Preparing Winning CVs

Advice for Doctors from Developmedica

Do you put off updating your CV until an interview presents itself?

When it comes to progressing your career, never underestimate the importance of an updated CV within your portfolio.

Your CV is your opportunity to further sell yourself to a potential employer if given the opportunity. Try to set aside some time twice a year to review and update your CV.

Preparing winning CVs for doctorsThe most important thing is to get your message across so your CV should be clear, concise and to the point.

It should be a well-presented, up-to-date snapshot of your career to date, designed to aid Deaneries to decide whether or not to invite you for a formal interview, as well as engage, and more importantly hold, the attention of someone who will no doubt have viewed countless other CVs.

CV format and structure

Whilst your CV should give an overview of your career to date, it doesn’t need to be a 40-page document detailing every one of your daily activities.

CV length will vary depending on your level of experience, but our experience confirms that no more than 5-8 pages is a good target to aim for.

Clarity is vital. Use an easy-to-read font – we recommend size 12 Arial or Times New Roman – with slightly larger type for section headings to break the CV up into manageable sections.

Ensure that you are consistent in your layout format too and that you list in chronological order. It is acceptable and makes for easier reading if the information is bullet pointed.

What to include in your CV

Although your individual experiences will dictate the content of your CV, you should aim to include the following areas:

  • What to include in your CVPersonal details
  • Career statement
  • Education and qualifications
  • Present position
  • Career history
    Tip: When describing your posts, include date from and to, grade and specialty, full name of institution and the name of your supervisor (if applicable).
  • Clinical skills and experience
    Tip: There are two trains of thought on how to present clinical experience. This can either be grouped together in a stand alone section or presented after each post. It's more concise and less repetitive if you present it as a stand alone section.
  • Development courses and conferences attended
  • Presentations
  • Research experience/publications
    Tip: Ensure you include the time period over which the research was conducted, the topic of research, the location, supervisor and source of funding. Include the aims, your role and the outcome.
  • Clinical audit
  • Teaching experience
    Tip: It’s essential to include this experience - the whole medical profession relies on participating in teaching. Add your specific strengths to your application. Detail the type of audience you have taught and the teaching methods used. It's also worth stating that you wish to actively seek feedback from teaching sessions.
  • Management and leadership experience such as rota management or the supervision of juniors.
    Comment: No matter what level you are at, you must demonstrate management experience. This could include Committee responsibilities.
  • Personal interests
  • Referees

The above list is by no means extensive or exclusive. It should, however, be used as a good indication of what you should include in your CV.

One important point to remember is not to embellish, exaggerate, or provide false information. You should be prepared to discuss any one of the points listed on your CV in an interview.

Don’t run the risk of being caught out by a lie. Not only will you miss out on a career opportunity, you will also be committing fraud, potentially damaging any opportunities in the future.

Part 2 of this article, The Application Process, will be published in March 2011.


Article by Sarah Bell
Commercial Director at Developmedica
February 2011

Developmedica provide a range of CV and application form advice services to help you secure your first choice position. We are also providers of leading edge medical career support and advice. Our aim is to enable doctors to reach their full potential and in doing so contribute to the improvement of healthcare provision.

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