CV writing - a comprehensive guide for overseas doctors
February 12, 2020
Regardless of what stage you are at in your medical career, your CV if the first chance you get to make a good impression to a potential employer.
The decision maker reviewing your CV will likely only have a few minutes to review your CV in the first instance, so it is important to get it right! This helpful article on CV writing is aimed at helping overseas doctors present relevant information to a prospective employer by covering the following topics:
First things first, remember your CV is the story of your career, so you should regularly update and review your CV, allowing yourself the best opportunity of securing an interview.
Structure and content of your CV:
CV’s come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no agreed approach to how long they should be. However, we are finding that there is a trend towards shorter, more concise versions. So long as they are well structured, then the length doesn’t really matter.
Being concise doesn’t mean that you can’t include everything you need, just present it in a more succinct way and remember that quality is better than quantity.
Our advice is to keep your CV to around two - four pages of A4, though the British Medical Journal advise anything up to eight pages is ok.
Remember, your CV is generally the first point of contact you will have with a Trust Director, so the structure of your CV should establish a favourable image of your professionalism.
Getting the structure and content right, will also make it easy for you to tailor towards each job, hospital & Trust that you are applying for, every application can be different.
It is important to consider structuring your CV for GMC registration, not only does this mean that you don’t need to create several CV’s, but also means that you will be working to a recognised structure.
The GMC recommend the following template:
Your name on your CV must match your name on your proof of identity
Give your GMC reference number (if applicable) or details of your Medical Council or Regulatory Body you are registered with.
List your memberships of professional bodies.
List your qualifications, include IELTS, OET, PLAB, Royal College Postgraduate Qualification, Primary Medical Qualification
Employment history – posts held
Start with the most current & most recent posts and work backwards. Please show:
post title (give the title you were employed under)
dates you worked in the post, from and to, in the format DD/MM/YYYY
if the post is part-time, what percentage of whole time equivalent
institution name and location
the name of your supervisor (especially required for training posts)
give a brief job description of the duties, include the level of supervision. Be concise.
Employment history – gaps in employment
Start with the most recent gaps in employment and work backwards.
List any gaps that span over 28 days and include a brief explanation.
List any awards you have received.
Give a brief explanation of any research you have undertaken, or have participated in.
List your publications
Give details of any presentations you have given. You may find it helpful to divide them up into international, national, regional and departmental to show their importance
Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
List your CPD activity in the last five years.
Give details of any conferences you have attended. You may find it helpful to divide them up into international, national, regional and departmental to show their importance.
Give details of any courses you have attended. You may find it helpful to divide them up into international, national, regional and departmental to show their importance.
List and give a brief description of your audit activities.
Teaching and training experience
List and give a brief description of your teaching and training activities.
List and give a brief description of your management activities.
List the procedures you have performed.
Any extra professional activities
List any relevant extra activities.
For CV’s not being sent to the GMC, you can include the following extra sections:
Personal interests – show what you relate to and what your ethos for life is!
Referees – list at least two referees from your current and previous employer, include full name, position or grade, telephone number and email address.
In short, a job description will tell you what your employer will expect from you, as well as what you can expect from your employer. So, the first thing to consider is that your CV is a response to the job that you are applying for, it should be clear why you are the best person for this job.
It is important to note that a job description does not purport to cover all of the aspects involved in the job but will give you a good platform for CV (and interview) preparation.
Key points to look out for are:
Duties & responsibilities
Organisational expectations and values
Please note that each trust or hospital will use different terms for the above categories.
Match to the job description:
Take some time to review and analyse the content of your current CV, matching it to the specifications of the job that you want and the Trust you want to work for.
Some of the information included in your CV may not be the most relevant to the job you want to apply for. Your CV functions as a way of recording all your achievements, skills, and experiences and keeping them up to date helps you to identify areas which are particularly relevant for the role you are applying to.
Change the layout to match the job description:
The actual order of the sections should match the priorities of the job description and specialty that you are applying for, see below for GMC suggested sections.
Try to highlight sections that match the job description and prioritise these sections in the CV by moving them further to the top, and less relevant sections to the bottom. If it isn’t relevant at all, don’t be afraid to remove it altogether.
This really means that you are selling yourself to the job specifically, for example put more relevant clinical audits or professional training to the top of the relevant section, and perhaps you could move this section further to the top of your CV so that it will be noticed.
For example, if you are applying for a post which has a strong teaching component then the teaching experience section should be placed before the management experience section.
Similarly, if the post has a strong academic component then the research, publications and presentations should move up straight after the audits section.
With IMG Connect we can offer you vacancies that are not advertised online, as such your IMG Consultant will provide the most recent job description and all relevant and up to date information purporting to the post. We will help you to tailor your CV accordingly, providing the hospital with a detailed overview of your skills and talents.
The decision maker reviewing your CV will likely only have a few minutes to review your CV in the first instance, so it is an important to get it right!
What if there is no job description?
In some circumstances a job description may not be available. You may be applying for a service job with IMG connect that is not advertised online, this means that your IMG consultant will discuss your CV directly with the Directors of the hospital or lead clinicians.
In this case, your IMG Consultant will offer guidance and support to tailor your CV accordingly. They will be able to secure as much information as required, providing you with the most relevant and up to date information covering all aspects of the role.
With IMG Connect we can offer you vacancies that are not advertised online, as such your IMG Consultant will provide the most recent job description and all relevant and up to date information purporting to the post.
They will help you to tailor your CV accordingly and provide the hospital with a detailed overview of your skills and talents, so you don’t need to worry about cover letters.
If you want to write a cover letter, they can be a good idea to accompany your CV. However, these are not always necessary, overall they will make little difference, it is your CV that really matters. An IMG Consultant can help establish if you need a cover letter at all.
In some circumstances your IMG Consultant will ask you to prepare a short cover letter if further explanation is required of suitability for a vacancy.
Style and format:
Keeping your CV professional, clear, concise and well-structured is essential for securing you an interview. We recommend using the following simple steps to help:
use a consistent professional font (i.e. 12-point Arial, Calibri or Times)
use bullet points
use professional short and simple sentences, be concise
use active wording when referring to skills, and focus on positive aspects (i.e. gained, confident, responsible for…)
avoid personal statements, & don’t exaggerate… just present facts
be consistent with organisation and appearance under all categories of your CV
do not repeat
number each page
show your surname and initials at the top of each page
get your CV proofread by an IMG Consultant
Some final summarising thoughts…
Remember to keep your CV clear, concise and well-structured as this is essential for securing you an interview.
Once you have created your draft CV, get it proofread.
Use our template! It is a GMC recognised format and you can request it here. Alternatively, send us your CV using the links below and we can talk you through it.
For more useful blogs & articles on CV format and templates to help you find your dream job in the NHS - take a look at our IMG Library.
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with an IMG Consultant to discuss UK job options in the NHS, including discussions regarding a typical doctor salary in the UK and the most suitable locations for you.