Writing a Good CV

Writing a Good CV | Make a Strong First Impresssion

30th Sep 2015


Few candidates take the time to prepare an outstanding CV. Most send CVs which are untidy, poorly prepared and not specifically tailored to the job for which they are applying. We have therefore prepared this guide, which highlights the important details which need to be considered to get your CV noticed.

The preparation of your CV is crucial to the success of your application. 

A good CV will enhance your chances of progressing to the next stage of the recruitment process. A poorly prepared CV will ensure your rejection.

Your CV will be sent to some of the best medical employers in the world and it is the first point of contact that they will have with you. It is therefore, of utmost importance that this document is well prepared and targeted to the job for which you are applying. 

Key General Facts

  • Competition: popular jobs attract huge numbers of applicants.
  • Recruiters: speed read CVs in less than 10 seconds deciding to accept or reject.
  • ATS Software: store CVs, search for specific keywords and dislike tables.
  • Social Media: 90% of recruiters will review a candidate's social media profiles.

Key Requirements for a Good CV

Initial Preparation:

  1. Job Description: Start with a thorough review of the job description and identify the key skills, qualifications and experience required for the job and the relevant key words.
  2. Align CV to Job: tailor the CV content to the job description and ensure use of the appropriate key words.


  1. Font:  Use 9-12 point traditional font (Times New Roman, Arial etc)
  2. Photographs, Tables, complex formatting:  avoid
  3. Length: 3-5 pages is optimum. Long CVs can be rejected. Further information such as long lists of publications or other academic work can be listed in appendices.
  4. Headings, Sections, Bold, Bullet Points: add emphasis.


  1. Highlights: career goals, key skills and achievements
  2. Structure: logical, concise, relevant
  3. Action Verbs: use strong action verbs such as achieved, developed, managed
  4. Quantify: quantify achievements eg. reduced operative morbidity by 10%
  5. Email: select professional email address
  6. Contact Details: up to date
  7. Social Media: if listed, ensure professional.


We suggest the following structure using reverse chronology throughout.

  1. Summary: 1 paragraph summarising key skills, qualifications, experience, achievements and career goals.
  2. Personal Data: complete data including date of birth and nationality.
  3. Qualifications: list in chronological order with name of awarding institution.
  4. Professional Licenses: list active and inactive licenses.
  5. Membership of Professional Organisations: list appropriate, major ones.
  6. Employment / Practice History: in reverse chronological order starting with present job and describing scope of practice and key responsibilities.
  7. Academic: details of publications, audits and presentations. These can be summarised and listed in full detail in the appendices.
  8. Leadership / Managerial: list duties.
  9. Teaching: list teaching, training and mentoring duties.
  10. Languages: level of written and spoken language fluency.
  11. Interests: personal interests outside work.
  12. References: list or state that will be supplied on request.


Common Reasons for CV Rejection

  • Poor Content: CV not tailored to the job, lack of key words.
  • Carelessness: Spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Poor formatting: photographs, tables, excessive length, poor presentation.
  • Unprofessional Email: eg. packofhuskies@hotmail.com.
  • Unprofessional Social Media: inappropriate content on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google + etc



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