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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.
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.
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.
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.
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):
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.
*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.