Association Of Women Surgeons VA Chapter - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Association Of Women Surgeons VA Chapter. Making it Look Good on Paper. Marybeth S. Hughes, M.D. Senior Investigator Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH. Making It Look Good on Paper. Cover Letters Curriculum vitae (CVs) Format Content Advice Grants.

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Association Of Women Surgeons VA Chapter

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Association of women surgeons va chapter l.jpg

Association Of Women SurgeonsVA Chapter

Making it Look Good on Paper

Marybeth S. Hughes, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute, NIH

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Making It Look Good on Paper

  • Cover Letters

  • Curriculum vitae (CVs)




  • Grants

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Cover Letters: Definition

  • A cover letter is a personal introduction.

  • It can also be a marketing device.

  • Target audience can vary

    • Employer

    • Tenure Committee

    • Grant applications

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Cover Letters

  • Often impacts on position, promotion, tenure or grant approval

  • Opportunity to communicate

  • Necessary

  • Think of the reader

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Cover Letters

  • Form

    • One page

    • Three paragraphs

      • Introduction

      • Body

      • Closing

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Cover Letters

  • Pay attention to basic details

    • Spell all names, titles and addresses correctly

    • Contact Information

    • Avoid grammatical and spelling errors

    • Paper

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Cover Letters

  • Avoid Generalities


    “ I would like to express my interest in the position that is currently available at your practice”

  • Briefly Address Any Time Gaps in Training or Practice

  • Highlight Special Expertise

    • Involve new techniques or technology

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Cover Letters

  • Brevity

  • Passion

  • Personalization

    • Indicate some knowledge of position

    • Area

    • Avoid “To Whom It May Concern”

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Remember poorly written letters give a negative first impression

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Curriculum Vitae

  • Format

    • Clear

    • Concise

    • Correct

    • Well Organized

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Curriculum Vitae

  • Use simple font

  • Emphasize headings

    • Bold or Underline

  • Do not use too many bullets, dashes

  • Number publications (if many)

  • Highlight authorship

    • Bold or Underline

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Curriculum Vitae: Content

  • Name and Title

  • Address

  • Contact






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Marybeth Scavone Hughes, M.D.

Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute

National Institutes of Health

10 Center Drive, Bldg 10, Room 3W-3940, MSC 1201

Bethesda, MD, 20895-1201

Office (301) 594-9341; Pager (800) NIH-BEEP-11863; Fax (301) 402-1788


Home address: 9851 Marcliff Court Vienna, VA 22181

Home (703) 319-0233

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Curriculum Vitae: Content

  • Personal Data (Optional)

    • D.O.B.

    • Marital Status

    • Children

    • Birth place or Citizenship

    • Cellular phone number

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Curriculum Vitae: Content

  • Professional Appointments

  • Post Graduate Medical Education

  • Higher Education

    • Include location and dates

  • Certifications and Licensure

    • Board certification, BLS, ACLS, ATLS, State licenses, NBME

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Curriculum Vitae: Content

  • Committee Appointments

    IRB, Credentialing Committee, Review Boards

  • Honors/ Awards

    Alpha Omega Alpha, Teaching Awards, Research Awards

  • Society Memberships

    FACS, local, state and national involvement

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Curriculum Vitae: Content

  • Academic Presentations

    paper competitions, posters, paper presentations, abstracts

  • Invited Lectures

    local, state or national organizations

  • Published Peer Reviewed Articles

    Authorship order

  • Books and Book Chapters

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CV: Specialized Content

  • Mentorship

  • Basic Science Research

    • Grant support: past, present and pending

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  • Avoid listing your DEA number

  • Avoid listing your social security number

  • Look at many example CVs

    • Content

    • Structure

  • Get assistance for cover letters and grant proposals as needed

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Avoid Hyperbole

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“Failure is the beginning of wisdom”

-William Zinnser



Federal Sources


All other- private foundation

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Why Grants Fail

  • Experimental Design

  • Research problem

  • Investigator

  • Resources

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Experimental Design

  • Technical methodology

  • Data collection procedures

  • Study group or control

  • Data analysis and management is vague

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Research Problem

  • Hypothesis is ill defined

  • Proposal is unimportant, unimaginative

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  • Principal Investigator had inadequate expertise

  • Inadequate mastery of literature in the research area

  • Poor productivity on an NIH grant

  • Insufficient time devoted to the project

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  • Inadequate institutional setting

  • Lack of equipment, facilities, personnel

  • Restricted access to appropriate patients

  • Insufficient collaborative effort

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  • Request a copy of the NIH Data Book

  • NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts

  • Call the funding agency for “high priority”


  • Be realistic with budgets

  • Consult a biostatistician

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Why clinical research grant applications fare poorly in review and how to recover

Cancer Investigation 1987: 5(1);55-58

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The End


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