The aim of a CV is to present relevant facts to a prospective employer so they can make a judgement about your suitability.
You are also expected to include a CV in your portfolio.
Presentation is important. Ensure your CV is easy to read, well laid out and organised. Your CV gives an impression of your working style - well organised and methodical is a positive message to convey.
Do your homework. Check the Person Specification and/or Job Description carefully to ensure your CV demonstrates how you meet the requirements.
Medical CVs are usually considerably longer than the non-medical CV standard of two pages.
There is no right or wrong way to structure a CV. However it should be:
- Concise and succinct
- Tailored to the position/speciality you are applying for: a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not work and invariably looks unfocused, suggesting a lack of commitment to the role/specialty
- Checked and re-checked, especially dates, spellings (trails instead of trials is a common error) and tenses, ie. to reflect if the experience is a present or past one.
- Consistent throughout. Use only one style. Font size 12 is the norm.
Consider having two versions of your CV: a ‘reference’ and an ‘application’ CV:
Reference CV: a full and complete record, including all your skills and experience (both medical and non-medical). Update it regularly and you’ll have a written record of all your experience and relevant information. You may want to structure this in the same format as a chronological CV.
Application CV: The one you use for applications and to demonstrate your understanding of the requirements of the post. You may find it helpful to reflect the competency-based application forms which can be found on Deanery websites. Alternatively you may choose to follow the structure of the Person Specification.
Structure and Content
There are no ‘hard and fast’ rules about the structure of your CV, so you decide what to include and how to present it. Bear in mind the purpose of your CV is to present a concise summary of your experience, skills and knowledge and to demonstrate how you can match the person specification. Remember the selectors will not have long to spend reading your CV.
A commonly used structure includes the following:
- Personal Details
- Career Statement
- Education and Qualifications
- Present Position
- Career History
- Clinical skills and experience
- Development activities such as conferences, management and leadership courses
- Presentations, Prizes, Publications
- Teaching Experience
Personal Details includes name, contact details, GMC number and NTN if you have one. You do not need to include age, date of birth, marital status, dependents or gender. Ensure email addresses and phone numbers are current and accurate.
Career Statement is a short paragraph that informs the reader of your career intentions and can also be used to direct them to other sections within your CV, such as Audits, Presentations and Publications. Ensure it's appropriate to your application: the O & G interview panel will not be impressed by an opening statement about your long held interest in Psychiatry!
Education and Qualifications: include dates and results. Do not list your A levels or GCSEs, nor include your primary school. You may wish to provide some detail about research projects or special study modules if appropriate.
Present Position: rather than just list your employer and post, you may wish to consider including some brief information about your responsibilities within the role (particularly where it relates to the specialty or post) and the skills you have developed.
Career History: include information such as dates, role and an outline of the responsibilities, skills and achievements. Remember to make it specific- don’t waste space (and the reader’s time) with a lot of detail about posts which are not relevant.
Presentations, Prizes, Publications, Teaching and Audits: include this if you have them. Do not ‘invent’ anything- not everyone will have won prizes for example, but do include any presentations or publications even if they are not directly relevant to your specialty. Many of the skills you have developed are transferable across specialties and here you can demonstrate evidence of communication, teaching, teamwork, problem-solving, and report writing to name a few.
References: ensure these are current and that you have permission from your referee to include their contact details. It may help to give them a copy of your CV and the job description so that they are able to write a focused reference.
- Check it, check it and check it again! Ask at least two other people to read it, you will benefit from an objective view.
- Ensure it is in a format that can be emailed.
- Be enthusiastic and use positive language- avoid words such as basic, only, average, quite.
- Use good quality white paper for printing. Avoid ‘quirky’ paper or fonts – they make you stand out, but for the wrong reasons.
- Allow plenty of time to work on your CV. You want to convey to the reader that you are a confident, competent, responsible professional and worth further investment in your training.