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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 12, 1995, Vol. 13, Issue 19

RYAN/Market with CV

Market Chiropractic and Your Credibility

By Robin Ryan, M.Ed.
Through a Professional Curriculum Vitae
A good curriculum vitae (or CV as it's more commonly referred to) can be an excellent marketing and public relations tool to announce to the world your true qualifications as a chiropractor. The sad truth is that most Americans have no ideas the level of education a chiropractor possesses. Many other health care professionals are unaware of the academic rigidity of your training and very few have any idea of what a post doctoral degree is. Therefore to enhance your credibility, a well developed CV uses a universally accepted format (doctors, scientists and professors have used CV's as calling cards for years) to bring your credibility to the forefront. It is the perfect document to advertise your skills and abilities to patients, health care professionals, insurance companies, corporate sponsors, sports promoters and academic institutions. A well written CV will become your favorite marketing tool as you expand your career to include practice growth, community events and for some consulting or publication work.

To create a good CV is no small feat. Whereas a résumé summarizes your work experience, the CV expands to cover academic training, professional affiliations, honors, publications and presentations. Much time, energy and thought goes into analyzing your training, ability and accomplishments. Having worked with hundreds of scientists, medical and chiropractic physicians, I have found several guidelines, that if followed, will help you to produce an impressive CV. Once you've created this impressive document, make it a part of your strategic marketing plan. I'll also point out new ways to build your practice and relationships with attorneys, MD's and allied health professionals using your CV as the marketing tool.

How you view yourself, the professionalism in your marketing tools will influence other professional to begin to refer. Healthcare is changing and other professional referrals will be vital to your success as managed care and healthcare reform changes the way you practice. Most chiropractors write a CV that is so poorly written it loses it's effectiveness. Your CV has only one purpose-- to effectively sell your professional skills to the reader quickly demonstrating your competence as a knowledgeable expert. Strong content, good formatting, readable style and a computer generated laser printed document will establish your credibility and professional accomplishments. A common error is to create a monstrous CV „ 8 to 12 pages in length. The CV itself should never exceed 2 pages. A second common mistake is to write in the story form "I've been living and practicing in Wisconsin for ten years." CV's require facts and credentials not chapter and verse. The third error is that the DC doesn't even have a CV. He truly is missing out a new marketing method that gains more respect and patients within his community.

Creating the CV It's important to know your audience and to keep in mind the person who will read your CV. You are best served by writing a targeted CV for each audience. For example, a CV for your patients should include specialization's, and some personal data. A CV for a sports promoter would drop personal data but expand on all sporting events previously worked. One for an insurance company would elaborate on the insurances accepted and list membership in HMO and PPO's. Once you select an audience, i.e. attorneys, write a CV for that targeted audience. When the first document is finished, you'll find it needs only a few editorial changes to adapt to another targeted audience i.e. your patients.

Your CV should contain no abbreviations or acronyms. Be sure to spell out titles, degrees, city, state. It must be a flawless document, no typos, mistakes, misspelled words „ proofread, doctors proofread!

To command a professional look, use high quality linen or wove paper in cream or white. You can also use blank paper that matches your letterhead, but using your letterhead instead of blank paper is often too distracting and interferes with CV's readability and professionalism. We generate our CVs using a computer on Microsoft Word Software and a laser printer. Most secretarial services and large copy centers such as Kinko's offer typing and computer services if you do not have a computer and laser printer in your office. The laser printer gives the rich, crisp sharpness to you CV. Once xeroxed on a high quality copier, you'll have a visually appealing document.

CV Components The visual elements are important, but even more so is the content and layout. Start your CV with a centered header listing your name, then your address and phone number listed directly below. Use either: Dr. Michael Smith OR Michael Smith, DC, DACBO. I prefer the "Dr." format as non-chiropractors do not easily recognize "DC" and certainly have no idea what "DACBO" means. A common mistake is to use Dr. Michael Smith, DC „ this is incorrect and a faux pau you should not commit.

Education Your academic training should be listed in two categories. The first is: Post-Doctoral Education, followed by: Education. Under Post-Doctoral, it serves you best to list your completed diplomate degree as: Board Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, National College of Chiropractic, city, state, year degree was awarded. The term - Board Certified - is the universally accepted medical terminology that distinguishes those few who have a Diplomate Degree, where as using "Diplomate or D.A.B.C.S.P." is vague and confusing to a non DC reader. Always list your highest degree first, i.e., the Diplomate followed by CCSP, which is a certificate.

Under the Education Section, put Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, followed by college, city, state and year awarded. Then list completed Master's or Bachelor's Degrees. Many DC's have not completed a bachelor's therefore you have a choice to make. You could not list anything, only your DC degree. You could state: Undergraduate Studies, University of Texas, Austin, TX 1980-83. I highly recommend that you do not list any community college or Associate Degrees as doing so devalues your doctorate and your overall impression to the outside reader. Under no circumstances, should your high school graduation be listed.

