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Section 1: Employment History
Section 2: Documents & Certificates
Section 3: Academic Achievements
Section 4: Career Development
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📝 CV & References
Curriculum Vitae (CV)
Your CV is an efficient way of listing your work, qualifications, research and publications, teaching, prizes and awards, and referees in a clear and concise manner. It should always be located at the front of your portfolio.
When writing your medical CV, it’s important to think specifically about the job – or types of jobs – you’re applying for, and tailor it as much as possible. You may want to have several versions of your CV saved (or a master CV with all of your skills that can be cut down and adapted to each application) if you are applying for different types of jobs at the same time (i.e. a locum role and an overseas position and a clinical fellowship).
CV Key Principles
When writing a CV, there are several key principles to keep in mind:
1) Cover all bases. There are basic things that every CV must include which you can read about here.
2) Keep it brief. Maximum two sides of A4. Find tips on how to increase your impact with limited space here.
3) Make it tailored. Adapt your CV each time you apply for a job to specifically highlight the kind of skills and qualities needed for this particular role. Keeping a generic 'master' copy of your CV means that you don’t forget what older versions of your CV looked like, and make it easier to tailor each new version to your needs.
4) Hold off on the photo. Adding a photo can lead to stereotypes and bias so don’t include one unless asked.
5) Job overseas? If you are planning to work abroad, it is sensible to include in your initial statement the reasons why you wish to work in that country and demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to staying there for the duration of the job. Read more about CVs for overseas roles here.
CV Basic Structure
There is some basic information that is essential for a medical CV. This is:
🤙 Personal Details: Name, contact details, nationality (and visa status if necessary), and GMC number. Including a physical address is becoming old-fashioned and is no longer essential.
Note that UK employers are forbidden by the Equality Act from making decisions based on potentially discriminating factors (marital status, DOB, gender, photo) so you don't need to include these on your CV.
📝 Summary Statement: A short paragraph summarising your current position, interests, and the kind of work you are looking for. You may include your career aspirations depending on which type of job you are applying for.
Be sure to include (as a minimum) the grade and specialties that you are interested in, how much experience you have in those specialties, any additional exams or courses you’ve done (relevant to the work you are looking for), and when you can start working.
🏥 Clinical Experience: List your employment history as a doctor (in reverse chronological order) with a brief summary of the work you have done since graduating from medical school. This should include your Foundation Training rotations, locum work, clinical fellowships or trust grade positions, and shadowing or taster days/weeks. For each role, include the name of the hospital, your job title, and the dates you worked in that role.
You can include non-medical jobs in this section. Depending on what you are using your CV for, you may want to expand on these to highlight transferrable skills and why that role may be relevant to your future ambitions.
If you have gaps in your clinical experience (i.e. parental leave, extended sick leave, or period of volunteering or non-clinical work) then it is worth adding dates for this and a short explanation or note as to why there is a gap in your employment.
Depending on what you are using your CV for, you may want to go into more detail about certain past positions - use this as an opportunity to sell yourself and convince the reader you have the skills to do the job you are applying for. You can include your responsibilities in the job, any procedures you conducted or gained experience in, and instances when you acted up or took on extra responsibility.
Note that you should also be able to provide a reference for every role you list on your resume, including tasters and locum work.
🎯 Skills and Procedures: This is your chance to call out specific skills, procedures, and qualities that are important for the roles you're applying for, and explain how you have demonstrated this in your work. Try and step into the mind of your employer - What skills would it be desirable for you to have in the role you are applying for? This will offer them confidence that you will be able to hit the ground running without needing lots of training and supervision.
You should include: clinical skills and procedures you are competent in, IT systems you are familiar with, and personal qualities that you possess that will make you valuable and easy to work with.
🤓 Education and Qualifications: Keep this brief as this is much less relevant than your recent clinical experience. A-levels may be appropriate to include but GCSEs can be removed now that you have more advanced qualifications. Include distinctions or merits you’ve earned and other degrees that you have undertaken.
🥇 Courses, Exams, and Achievements: This section can include publications, audits, quality improvement projects, prizes, presentations, courses attended, exams taken (i.e. MCRP), and leadership roles at local, regional, or national levels.
You may have a lot of information in this section so you might have to tailor it to the role you are applying for. Locum roles care a lot less about audit, and more about additional courses (i.a. APLS) and skills (i.a. suturing) you can bring to the department. Specialty applications or fellowships may want to know more about your research and teaching experiences.
Don’t overfill this section, but curate it to display your present skills. There is no point including every ILS and ALS course you have attended - the highest qualification that is still in date is enough.
❓ References: Either include the details of your referees or a line to say that references are available on request. Most places will ask separately for your reference details.
See our example CV here and use it as a template for writing your own.
It is essential that you collect references throughout your career, and that you are proactive in doing this. You will need to provide references when you are applying for substantive posts, specialty applications, joining staff banks and locum agencies, or for positions in the private sector, so make sure that you collect references as you go.
Most locum agencies will ask for references to cover every single role you have listed on your CV. If you did one week of shadowing in ED, then you may need to provide a reference for that period, or risk it not counting as ‘experience’. Some hospitals will not allow you to locum in departments where you lack previous experience so collecting references is essential.
Keep hard copies of hand-written or hand-signed references in your paper portfolio, along with printouts of all digital references that you have collected over time.