How to compose a winning CV
Your CV is your first opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer. It should be a snapshot of your career to date, designed to help employers decide whether or not to invite you for a formal interview.
As such, your CV should be up-to-date, concise and well-presented in order to engage, and more importantly hold, the attention of the reader who will no doubt be reading through dozens of CVs.
CV Format and Structure
While your CV should give an overview of your career to date, it doesn't need to be a 40-page document detailing every one of your experiences. CV length will vary depending on your level of experience, but no more than 5 pages is a good target to aim for.
Clarity is vital; use an easy-to-read font – we recommend size 12 Arial or Times New Roman – with slightly larger type for section headings to break the CV up into manageable sections.
What to include in your CV
Although your individual experiences will dictate the content of your CV, you should aim to include the following areas:
• Personal details
• Career Statement
• Education and Qualifications
• Present position
• Career history (ensure that any gaps in employment are accounted for)
• Clinical skills and experience
• Development courses and conferences attended
• Research experience/Publications
• Clinical audit
• Teaching experience
• Management and leadership experience
• Personal interests
The above list is by no means extensive or exclusive, but should be used as a good indication of what you should include in your CV.
One important point to remember is not to embellish, exaggerate or provide false information. You should be prepared to discuss any one of the points listed on your CV at interview.
Don't run the risk of being caught out by a lie; not only will you miss out on a career opportunity, you will also be committing fraud, potentially damaging any opportunities in the future.
Made to Measure
As all applicants will be measured against the selection criteria of the post they are applying for, it is essential that you read the person specification and job description and ensure that your CV addresses all of the desired competencies.
Use the career statement at the beginning of your CV to really drive home your enthusiasm and suitability for the position. Depending on your grade, you should think about the following:
• Salaried GPs: GP registrars or existing salaried GPs applying for a salaried position will need to strike a balance between clinical and management experience. Ensure you highlight your ability to work effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team, with the potential to take on a management role in the future.
• GP partners: If you are applying for a partnership you will have to demonstrate a clear ability to manage staff, communicate with a variety of agencies on clinical and non-clinical matters and deal effectively with financial issues. Whilst your clinical experience should not be forgotten, the emphasis of your CV should be on your management skills.
• Locum GPs: Locum doctors should be prepared to be flexible. Amending your CV for each post applied for will give you a better chance of securing an interview.
A clearly presented, concise and accurate CV is pivotal in securing an interview. Your interview is your opportunity to really go into detail and show off your knowledge and experience.
Ask a colleague to read through your CV to ensure it makes sense, and to check for errors in spelling and grammar. Tailor your CV to the job specification, taking into account all of the qualities and skills that are required.
Use your CV to demonstrate that you possess those skills and to quantify why you, above all of the other candidates, are the best person for the job.
Matt Green is managing director of Apply2Medicine, which offers job application support and management and leadership training courses to doctors.
The article was originally published on Pulse Today.