Writing your medical CV

Read our tips and advice for creating a medical CV that reflects you and your career.

Location: UK
Audience: All doctors
Updated: Monday 7 September 2020
Career Progression Article Illustration

CVs are a valuable part of any doctors portfolio, no matter what grade or specialty and regardless of how you apply for jobs during your career.

Your CV should tell the story of you and your career. Even at a glance, it should be clear why you are the best person for the role you are applying for.

 

Where to apply for jobs

As a junior doctor or higher specialty trainee, most people produce a CV that is part of their portfolio assessment. In addition to this, at your ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression) or RITA )Record of In-Training Assessment) for example, a CV can be a good way of succinctly writing what you have achieved since your previous review.

For GPs, a CV remains a key requirement when applying for posts, whether as a locum, salaried or partner position.

Similarly for consultant posts, a CV can be cited as an accompaniment to your application through the NHS jobs portal.

 

Tailoring your CV

Length

Aim for around two to three sides of A4 paper, to accompany your online application and portfolio.

An academic CV will inevitably be longer as you will need to include research and publications.

Mandatory information on every medical CV should include your personal details, national training number and general medical council registration, as well as any relevant associations and memberships.

There is no absolute template for a medical CV, however depending on your area of interest, use the following as a basis:

  • current employment
  • career or employment history
  • education and qualifications
  • awards
  • courses, meetings and conferences
  • publications and research.
Current employment and employment history

Generally, CVs start with your most recent job and work back chronologically through your career. For most doctors, this would change on a yearly basis.

Make sure to include location, grade and specialty for each position, highlighting the most pertinent experience.

Depending on your specialty you may find that it is beneficial to expand on your clinical experience and skills, so consider including a section on 'Clinical Skills', thinking about your sub-specialty and how this fits into your practice.

Education and qualifications

List all your qualifications starting with your most recent first. Include the educational institution and year of qualification, as well as your current grade.

Awards

Write all of your awards in a chronological list, starting with your most recent award.

Again, highlight the most pertinent awards that relate to the position you are applying for.

Courses, meetings and conferences

Consider keeping all of the courses, meetings and conferences you have attended as a separate updated list and then add the most important or current ones to your CV as you are tailoring it. 

For many individuals this section has the potential to become a long list of dates, that could be off putting to read.

Another approach to counteract this would be to group courses, meetings and conferences together into one succinct sentence.

Publications / Research

Depending on your academic interests and your specialty this section can vary in length.

List your publications as they would appear in the journal, with names of all authors involved, highlighting your name in bold if there are multiple authors.

Add the title of the published entry, journal, year, pages, and PMID (PubMed identifier or PubMed unique identifier) number.

Management of Change - Quality Improvement Plan / Audits

As you progress through your career you will complete a number of Audits / Quality Improvement Plans (QIP). If you are regularly involved in these, make sure you highlight your role with concrete examples from your experiences.

For example: 'I have been involved in 10 audits, where I devised, created and implemented the work'

This allows you to highlight the most relevant clinical projects or audits, rather than simply write a long list.

We suggest the following steps:

  • Outline the quality improvement work that you have been engaged with including the year, the type of audit, the location and the number of patients involved, if relevant
  • Succinctly summarise what you were assessing and what your specific role was on the project
  • If you then did a re-audit, what change or outcome did this bring to the service
Teaching: formal versus informal

As you progress, teaching will become a more significant part of your CV. You may be a mentor, involved in PACES teaching, or are teaching juniors on a regular basis.

With teaching experience, it is important to think about the range of teaching you are delivering, the setting that it takes place in and whether it is one-to-one, group work or large scale teaching settings.

It is also useful to consider how you monitor and evaluate the success of your teaching and include these details in your CV.

Interests

Whilst not a mandatory section, sharing your interests outside clinical practice allows you to show off your personality, giving further insight into you as a person and as a doctor.

References

There are generally two options for presenting your references.

You can state that your references are 'available upon request'. Or you can provide referees, with the first usually being your current employer and the second a previous employer.

Make sure you include their name, job title and correct contact details.