By James J. Mangraviti, Jr. 

Executive Summary: Drafting a Non-Clinical Resume 

A CV is not a resume.  For most non-clinical positions you will need a resume and not a CV. Your resume is a sales document.  You are selling yourself. The key to effective non-clinical resume writing is listing your major tangible accomplishments that would be of most interest to employers in the particular field you are targeting. A functional, as opposed to a chronological, non-clinical resume format is usually best for those searching for their first non-clinical position. 

A CV Is Not a Resume 

Physicians transitioning to non-clinical positions will need to create their non-clinical resume.  While there is no shortage of resume-building books, services, and advice, one thing all the experts agree on is that a curriculum vitae (CV) is not a resume.  Consider what a noted resume expert has to say about the difference between a CV and resume: 

The distinction between a CV and a resume is that a CV is typically much longer.  It can be short; but typically much longer.  There’s a vast difference about the content.  A CV is typically, what we call, task oriented, skills oriented, and background oriented.  A resume, at least a resume done right, should be much more oriented towards the future.  Using what you’ve done in the past to predict your ability to do that type of thing in the future.  Always, again, around the bottom line: what’s it going to mean for the employer; translating your physician skills into real-world corporate skills.  The biggest part of a resume is to show chemistry and fit by showing your brand and your value proposition.  

Drafting Your Non-Clinical Resume 

Start from Scratch 

Physicians drafting a non-clinical resume are best served by starting their resume from scratch.  Your non-clinical resume is a business document drafted specifically with the purpose of obtaining one or more specific positions.  As such, you need to carefully consider the type(s) of jobs you will be seeking before you draft your non-clinical resume.  A resume for someone looking to become a medical reporter should read much differently than a physician looking to work in clinical affairs in the pharmaceutical industry.  The key is thorough networking and research to find out as much as possible about what the particular employer/industry is looking for and then highlighting your accomplishments in these areas.  

Sales or Marketing Document 

A non-clinical resume is essentially a sales or marketing document.  Depending upon the position you are applying for, the purpose may not be to impress the reader with your medical knowledge, success, or accomplishments.  Note that many non-clinical employers are looking for excellent clinicians because this clinical knowledge is crucial to the non-clinical job function.  For example, if you want to become a high-net-worth personal financial advisor, how many articles you have published in a certain area of medicine will be neither important nor relevant.  If, on the other hand, you are going to work in medical affairs for a pharma company developing a drug in your niche area of medicine, your clinical knowledge and experience might be critically important to your employer.  The key is to gather in advance as much information as possible about the job and industry you are targeting.  Once this is done, you can tweak your resume, highlighting what you have to offer (medical and/or non-medical) that industry or employer.   

The goal of the resume should be to address several questions: 

What can you do for the employer? 

What have you accomplished? 

What are the skills, abilities, and competencies you bring to the table? 

Is there a good fit between the employer, its corporate culture, you, and the position you seek to fill? 

Your goal should be to distill in one to three pages (preferably one or two pages) the unique abilities, experience, judgment, and accomplishments you bring to the employer. 

The keys to getting your resume noticed include: 

The resume is not the time to be humble.  Think of your list of accomplishments. 

Review your performance at past positions and answer the following questions: 

What was your impact on your organization/group/company/ 


What would not have happened if you hadn’t been there? 

What are you proudest of during your time with the company? 

If you have favorable past job evaluations, utilize the material in your resume. 

Measure results. Think about your performance, and apply numbers where possible, using percentages, dollar signs, and quantifiers (i.e., saved $100 million). 

Points made on a resume are usually more powerful if they quantify something as opposed to being vague.  For example, “I have given over 150 lectures and trained over 2,500 of my colleagues in the field on oncology” is much more powerful than “I am an excellent communicator.” 

Your accomplishments listed should be major ones (triples and home runs). 

Make sure the one or two pages you write are full.  Don’t leave a half page blank—it will look like you are lacking in accomplishments. 

Absolutely ensure that there are no typos or other mistakes. 

Write in concise phrases, not sentences. 

Formatting Your Resume 

Many resumes use a chronological format, organized by date.  Other resumes use a functional format, organized by what you did for your employers. 

