14 tips for writing a doctor's CV
Regardless of what stage you are at in your medical career, a doctor's CV is the first opportunity you have to make the first impression you want to an NHS employer and secure your preferred job in the NHS.
When you consider that the average CV gets 10-15 seconds of attention it is clear how important it is to get your CV right and make it stand out. Follow our Top 14 Tips and be sure to give yourself the best opportunity of landing the interviews you want to.
Your CV tells the story of you and your career and at a glance and it should be clear why you are the best person for the role you are applying for.
Request our helpful CV template for GMC applications here.
14 general tips for writing a doctor CV:
1. Review and update.
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 interview you really want.
2. Keep up to date.
Modern medical CVs are reflective of the changing face of the profession. Keep up to date.
3. Keep it traditional.
If it works, don’t fix it. Using our template, follow the GMC guidelines on the layout and content of your CV.
If you are applying for a training programme, check the GMC requirements for example, applications for Specialist registration require a particular format.
4. Don’t write war and peace.
There is no prescribed length of a medical CV, but if you follow standard layouts, order by relevance and write succinctly, a standard CV could be between 2 – 8 pages long. Remember though, it can be as long as it needs to be!
5. Presentation is vital.
Use a clear font and size (we recommend 12-point Arial, Calibri or Times), a clear layout, avoid large chunks of text and use bullet points.
6. Keep it concise.
Adopt a style of writing that is professional, using short and simple sentences - use active words when referring to skills and focus on positive aspects.
7. Match to the job description.
Prioritise the section of your CV that matches the job at the top, so it's seen first. Reprioritise the least relevant content to appear further down each section.
Highlight elements that match the specific job description and person specification.
8. Do not exaggerate.
There is no need to exaggerate any information on your CV. And remember you don’t need to include everything you have done in your career, if it is not relevant to the application, consider if you need to include it at all. There will be plenty of opportunity at interviews to get this information across.
9. Align with the trust or hospital values.
Your CV and interview should demonstrate that your personal values and behaviours align with the NHS values outlined in the NHS Constitution. In a nutshell these are 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.
10. No need to waste paper.
Don’t include a cover sheet or index. You want the reader to see the main page straight away, which shows who you are, what qualifications you have and that you are suitable for the vacancy.
11. Use a spell checker!
To ensure no spelling mistakes, use a spell checker. One of the main reasons a CV will be rejected is incorrect spelling.
Competition means that you need to prepare an error free CV. Proofreading is crucial, and spelling checks on your computer will not suffice. Take time to conduct a thorough examination looking for possible errors or flaws in format, sentence structure, content or layout.
13. Get someone else to proofread.
Ask a peer or senior colleague to proofread and get their feedback. Don’t forget to act upon their feedback and make any necessary changes, before asking them to check again, just in case.
14. Get us to proofread!
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