How To Write A Medical CV: A Guide for Medical Students
What Is A Medical CV?
A curriculum vitae (or “CV” for short) is a document designed to accompany a job application. The purpose of a CV is to convince a prospective employer that you are the right candidate for the advertised position. It comprises a complete record of your career; detailing your work history, qualifications, achievements, skills and more.
You will need a CV at many different points throughout your medical career. You will need to provide a copy of your CV as well as a cover letter and possibly a portfolio of evidence for job applications. You may also be required to submit a CV as part of your application to certain medical specialties.
Before You Start
Did you know that the average recruiter spends just 20 seconds reading a CV? It’s therefore crucial to make sure that there are no glaring errors that will immediately land your CV in the slush pile. Homework is key to this. Read the job spec closely and identify exactly what qualities and skills the employer seems to be seeking and determine whether you meet these. Then you need to think carefully about how you can tailor the content of your CV to the position to give yourself the best chance of success.
How Long Should Your Medical CV Be?
The typical length of a medical CV for a medical student is about two A4 pages or one double-sided A4 page. Employers appreciate brevity, so try to be concise with your language. You can also play around with the size of the font and the page margins to open up more space.
What Are The Sections of A Medical CV?Personal Details
This is a short introductory paragraph of about two to three lines explaining why you want the role and how it would align with your overall career goals. Sometimes it is best to write this after you have completed the rest of your CV.Education & Qualifications
This section needs to list your educational attainments and qualifications. It should include the names of any universities and secondary schools you have attended and the dates of your attendance. List your exam results and highlight any awards or scholarships you have received.Work History
You will need to write this section in reverse-chronological order (i.e. working backwards from your most recent post). Under each item, list key details such as the dates, title, employer, and location as well as any responsibilities, skills and achievements you developed during your time in the role. If you are short on paid experience, don’t be afraid to include relevant voluntary work.Clinical Skills & Experience
Depending on your specialty, you may want to add a “clinical skills” portion. This should supplement your work history and offer more information about any clinical experiences and skills that are relevant to the new role.Management & Leadership Experience
This section is a great space to include any other pertinent information that doesn’t quite fit into the other sections, such as:
- Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
- Additional courses & training completed
- Conference presentations
- Clinical audit projects
- Teaching experience
- Membership of professional organisations
In addition to giving employers a more well-rounded view of personality, including your interests and hobbies allows you to demonstrate any additional skills you have developed that will improve your ability as a doctor. It also gives you an opportunity to highlight any voluntary and community-focused projects that you have worked on.Referees
A referee is an individual that a potential employer can contact for a character reference. Generally candidates provide the names and contact details of two or three referees. Always make sure you get someone’s consent before listing them as a reference. Some examples of people you can ask to be your referee include:
- Former employers
- Teachers, lecturers or tutors
- Senior clinicians
How to Get the Language Right When Writing Your Medical CV
1. Ensure that there are no errors in your spelling and grammar. Oftentimes, employers will toss any applications with blatant mistakes. Ask friends and family to cast an eye over your application and don’t rely solely on spellcheck.
2. Mirror the language of the job posting. Many organisations now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) which scan applications for relevant keywords. This means that CVs featuring particular terms from the job ad may have a higher chance of progressing to the next stage.
3. Write in a professional, positive, and confident tone.
4. Ensure that your verb tense is consistent throughout the document.
5. Be concise. Avoid long, flowing sentences and flowery language.
Writing A Medical CV: Formatting Tips
1. When it comes to formatting and layout, consistency is key. For a neat look, ensure that the fonts, margins and spaces are the same throughout.
2. Stick to standard fonts that can be read on all computers such as Arial, Calibri, and Times New Roman.
3. Avoid the temptation to reduce the font size so you can fit more on to the page. Go for a font size of at least 11-12 to ensure readability.
4. Decrease the margin size to give yourself more space.
5. Use headings and bullet points to neatly organise your text.
Studied Medicine Abroad?
If you have studied medicine abroad, you may have to make some additional considerations. Firstly, you may need to include the details of the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). If you can, you should also try to prioritise any experience you have gained in the UK. If you have trained in one of our European partner universities, you can avail of our job seeking support services for more advice on how to write your CV for a UK-based role.