The problem with a chronological format is that it is effective for obtaining the same type of positions the physician previously held, namely clinical positions.  Functional formats are preferred over chronological formats for physicians looking to leave clinical medicine for a new type of position.  The authors have studied the resumes of physicians who have successfully transitioned from clinical to non-clinical positions.  These resumes are functional and emphasize accomplishments, core competencies, results, and performance.  When possible, they are specific. 

Contact Information for Non-Clinical Resume 

Page one of the functional resume includes the person’s name, degrees, address, telephone, cell phone, and personal e-mail address.  

Summary/Profile for Non-Clinical Resume 

This first full paragraph of your non-clinical resume should address your core competencies, what you bring to the table, and what you have already accomplished.  Physicians seeking non-clinical employment will want to tweeze out their business, management, and leadership accomplishments to fit the needs of their prospective employers.  Clinical physicians without full-time non-clinical experience may have to thoroughly examine their duties, responsibilities, training, and accomplishments.  Positioning yourself for career change through obtaining resume-building experience can greatly assist with this.   

In the example below, note how the physician emphasizes what she thinks the employer would most want to see in a physician employee:  

Example Summary of physician looking for first non-clinical job with a managed care company 
Well-respected board certified internist with 15 years clinical experience.  Recognized physician leader, former class president, and head of numerous committees and task forces.  Accomplished innovator and change agent.  Superb communications skills.  Noted expert in evidence-based medicine. 

Note how the summary paragraph in the following example specifically targets an ad agency.  Had the physician been looking for a position in a different industry, different skills, experience, and accomplishments would be highlighted: 

Example Summary of physician looking for first non-clinical job with a medical advertising agency serving pharma 
Medical doctor with ability to combine clinical knowledge with communication skills.  Prolific author with a strong track record of pushing projects through to their conclusions and working on large interdisciplinary teams.  Implemented print and online marketing campaign for my group practice, which resulted in a 22% boost in revenues and 32% increase in profits in one year. 


In this section of the non-clinical resume, the physician will want to start with her most current employer.  For each employer, the physician will want to list her title, duties, scope of the position, responsibilities, and accomplishments that would be most relevant to the position and industry the physician is targeting. 

Example: Stressing accomplishments and responsibilities most relevant to employer 
2012–Present General Hospital—Emergency Room Physician.  Active clinician with significant leadership and management experience.  Served on quality control committee which implemented changes resulting in a 23% decrease in adverse events.  Top physician in charge of transition to electronic health records resulting in a savings of $2.3 million over 3 years.  Elected chief of emergency medicine by my peers. 

You might want to include an introductory paragraph to your experience.  Under the experience introductory paragraph, highlight your specific accomplishments.  The keys are: 1) finding out what employers in the field you are targeting are looking for, 2) building your resume if necessary with talking points you can point to, and 3) expressing in the best light your accomplishments that potential employers in the targeted industry would find most helpful. 

Sample experience introductory paragraph for physician seeking entry-level position in medical informatics 
      • Led 50-physician practice group in transition to electronic health records.
      • Successfully negotiated with electronic health records vendor.
      • Supervised training of 300 employees on new EHR system.


In this section of your non-clinical resume you should briefly describe your education with your most current degree appearing first.  For example: 

MD                                   Yale University School of Medicine
                                          School of Medicine, May 2005 

BA                                    St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Biology, May 2001  

Additional Information for a Non-Clinical Resume 

Physicians with many years of experience will be sorely tempted to list: 

Journal articles, 

Boards they serve on, 

Awards, and 

Presentations, etc. 

Less is more.  List only those additional items that: 

Are relevant to the position you are seeking and 

That specifically make you a more attractive hire. 

Conclusion: Preparing Your Non-Clinical Resume 

A physician making the transition to a non-clinical career will want to draft an error-free, powerful non-clinical resume that highlights their accomplishments, success, experience, core competencies, skills, abilities, and judgment.   

James J. Mangraviti, Jr. is the co-founder of SEAK, Inc.’s annual Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference, held each year in Chicago.  SEAK’s Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference features a faculty of dozens of physicians who have experience in non-clinical and alternative careers.  Many of our faculty are SEAK alumni.  SEAK’s Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians conference also includes free 1-1 peer mentoring, the opportunity to interview with employers and recruiters, and a robust networking experience.  Jim can be reached at 508-457-1111 or