interview. And then once you’re in the door, and having that interview. Ideally, its purpose then is to act as a springboard for conversations about the kinds of things that you have done. This is key to how to get a nonclinical job as a physician. It’s really important because you don’t list everything on your nonclinical resume, you have an opportunity to curate what goes on your nonclinical resume, you have an opportunity to really pick and choose the things that are likely to be most relevant to your prospective employer.

And again, that’s a key difference because a physician CV is supposed to have everything and any gaps of any kind are supposed to be explained. But your nonclinical resume is intended to persuade the hiring manager and recruiters potentially, or the HR screeners or whomever is looking at it. Have your transferable skills and your fit that what you have done in the past as well prepared you to be a successful candidate in this current role. They don’t want to know everything you’ve ever done. And indeed, that will just be confusing, because there’ll be so many more dots to connect about whether or not you are suited to the job and you could be a successful candidate. This is a key part of how to get a nonclinical job as a physician.

And I’m well aware many of my listeners who are wondering how to get a nonclinical job as a physician do not have a lot of the core skills, they don’t have prior pharma experience prior medical device experience, they don’t have a lot of prior nonclinical physician experience. And that’s okay, that’s totally fine. It’s just important to really paint that picture of your, of your competence and your ability to do a good job.

And of course, this requires a lot of homework, it’s outside the scope of this episode, figuring out what those skills are and understanding how to articulate your own transferable skills in a way that really matches your employer. But that is important, really important to do if you’re wondering how to get a nonclinical job as a physician. It’s a key part of the Industry Insider curriculum. And once you’ve done it, you want to be sure it shines through on your nonclinical resume.

And so it’s very, very important to pull out and prioritize really curate the items that are of most interest for your nonclinical resume in general. So especially as you can get it down to that appropriate length, but we don’t get it to the appropriate length by making the font small and cramming a bunch of stuff in there. We make sure that we really understand what belongs in there, what level of detail needs to be in there. And importantly, the level of impact, the magnitude of effect of what you’ve accomplished or what you’ve done. The competencies and your sort of professional story, your professional journey. This needs to come through in the nonclinical resume.

One of the things that, that’s quite different from a nonclinical resume as compared to a CV is the opportunity to include a professional overview section or professional summary section. This goes at the top, this is different than a CV, and it’s usually about three to five sentences long, sort of a short paragraph. And in this short paragraph, you are describing yourself in exactly what it sounds like in a summary. But the great part about this that you really want to take advantage of is, this allows you to pull items that are buried deep in your nonclinical resume or in your CV, and put them on your nonclinical resume in a way that will get a lot of attention, a person ought to be able to get a pretty good idea about the totality of what you bring to the table just by reading that summary statement.

So as a clear example, when you think about the format of a CV, if you have done committee work that’s likely Far, far at the end of your CV. If you’ve had some really particularly special presentations, they’re probably buried in the middle of all of your regular lectures and presentations. And unless someone’s screening carefully, they might not understand the prestige of the locations or possibly the national or international reputation that you have. Even if you’ve gotten awards, those are also likely sort of buried far, many pages, deep your education, while it comes at the top of your CV is often further on down in your nonclinical resume. And so this is a chance to really pick anything that you want to bring to attention and put it at the top all together in a sentence. So you can put things in a sentence that will string together, you know, your board certification, your particular clinical specialties, your years in practice, if that’s relevant and important, as well as things like being a committee, chair or member. And if you’ve done a lot of that, then you might say you have a long demonstrated track record of leadership in national committees or something like that. That’s different right than a list of all the committees. If you’ve been a board member, or worked with a nonprofit, it’s an opportunity to put that up at the top again, particularly if you think that it’s relevant, I mean, that the top ought to be not a summary statement of every single thing that you’ve ever done.

But the things that you think really demonstrate the most important, and most transferable skills, again, for that future employer. And so putting these kinds of summaries together, always in the context of the job that you want, and always describing the way in which those really make you suitable for that job. That is a way to really make an impactful statement to really market yourself, sell yourself to the person who’s likely to be evaluating you. And then because they will be curious, they can ask you more questions later, they can ask you questions as they get into the details. And then when you’re in the interview, they can ask you questions, right? And that is really the gold with that nonclinical resume, you want it to get you in the door. So the ability to use your nonclinical resume document to persuade others about you, and to really curate what’s important. And to pull things together and present them in a cohesive professional overview, are generally unique to a nonclinical resume as compared to a CV. So those are three things your nonclinical resume can do that your CV cannot.

