Why bother?

Virtually every job you apply for will need an online application and won't ask you for a CV. So what's the point of having one in the first place?

When you go online to apply for a job, you'll need to give some standard information about you and your history - identity, contact details, education, schooling, qualifications, present position and past career history.

There's no point in reinventing this for every application, so a CV means you can cut and paste all this each time you go online. Employers don't need to know about your age, marital status and so on.

Your experience and skills

Each application will be competency-based, so your CV should highlight your experience and skills in the areas employers will want to know about.

Keeping reflective journals during your studies (and beyond) will help provide you with examples of the competencies employers will be looking for, such as team-working, communication skills, clinical experiences, your patient focus, getting help when you are unsure what to do, holding difficult conversations, reporting patient safety concerns and so on.

Remember, never write anything that might allow a patient to be identified.

Your wider contribution

Your CV is the best place to keep a list of your publications in the format required by employers. This needs to include the PMID (PubMed Identifier). Some employers want to know about your interests, but be sure to select interests that tell potential employers something useful about you and your abilities.

Referees

Always ask your referees for their consent before you give their details to a potential employer. Give your referee a copy of your CV as well as the job description of the post you're applying for.

Top tips:

  • Be concise
  • Be consistent in style
  • Explain any gaps in your career
  • Think about what your employer wants to know rather than what you want to tell them
  • Give evidence to back up your statements about achievements, experience and skills. Keeping a journal will help you collect this evidence.

This article was correct at publication on 13/08/2015. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

Dr Mike Roddis

BSc MB ChB MBA FRCPath

Director, MJ Roddis Associates Ltd.

Mike, a former pathologist, has worked as a medical director in the NHS and in the independent healthcare sector. He now works with NHS trusts and others to help them improve the performance of doctors. In particular, he works with individuals to improve their interpersonal and professional skills, and with teams of clinicians who seek help to improve their performance. He is an experienced investigator of conduct and capability issues in consultants, works as a consultancy adviser to the Royal College of Pathologists and sits on the advisory board of CORESS (a confidential reporting system for surgery).

See more by Dr Mike Roddis