Intended for healthcare professionals

Career Focus

Making the shortlistGeneral practitioner and freelance journalist Naomi Craft devises a sharp curriculum vitae …… and Patrica Scriven, an associate adviser, explains how she would rate it

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 09 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:S2-7066

General practitioner and freelance journalist Naomi Craft devises a sharp curriculum vitae …

  1. Naomi Craft, general practitioner and freelance journalist
  1. London
  2. University of Birmingham, B15 2TT

    When your curriculum vitae (CV) lands in the assessor's lap it has probably got less than two minutes to convince the reader of your suitability for the job. A good first impression is vital and should be combined with enough relevant detail to put you on the shortlist. A CV literally describes the history of your life. It aims to chart your personal and professional qualifications and make them seem relevant to every new job.

    Composing your CV may take an initial outlay of time and effort. But considering that the average doctor will change jobs at least three times within two years of qualifying, and that most will need to apply for several jobs before they are appointed to a new position, any extra time spent on planning and storing the master copy will pay off.

    Several sources give information about what to include in your CV.(1)(2) Your reasons for applying for the job should be on the front page. Most juniors go down several paths before they find their niche, and it needs to be clear why you are applying for the particular position if there is an apparent change of direction. Assessors will be looking for specific things - such as the minimum required experience- and not others- leave out your O level grades.

    Some things from the past may point towards your commitment to a specialty, such as a medical school prize or a subject studied during an elective. Other jobs may have given you experience that highlights your ability to deal with responsibility and stress: perhaps you have deputised for a senior colleague or worked in the busiest unit in the country.

    CV learning points

    • Your curriculum vitae must be well presented; poorly prepared curriculum vitae will be rejected

    • Read the person specification carefully. You must have the …

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