Now let’s shift gears and talk about the cover letter. This is something people ask me about all the time, whether they should still submit a cover letter, do people still use cover letters? And I say absolutely, yes. Do not be dissuaded about your cover letter, you should use a cover letter even if you don’t necessarily know the name of a person that you’re sending it to. That’s a conversation for another episode. I strongly, strongly recommend that you don’t submit nonclinical resumes, or applications through an online portal, it will just go into a black hole. We talked about this at length in Industry Insider, how important it is to find a person to send it to and how easy that actually is once you understand how it works. But for this podcast episode, let’s really cover the cover letter and what belongs in the cover letter.

People have asked should I just copy and paste that professional overview and stick it in the cover letter, you could pull out a few things there because certainly if those are your highlights, and you think that’s what’s most likely to be appealing to your employer, then you may well want to have it included in the cover letter to be sure it doesn’t get missed. However, the cover letter can do a few things that your nonclinical resume cannot and so I strongly recommend using this space to convey these couple things if you, if you have them.

So the first thing that you can put in a cover letter that you can’t put in your nonclinical resume is how you learned about the job. So sometimes this might be because you follow them in the news and you came you know save on LinkedIn for example. And you saw a very interesting post that the company put out about their work which led you back to their to their home feed which then led you to find the job description. You may want to mention that because it demonstrates that you’re following the news. And that you can you have a sense of what’s going on in the company. And that that’s what is appealing to you. The other way you might have found out about the company could be a personal connection. So if there is someone within the company who can serve as a reference for you, that is absolutely the place to put it in the cover letter. Yes, it’s basically name dropping, and as long as you’re, the person who’s recommending you, or providing a reference for you, is comfortable with that, then you absolutely should do that, it’s really, really important to have that personal connection, if you have one, this is one of the things that will absolutely make or break it for you. This is one of those things that will absolutely make or break it for you, if you are up against another candidate that has effectively the same level of skill or the same stuff that they bring to the table. If one of you has a personal connection, that person very, very likely we’ll get the job.

The other thing to put in the cover letter is how you hope to contribute, or how you see that work fitting in in a meaningful way. And I don’t mean, you know, how do you hope to contribute in terms of what the tasks are of the job? That’s sort of a given? But how do you view the work fitting in the ecosystem of healthcare? And why do you think it’s important in that macro scale? What do you think that you’ll be delivering? for, you know, for the company or for the, for patients for the good of humanity for the good of science? How do you feel like that work connects, that’s really important. People want to know that you have a sense of, of purpose, not only just of duty, and you’re likely to show up and earn your paycheck, but that you have some sort of something that’s deeply personal to you that will feel fulfilling to you as part of that work. That is something that everyone will ask you about, especially if you’re coming out of a some number of years of clinical practice, people will want to know why you want to make a change, or what appeals to you about it. So you’ll want to be able to explain what it is that draws you to that work, and how it is that you expect to be able to contribute, and also what you expect to learn and to grow. You know how this makes you a better professional. So those things belong in the cover letter, but certainly not on your nonclinical resume.

The final thing you may want to include on your cover letter that doesn’t belong in your nonclinical resume is any information about why you are especially interested in that organization. So you’ve already mentioned why you might be interested in that role. Now you want to talk about specifically that organization. And so if you visited their website, and you know a bit about their mission, or their values, or their culture, or what they describe as being their purpose, if you know anything about how the company was founded, or interesting backstory, you know, take a look around and really get a sense for the company. Are they a new company, and does that appeal to you for some reason, or perhaps they’re a long standing, well established expert in the field, and that appeals to you, whatever it might be, speak a little bit to your feeling of connection with the company that also belongs in the cover letter, but you can’t very easily put it on a nonclinical resume.

So those are three things that your cover letter can do for you that your nonclinical resume cannot. And we’ve covered things your nonclinical resume can do for you that your CV cannot. It does take a lot of thoughtful work to think about the totality of your experience as a physician, and all of the things that you have done. And to put them into a nonclinical resume format, where you’re really sharing your core skills, your core competencies, the things that you have learned as part of your involvement in all of the things you’ve done, that will make you a successful and attractive candidate.

Definitely that is some work and is well worth doing. But I hope this helps you to think about those documents a little bit differently as you tackle that big challenge. And keep in mind that you will want to personalize your nonclinical resume and your cover letter for every application, which shouldn’t really be onerous, assuming that you’re applying in, you know, sort of similar types of roles.

And when you do that personalization, keep in mind those couple of things that your nonclinical resume and particularly this summary statement is your opportunity to really pull out the things you think will be most important to that particular employer for that particular role for which you’re applying. And in your cover letter, again, all about personal connections and your why, why you’re applying for that role, why you’re interested in working in healthcare in that type of functional capacity, and why you’re interested in that company. I hope this helps you as you go tackling those documents, to update them and make them very persuasive, very appealing, so that you can have a successful application, get that interview and get that job

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