In the UK, it’s common practice to provide a curriculum vitae – or CV for short – as part of the recruitment process when applying for a job.
While not every application will ask for a copy of your CV, having one written, up-to-date and ready to go is a good idea. For example, HR departments may request to see a copy of your CV before inviting you to apply for a role, so it’s important that you have one to hand.
If you’re new to the idea of a CV, here’s a little about how to write one from Naveen Keerthi at DOC2UK and why a professional CV is important for all doctors.
What is a CV?
A CV (curriculum vitae) is a document that lists all the stages of your career progression, from your education through to your employment history. A good CV should also tell the reader a little bit about you and your interests, which helps them get to know you before you meet in person.
How a medical CV differs from a standard CV
A medical CV should be specifically written with the medical profession in mind. This means including more detail – covering areas such as specialist training, research and teaching experience – than you would with a non-medical CV.
The perfect CV structure
Unfortunately, there is no single, agreed template for writing a CV. There are however some rules that are commonly agreed as being good practice. Here’s what people will typically expect to see on your CV, and the order that this information should appear:
Your personal details
This is all about you. Include your full name, your contact details and GMC number. As an IMG, it may also be worth including your visa status here.
A brief personal statement
It’s really useful for employers to read a short, simple statement about you. In a couple of lines, summarise what you’ve done in the past, where you see your career heading and why you are the right person for the type of role you’re applying for.
Your education history and qualifications
This section is really important. In order of most recent first, list your primary medical degree and any post-graduate qualifications. Alongside each, state where and during which years you studied them.
Your medical experience
Here’s your chance to explain the experience you can bring to the NHS. Starting with your current or most recent job, list your role, your employer, the dates you worked there and a summary of what your role entailed. Then, do the same for all your other relevant jobs.
Your training courses and certificates
Share the details of any relevant training courses, professional development activities or conferences that you have attended. Only include those which you think will be useful for the type of role you’re looking for.
Your teaching experience
Any teaching experience that you have looks great on a CV. Whether that’s a formal teaching qualification or any small group teaching or demonstrations you’ve delivered to undergraduates on ward rotations, include it here.
Have you been involved in any research projects or publications? These could help you to stand out as a candidate, so list them all here.
If you’ve delivered any presentations, even at conferences, these demonstrate expertise and confidence in your specialist area. List the titles of your presentations along with where and when you delivered then.
Your audit and quality improvement projects
List the details of any quality improvement projects or audits that are ongoing or completed.
Your leadership & management experience
If you’ve held any formal leadership and management roles in the past, potential employers would be keen to know more about these.
Your language skills
Being able to communicate in more than one language is always a benefit when working in the NHS. List all the languages you speak and give an idea of whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or native speaker in each.
Your hobbies and interests
This is where you get to share a little about yourself and what you like to do outside of work.
Your referencesIn the UK, it’s common for employers to ask for references before offering a candidate a job. It’s important that you acknowledge this and have some trusted ex-colleagues or managers who have agreed to provide a reference should you need one.
For your CV, simply include the line ‘Available upon request’ under this heading. This is enough to show that you have these references in place.
The ideal length and format of your CV
Again, there is no set rule for how long your CV should be, but three pages should be the absolute limit.
Choose a font – Arial and Calibri are very popular choices – and font size that is easy to read. Then, use these consistently throughout your document.
Finally, once you are happy that your CV is complete and has been carefully spell-checked, save it as a PDF document. This means that no one can alter it without you knowing.
Things to avoid
The number one rule when writing a CV is to avoid exaggerating or being misleading in what you include. Not only will you ultimately be found out, but it could lead to trouble with the General Medical Council (GMC) – something which may jeopardise your chances of ever practising in the UK.
Also, don’t include a picture of yourself on your CV. This is not something that is commonly done.
About the author
Naveen Keerthi is an orthopaedic doctor, UCL Partner’s Innovation Fellow and NHS England’s Clinical Entrepreneur Mentor. His clinical background is in trauma, and he works for the Silverstone circuit as their trauma team doctor, covering events like Formula One and Moto GP races. He has a mini MBA from Stanford University.
While he was part of the NHS Entrepreneur Programme, he started DOC2UK.com (a digital recruitment platform) to connect NHS hospitals with overseas doctors. As an IMG doctor, he understands the principles of ethical recruitment and the intricate issues of a new doctor in a complex system like the NHS.