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.
Tailoring your CV
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
- courses, meetings and conferences
- publications and research.
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.
List all your qualifications starting with your most recent first. Include the educational institution and year of qualification, as well as your current grade.
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.
Doctors use royal college post-nominal letters (or letters after their names) in their professional descriptions to show that they have obtained the relevant accreditation.
Their use, however, might be interpreted as denoting that the doctor retains current membership of the relevant body.
Therefore, if their membership has lapsed, it carries a risk (albeit remote) of referral to the GMC for investigation.
We advise doctors who have passed their membership exams and have been admitted as members of their royal colleges, but whose membership has currently lapsed, to include in brackets the year when the membership accreditation was last acquired, eg 'MRCGP (2003)'.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Have your CV checked by BMJ Careers experts
BMJ Careers offer a comprehensive CV-checking service for all doctors considering their next career move.
What the service includes
- A comprehensive CV check by medical CV and careers experts.
- 20-minute consultation call to discuss recommendations.
- A reduced rate of £60 (incl.VAT) for BMA members (£75 non-member rate).
How to book your consultation
- Sign in to BMJ Careers using your BMA login details and upload your CV.
- Purchase your CV check by selecting the option for BMA members - ensure you use the same email address on the payment form as that used to upload your CV.
- BMJ Careers will be in touch within three working days to arrange a convenient time to call and discuss your CV.
Get in touch
If you have any questions about the CV checking service, please email BMJ Careers.
Where to apply for jobs
- See our guide to specialty training applications using the Oriel system
- Search for jobs on the NHS jobs website
- Use BMJ careers to find jobs across the UK
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.
As a BMA member, access our learning resources to get help with your medical CVs and prepare for interviews.