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Medical Curriculum Vitae

How do I go about writing my medical CV (curriculum vitae)?


We get emails from doctors asking "how do I write a medical curriculum vitae"? Well here is your answer; Your medical curriculum vitae is an incredibly important document as it represents you as an individual and a professional. It Also contains all the information that will be used by the short listing panel to judge your application and rank it accordingly, so that the best candidates can be invited for interview.


Who is more likely to be invited to a medical interview? An outstanding performer with an average CV or an average performer with an outstanding CV?

Medical curriculum vitaes are not easy to writeIf your medical curriculum vitae is not up to scratch then you may not be ranked appropriately and therefore may not be invited for interview. 

It is important that the junior doctor understands that the medical CV is the key of the future progression of their career. You can think of your medical curriculum vitae as a personal 1 to 1 marketing document. Medical curriculum vitaes are unlike any other form of CV. There are categories, and sections that the assessors will be looking for. If these are not present on your CV you will not score marks, and your application may be harmed. The Oxford Medical CV guide is written by NHS consultants with vast experience in the interview process. It will give you comprehensive information rerding what to put in and what not to enter into your medical curriculum vitae. We hope to help you maximise your chances of success from the beginning by giving you the facts, and important information, about how to prepare and present your CV correctly.


What type of font should I use for my medical curriculum vitae?


Presentation is normally as important as content. The type of font and the size of fonts are therefore important.Many applicants will be applying for each position (3 applicants per ST post is predicted for the 2012 application process) and therefore you want your medical curriculum vitae to be easily readable. The information should be presented concisely so that the assessor can gain the information that they require, and mark your CV against a present scoring template.

Most NHS documents and professional publications use the arial font and this is what we suggest for you to use. Arial size 12 should be used for the main body of your content. When breaking down the content into categories use Headings with a 14 font size. It is also helpful to use bold for the Headings as this breaks down the information into small bite size chunks.


What type of paper should I print my medical curriculum vitae on?


Presentation is important however please don't go over the top. You want your medical curriculum vitae to present you as a professional, and the type of paper that you choose gives insight into who you are. Choosing bright blue laminated paper may reflect your outgoing personality but may not be inline with the advertised position. It may be interpreted as someone who may cause problems and be difficult to manage. For more junior positions there is nothing wrong with standard A4 printing paper. For more senior positions watermarked, heavier paper ( greater than 80gsm) may be appropriate.

We personally like the conqueror make of paper. They have a wide range of business quality professional paper with watermarks. It is nice to handle and gives off the correct type of impression.


How many pages should my medical curriculum vitae be?


It is well known the medical curriculum vitaes do not follow the same rules found in other professions. For example a typical CV for a business type applicant is between three and four pages long. However in medicine CVs for senior medical appointments can be as long as 16 pages. Naturally, the length of your medical curriculum vitae all depend on the level of your training. There are no hard and fast rules that need to be followed. Saying that, it is important to be as concise as possible. There is no point in padding out a CV with material that is irrelevant to make it look longer.

This will simply frustrated those who are assessing your CV and give the wrong impression.

As a general guide the following applies to your medical curriculum vitae


ST 1 applicant's: 3-5 pages
ST 2 applicant's: 5-9 pages
ST 3 applicant's: 9-12 pages

Consultant applicantants 12-16 pages


How frequently should I update my medical curriculum vitae?


Your curriculum vitae indicates your past experiences and medical training. It gives a paper record of everything you have achieved and contains the skills, knowledge and attributes that you may bring to the advertised job. We change jobs frequently as junior doctors and may, at the time of applying for a consultant position, have worked in up to 15 different NHS trusts. Sometimes doctors forget the importance of their CV and fail to update their CV regularly. When it comes to applying for a job they may be digging out a CV that was last used five years ago.


Quite clearly if this is the case then there is a lot of work to be done. For example every meeting, audit, presentation and research paper needs to be presented on your medical curriculum vitae. The easy and simple way to write the perfect medical CV is to constantly update your CV at regular intervals, to reflect what you have achieved at a time when the memory is fresh. When the time comes to apply for the job that you want, a small degree of fine tuning is therefore needed, rather than the major overhaul that most doctors need to perform.

We would therefore advise that every six months you spend one evening updating your medical curriculum vitae adding the content that reflects what you have been doing. If you are reading this and have not regularly updated your CV then don't panic. You will need to put in more time, however with this guide we will help you, and take you through using a structured approach so that you can write a solid CV selling yourself as the professional that you are.


