General advice, recommendations and layout tips for your Curriculum vitae
A good CV is important.
It is important because it is often the first thing a prospective employer will see when you show interest in a post or apply for a job. Curriculum Vitae loosely translates to mean “the course of your life”. It should tell the story of you, your education, professional history and job qualifications with a strong emphasis on why you are the best person for the role you are applying for. It should be relevant, clear and concise.
A doctors CV is slightly different in layout and content from the CV of other professionals. The advice and help below comes from many experienced doctors and professionals with years of experience looking at CVs. Read and take note!
Ok, so lets start with a few basics. You should view your CV as a tool for selling yourself… and you are the product on offer! First impressions are so important and often your CV will be the first thing prospective employers will view. Their opinion of you may largely be determined by your CV even before they have met you. It must demonstrate your professionalism, commitment and suitability for the post you are applying for.
Advantages of applying in FY2
Well, most jobs now require applicants to complete an online form (e.g. Oriel and NHS Jobs), so why do you need a CV at all?
You will need one if applying for university, fellowship, consultant or locum posts. Many places also require doctors to produce one as part of their portfolio assessment, ARCP or appraisal. Even if you don’t need a CV, the elements of a good CV are the same as that of a good application so this advice applies to application portals too.
So you see it is important!
Tailoring your CV
A good CV should make it easy for the recruiting body to determine whether you have the skills and experience for the post. You should match your skills and experience to the person specification for the post you are applying for.
Think of your CV as a stepping stone to being invited for interview, where you will have the opportunity to elaborate in more detail on your career to date. For some jobs, the first time they will see you CV is at the interview itself.
You should tailor your CV to the specific role you’re applying for. There are a number of ways to do this:
- Elements of your CV that match the job description / person specification should be re-prioritised to the top so that they are seen first.
- Elements of your CV that are less important to the job should be moved further down and if irrelevant should be removed completely.
- Sell yourself as much as possible and don’t be afraid to exclude anything that is irrelevant to your application.
- Aim to keep your CV no longer than 4 sides of A4 paper, although extra pages may be added to list research / publications. Quality is more important than quantity.
- Keep the font size 11pt or larger and use the same font throughout (Small fonts may mean that you could fit more information in but it is pointless if the reviewer cannot read it while skim-reading). Avoid bold, italics, and underlining as this draws attention away from the content of the CV and makes it more difficult to read. AVOID SHOUTING AT THE READER (do not use all capitals for anything but abbreviations).
- Keep the layout, spacing and structure consistent throughout. Bullet points are much better than paragraphs of text which can appear daunting to the reader and may be overlooked when skim-reading.
- As a general rule, only state achievements gained within the last 5 years. Interviewers will not be interested in your A level results or school prizes etc…
- Keep it organised, logical and easy to read or skim-read.
- Cover letters should not be included unless specifically asked for. A contents page is not usually necessary unless your CV is particularly long.
- Ensure it is accurate. A wrong date or unexplained ‘gap’ in your training is surprisingly easy to spot and at best makes you look disorganised. At worst if information is found out to be false you will lose out on your application and may be referred to the General Medical Council.
- Make sure you relate any activities and achievements to your skills/attitudes/knowledge gained. Interviewers are more interested in this than what it was you actually did.
- Keep your CV design personal. Do not copy others. It should reflect who you are as a person
As long as you follows these rules, there is no right or wrong way to write a CV. It is always a good idea to get it checked by a colleague before sending it to an employer or showing it at interview.
Essential (ish) requirements
- Audit experience – radiology and non-radiological audit
- Demonstrate a clear interest in radiology
- Evidence of Personal Development Portfolio (PDP)
- Commitment to a career in radiology
- Evidence of radiology attachment / taster week
- Formal teaching experience both in radiology and non-radiological
- Presentation – local to international level
- Radiology projects
- Radiology research
- MRCS/MRCP examinations – any stage
- Attendance at radiological courses / events
- Awards, distinctions, prizes.
Personal and contact information
- Full name / Address / Tel (ensure your voicemail message is appropriate) / Mobile / Email (work/home) / Date of birth / Drivers licence status (full, clean) / GMC status and number / Medical indemnity number / Current training grade / Membership of other professional bodies (subscriptions to societies such as BMA should not be included) (Note: Some people also like to include a small photo of themselves)
- Brief overview about you and why you are suitable for the post (e.g. One sentence summarising your background, training and skills. One sentence summarising your current role and activities. One sentence summarising your aims, short and long term goals.)
- Qualifications / Medical degree / Other degrees including any prior to medicine (Note: Include the year and organisation. If you received a merit or honours, state this also)
Bursaries, Prizes and Awards
- International / national / regional (Note: Highlight the most pertinent that relate to the position you are applying for)
Work placements / Employment
- Start and end dates (exact) / Medical specialty and grade / What you learnt / Reasons for any career gaps (Note: Put these in time order starting with the most recent first)
Courses, Meetings and Conferences
- Only include the most recent and relevant courses
Audit & Research
- Completed / Ongoing / When and where presented
- Document clearly the journal, DOI and Pubmed index
- State whether first author vs co-author (research) or lead investigator vs co-investigator (audit) (Note: If you received funding state the amount and the organisation that donated. For quality improvement projects and audits consider succinctly summarising what you were assessing and what your specific role was on the project. If you re-audited, say what change or outcome this brought)
Publications (books, chapters, journals, posters etc)
- International / National / Local (Note: List each one as it would appear in a journal. Consider highlighting your name if more than one author)
- National / Regional / Deanery / Trust-wide / Departmental
- Give your role: Courses helped with / Courses organised
- State your audience: Undergraduate vs Postgraduate
- Teaching courses / degrees
- If possible it’s useful to include details of how you monitor and evaluate the success of your teaching so any feedback or teaching evaluation should also be included
Management and leadership
- Guideline or protocol development / Rota management / Any other involvement at any level
- Impact on the department / trust / national or international
- Reflect on your leadership / management style
Information technology skills
- Competent in the use of Microsoft Word / Microsoft Powerpoint / Microsoft Excel / RIS / PACS etc…
- Achievements outside of work / Charity work / Hobbies / Interests
- List 2-4 with name, job title and contact details (email, telephone and address) (Note: Contact each referee to request a reference for every job application and send them a copy of your CV. They may give you useful feedback on your CV at this point and it also gives you a change to ensure tehir contact details are accurate)
Finalising the CV
A well structured, clear, and concise CV is essential. Once you have prepared your CV, proofread, proofread and proofread some more! Check the spelling, grammar, fonts, spacing and layout. Copy and paste everything into a spell and grammar check (e.g. Microsoft Word). Ask your peers and consultant colleagues to review and provide feedback and amend it where you feel necessary. We would highly recommend printing the CV out as it’s usually much easier to scan for errors on a paper copy.
Always print on high quality paper and use care when binding or stapling sheets together. Presentation is critical and a well presented CV will reflect very well on you, especially if seen amongst other more poorly presented CVs.
Ensure that your CV aligns to the person specification and that all the hard work you have invested during your career is presented in the best possible light. Your CV is something that you should be proud of and be ready to present at short notice to secure the opportunities you need to progress your career.