Professional Experience This section highlights your work history. If you are in private practice, that needs to be one part, Insurance Provider, Author/Publisher/Editor, could be another and Instructor that could be included. List dates of experience and a few sentences under each subheading to describe your experience. Action verbs and short fragments „ ten years in private family practice „ work best.

Publications and Presentations When you have only a few include them on the CV. Be sure to follow proper journal and presentation listing form using reverse chronological order. Doctor's with numerous publications can use a short summation comment stating: 46 publications in journals including Chiropractic Economics, Journal Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, noting the most prestigious.

Similarly, a short summary on given presentations could be written to say: 22 presentations include Logan Conference on Manipulation, then continue with only the most prestigious.

Then create a separate document listing all your numerous publications and presentations. Headed it with:

Dr. Michael Smith
Publications and Presentations

This lists starts with Publications first. It lists your most recent publication, then the second recent in continuous, reverse chronological order. This list is used commonly for academic or consulting purposes, and does not have to accompany the CV all the time.

Professional Affiliations Here you list such organizations as the American Chiropractic Association, American College of Sports Medicine, etc. Spell out the full name of all organizations.

Honors List all awards and honors that relate to your degree and profession. Avoid listing Cub Scout Leader here as it belongs in the Community section.

Community Service or Community Activities List related community activities such as coaching, PTA or Scout work. Religious activities are often not included in a CV, but if your patients are predominately one religion and listing the religious activities will be a positive to 90% of patients reading it - then include it. I highly recommend no religious affiliations be mentioned on CV's going to anyone other than patients i.e., attorneys, corporate sponsors, benefits managers, MD's, etc. The entire community activities section is optional and does not need to be included on CV's sent to insurance companies, other healthcare professionals or attorneys.

Optional Sections Specialization: Coming after your name, this tells the reader your specialty, i.e., On-the-Job Injuries. It gives your CV focus and I recommend including this.

Personal Data: This section is nice to add to CV's going to patients in your community. It includes marital status (only if you are married) children, personal background, sports, interests, and you can include where you reside. Patients like to see their doctors live in their community, so if you reside in the same town you practice in, include it.

Marketing Techniques Using Your CV Get new patients. An impressive CV demonstrates your expertise to others. Have your staff give all new patients your CV. Nearly half of all new chiropractic patients have never experienced chiropractic, so this document reassures them that they made the right choice seeking your help.

Another strategy that has proven successful is to begin a target mailing to MDs sending them a relevant professional article followed by your CV. Add a post-it-note on the top of the article (that has imprinted your name, clinic location and telephone number). On the post-it-note, hand write their first name along with this message: "Thought you'd find this valuable. Call if you care to discuss it." Then write your name. This creates a professional and friendly exchange. Don't be surprised when some MDs call or begin to refer to you. Keep up the article exchange by sending one every 2-3 months for one year. Then, whether they have called you or not -- they will recognize your name and hold you in higher professional esteem.

You can also mail letters of introduction and articles to nearby attorneys, dentists, podiatrists, athletic trainers, team coaches, human resource directors, and hotels guest services. This communication effort announces where you are and highlights your expertise building your credibility in the eyes of the reader.

Add to insurance applications. CV's are appropriate and really a mandatory addition to insurance provider applications. Many HMO's and PPO's screen your credentials quickly so a good CV ensures they don't overlook yours.

Get corporate sponsorship. Your CV must be a part of any corporate sponsorship proposal. Companies are used to seeing rÚsumÚs and expect to receive your CV to explain your qualifications to run the activity, sport or program you seek financial support of.

Enhance media releases. Publishing articles in newspapers, or professional journals should always include the author's CV as part of the submission process. Published articles of interest to the public, can be reprinted and made available to your patients. Remember referrals generate the best patients, so be sure that your articles are available to bring positive PR and new patients to you. Radio and TV appearances can be beneficial to your practice IF the program's format is one of advice and not a controversial exposÚ show. Press releases with a CV are essential to announce you are the expert, and they should be used together.

Secure teaching assignments. Landing a faculty position as a weekend instructor or permanent staff member requires top notch credentials. A well written, easy-to-read CV will stand out in the crowd from all the others who want the job your vying for.

Target companies, schools or teams. Mail articles on stretching exercises to coaches (school teams especially). These can be a great introduction. On-the-job injury do's and don't, or back safety articles are perfect intros to companies. Always include your CV with it.

Brainstorm other avenues to pass the word that you are a highly qualified Doctor of Chiropractic. The possibilities are unlimited.

Chiropractic credibility really starts with you. Create a good CV and use it often. New patients, new professional relationships, plus educating consumers will be the positive end results.

Robin Ryan is the author of the book 60 Seconds & You're Hired! and manual Job Search Organizer. She's appeared on 150 TV and radio program and is currently seen on Seattle's KIRO TV News. As a career consultant she has helped hundreds of professionals improve their CVs. Married to a chiropractor, Robin can be reached at (206) 226-0414.

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