Whom should I get to look at my medical curriculum vitae?


It is important to get feedback about a CV from our colleagues and peers. What you may think is acceptable on content or presentation may actually be quite different from what is recommended. The first step is to write your CV is to include the content that reflects your training and experience during your career. Once you've added the content in to the appropriate sections as described in this guide you should then take time to edit the content and structure in a manner which makes it easy to read and therefore easy to score by the assessors. When you think you have got your CV almost to the point of completion we would advise that you cast your CV under the noses of some of your consultant colleagues. Your consultants have been in the industry for longer than you have. They had been through the interviewing process on many occasions and are likely to have been involved in the appointment process for both junior and senior doctors within their department.

They will therefore be in a position to give your immediate feedback on the content and presentation of your medical curriculum vitae. We recommend that you get feedback from at least two or three consultants. After this you will be able to get a clear idea as to what you should, and shouldn't, Include in your CV which of course should be targeted at your speciality.

It is also interesting to find out where you are in relation to your colleagues. A glance at a friend's medical curriculum vitae with similar training will give you an idea of the competition.

How should I bind my medical curriculum vitae?


Try and remember what the purpose of your CV is. It is to disseminate information concisely to those who will be looking for key points of information. You therefore want the information to be easily accessible. I have seen almost every type of binding possible for CV's, gold clips to book bindings. However in my personal opinion the binding should be simple. Its function is to hold the pages together and make them easily turn so that I can get the information I require and to this end, a simple staple in the top left corner is sufficient.

Do not put multiple staples down the left side of your CV as this restricts the page turning, and makes it difficult to access the information inside. For more senior appointments candidates may choose to spend money on professional presentation folders. I have no objection to these as they are also provide information and insight into the candidate, as long as CV is easily accessible. My advice for senior candidates is that if they are in doubt use the simple approach of a single staple in the top left corner as well.

Should I use a footer? Microsoft word can be used to insert headers and footers into documents. The purpose of the header is normally to insert company Logos. They should therefore not be used for the medical CV. However footers can be very useful. They give a professional edge to word documents, and also serve several functions such as to give page numbers, and remind the reader of your name and qualifications.

If you are unfortunate enough for your CV binding to fall apart whilst being read, the footer which displays the page numbers can therefore be a lifesaver allowing the correct order to be reformed. Try not to put too much information in your footer. A single line with your name and qualifications and page number will suffice.


How should I format my medical curiculum vitae?


Here are some basic instructions as to how to format your CV. What information should I include?

  1. Medical curriculum vitae Front page
  2. Personal information
  3. Qualifications
  4. Medical training
  5. Specialist training
  6. Resuscitation training
  7. Administration and management
  8. Teaching
  9. Research
  10. Publications
  11. Audit
  12. Prizes and awards
  13. Courses and meetings attended
  14. IT skills
  15. List of clinical procedures (optional)
  16. Summary of log book (optional)
  17. Professional memberships
  18. Personal statement
  19. Interests and hobbies
  20. Referees

    So as a summary so far some key points to include are:
  • Font: Arial 14 bold for Headings. Arial 12 for content
  • Sections categorised into bite sized chunks
  • Use the same font throughout the whole document
  • Incorporate tables containing summary of information such as log book data
  • Footer: Use a footer to display your name, qualifications and page number
  • Paper quality: Standard white printing paper for ST applications. More expensive business type paper for consultant applications

The medical CV writing guide covers all the chapters you will require, and is a complete guide to writing your medical cv. This guide has been written by current NHS Consultants with years of experience in the medical recruitment process. It comes with 20 chapters covering every possible aspect of your CV, and also includes a downloadable template so that you can get started immediately. This template is pre-formatted to a set font, page width margins, footer and all the appropriate sections. You can simply start filling our your details into the pre-filled areas and start the process of writing one of the most important documents you will need to prepare.
To read more details purchase our Medical Curriculum vitae writing guide


oxford-medical-blueEstablished in 2004, Oxford Medical Training first gained a formidable reputation for preparing doctors for interview via our Medical Interview Courses which continue to this day. We now offer a range of career-development courses on Communication, TeachingAppraisal and Leadership and Management. We hold regular events throughout the UK and offer distance learning through written materials and online modules. Our open courses, booked directly by doctors themselves, form the bulk of our current work. We also deliver in house training to NHS Trusts and private healthcare organisations and this is a rapidly growing area of our business.