Applying for a job

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Tips for your medical CV

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.

By taking the time to regularly review and update your CV, it allows you to create a standard format that you can adapt for each position that you apply for, giving you the best chance at landing the position you really want.

Modern medical CVs are reflective of the changing face of the profession.

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

Download our sample CV as a template to help you get started.

  • Job application portals

    With the growth in medical job application portals such as Oriel and NHS Jobs, which require you to fill out an online applications form, you might wonder why you need a CV at all.

    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 or RITA 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.

    See our guide to specialty training applications using the Oriel system

    Have a look at the NHS jobs website

    Use BMJ careers to find jobs across the UK

  • NHS and values based recruitment

    VBR looks at three aspects:

    • your motivation and commitment to the NHS and the role
    • your ability to work in multi-professional teams
    • the central importance of the patient's experience

    The NHS is taking on Values Based Recruitment (VBR), which is when employers seek to recruit staff with values that fit with their organisation.

    VBR will be used from 2015 to help attract and select students, trainees and employees, whose personal values and behaviours align with the NHS values outlined in the NHS Constitution.

    As a result of VBR, changes will occur to the way pre-screening assessment takes place, as well as how you are interviewed.

    In the context of your CV and preparing for future job roles, think about how your personal values align with the NHS. 

    It also makes sense to think about how you weave this not only into your CV, but your e-portfolio and application form as you progress through your career.

  • Tailoring your CV

    When applying for any position, it's important to question the content of your CV.

    It's always advisable that you tailor your CV for each role you apply for, by highlighting elements that match the specific job description and person specification.

    Prioritise the section of your CV that matches the job at the top so it's seen first,and either reprioritise the least relevant content to appear further down your CV or remove it altogether.

    For example, if you did a course or took part in research that is more relevant than your current job, reprioritise the courses section to thetop of your CV, moving your employment experience further down.

    Always remember that your CV acts as a first impression and is designed to get you an interview.

    Sell yourself as much as possible and don't be afraid to exclude anything that is irrelevant to your application.

     

    Length

    Though medical CVs are not required to be a set length, the trend is moving towards short and succinct versions, with a less formal approach.

    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.

    For example:

    2008 - 2014 Attended the Annual UK Obstetrics & Gynaecology conference

    2009 - 2012 Regularly attended BMA Consultant Committee meetings as part of my role as a committee member

     

    Publications / Research

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

    List your publications as they would appear in the journal, withnames of allauthors 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.

    For example:
    Smith J, Brown S, Tunney C "Title of the publication here"
    British Medical Journal, June 2014, 216-225. PMID: 123456

     

    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.