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How To Write A Medical CV

How To Write A Medical CV | How To Write A Medical Resume

One of the interesting aspects of medical training is that we tend to assume that doctors have the professional skills to manage their careers. However its been my experience that many struggle with the job application process because this has not been the focus of their training to date. So if you are feeling a bit lost as to what to write in and how to write your CV. Here's an overview.
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If you are struggling with how to write a medical CV or perhaps you have never done so before. Here are a few pointers to help you.

One of the interesting aspects of medical training is that we tend to assume that doctors have the professional skills to manage their careers. However its been my experience that many struggle with the job application process because this has not been the focus of their training to date.

So if you are feeling a bit lost as to what to write in and how to write your CV.  Here's an overview.

CV or Resume?

Let's start firstly with defining what this document that you are writing is all about.  I've seen quite a few blogs and posts about constructing a medical CV but they all seem to skip a basic issue.

Which is whether you are actually compiling a CV or a Resume? In a funny little typical Australian quirk, most medical employers ask you to submit a CV but in fact they don't really want a CV.  That's just what they call it.

Curriculum Vitae means course of life in latin. A proper CV therefore is literally a blow by blow account of everything that has occurred in your career and would stretch into several pages for many doctors.

A Resume on the other hand comes from the French meaning to interrupt and therefore is meant to be an abridged and tailored account of your career. You are tailoring your career history and achievements to best address the job you are currently applying for.

So in fact what you are really writing is more akin to a resume. But you still need to ensure that certain information is included, in particular all your educational qualifications and history as well as all your work history.

What's The Purpose of a Medical CV or Doctor Resume?

The aim of your CV or Resume should be to present a summary of your career, including education, professional history and job qualifications with a strong emphasis on demonstrating that you have the specific skills related to the position you are applying for.

The person who is shortlisting candidates for interview will on average be spending only a few seconds to review your CV in the first instance to determine whether your application should be considered further. Therefore the primary consideration is to develop a CV that moves you forward in the consideration process.  You should ensure that your CV is relevant, clear and concise.

Length?

If you look for advice online about Resume length you will quickly be told that a resume should be no more than 2 pages.  This is however unrealistic for most doctors. Because we tend to move jobs initially once a year when starting out we tend to accumulate a lengthy work history fairly quickly.  Along with this generally comes publications or extra professional development which is worth including. I have found that most doctors can comfortably restrict their CV to a maximum of 4 pages. 

However, your emphasis should always be on relevance and creating a narrative that sells you to the employer, so if that means going a little longer in length then that is fine.  So long as you spend most of your time refining your front page.

The Front Page

Whats this about the front page? Well, studies show that experienced recruiters spend only a few seconds reviewing your CV (or resume) on the first pass and that most of this time is spent on the first page.

The front page is therefore critical. It should be where you put all your best information to make it easy for the person reviewing your CV to determine that you are worthy of a more deeper review (which in most cases means progressing to the interview phase).

The Front Page should consist of the following elements (see hot-spotted image):

  • Your Name – which should be the biggest thing on the page because you want them to remember your name*
  • Your contact details – you want them to be able to find you
  • Your short qualifications
  • A career statement or personal statement
  • Your work history in reverse chronological order

If you have any space left. Which most doctors do not. You can start to account for your educational history. Again in reverse chronological order.

I've written before about the importance of the career statement. But remember this is where you can put all the other good things that are worthy of being on your front page but are buried on pages 2, 3, 4, 5 etc… because you are following the rule of work history first, then education history.

Tips For Ensuring That Your Doctor CV (Resume) Stands Out In A Good Way

  • As long as it needs to be — Your CV should give the reader enough information for them to explore relevant points during the interview. Most are able to manage this in 4 pages but remember that quality is much more important than quantity.
  • Do not waste valuable space — Don’t include a cover sheet or index in your CV.  Don't be overly inclusive in relation to specific rotation dates and job duties unless this aids your application. 
  • Easy on the eye — Avoid using too many fonts and lots of different formatting styles (such as bold, underlining, and italics) as this will draw attention away from what matters the most in your CV—the content. Use the same font throughout. A “sans serif” style font, such as Arial is best as these are easier to read. Ensure that the layout, spacing, and structure of your CV are consistent throughout and do not differ from section to section.
  • Avoid block after block of text — It is better to present your skills and achievements in a given section as bullet points rather than paragraph after paragraph of solid text as this can be off-putting and daunting to the reader.  However, this does not mean that you cannot still use a narrative approach.  The aim of a good CV is to make your experience and achievements leap off the page.
  • Do not make things up — Your CV is a statement of fact, and if it is found to include information this can be very bad for your career.

*Never include a photo on your CV. Unless this is mandated.

Want more help and guidance with your CV? Then consider getting a CV Check or CV Review OR enrolling in our How To Make A Stand Out CV Course.

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