CV Preparation

The Productive CV

How to write a CV that will get you interviews.

Your Curriculum Vitae is the most financially important document you will ever write. When it works, the doors of opportunity open for you. When it doesn’t work, you don’t either, so it needs your full attention. Your CV acts as a powerful ambassador, opening the doors for interviews, the questions interviewers will ask and the ultimate goal, job offers.

Our consultants will show you how to write a CV that effectively targets your desired jobs and secures the interviews you need to get them, in a few easy steps. We shall start with a few tips for initial preparation, ideas for the research you need to do and then the easy bit, writing the document.

The key to make your CV discoverable: keywords and presentation

To get shortlisted for a job interview, your CV must be both discoverable and productive. Most CVs for job applications are submitted and stored electronically in large data bases with hundreds, perhaps thousands of others. They are retrieved from these data bases by recruiters running searches for candidates using key words and phrases relevant to the job, as you would run a google search.

To ensure your CV consistently arrives at the top of job applicant searches, you must ensure that it contains the essential key words for each job application. Even the best CV without the right key words will remain at the bottom of the data base. Below we shall look at how you can find the right key words but first, a few tips for CV presentation. This too must be search engine friendly and the way to ensure that is to write a plain CV in standard format avoiding photographs, graphics, complex format and tables. Present the important information, clearly laid out, with relevant headings.

In summary, focus on keywords and presentation to ensure CV discovery by recruiters, and then concentrate on content and the 10 second test to get shortlisted.

Pass The 10 Seconds Test

After your CV lands at the top of a search, 10 seconds is the average length of time a recruiter will devote to its initial screening for key job criteria.

Your CV must be clear, concise and targeted to the job. Eliminate all irrelevant information.

Getting Started: Keyword Research

Job titles and the job descriptions are the two sources of keywords for your CV.

  • Job Title: target the job title used in the country or company where you are applying to work. For example, General Practitioners in the UK, Ireland and Australia are called Family Physicians in Canada and the USA and Family Medicine Consultants or Specialists in the Middle East. The wrong job title will make your CV discoverable for jobs you don’t want.
  • Job Descriptions: deconstruct target job descriptions for the relevant keywords. Qualifications, skills, experience, achievements, success profile, targets, outcomes are all sources of keywords which must be in your CV to ensure that it is found for the jobs you want.

The Presentation

The golden rule here is don’t do anything unusual. A standard, well laid out document on a word or pdf file works best with data base search engines.


  • Design a clear, easily readable structure and consistent layout.
  • Spell check thoroughly
  • Ensure there are no errors of content.
  • Include a summary of qualifications, skills and experience.
  • Use standard fonts

Do not:

  • Use standard templates (these are too common).
  • Use landscape page layout (too awkward to read).
  • Use more than 2 fonts (too messy).
  • Add images, tables or graphics (search engines penalise)
  • Use coloured text (black is best).

The Content

The content of the CV must be tailored for each job application, targeting the key job criteria and success factors in a succinct, neatly set out document. Start with a summary of your qualifications, professional licence status, experience, skills and achievements and then provide further detail in the body of the CV, showing precisiely how they will benefit the employer.

Where possible, add examples of transferrable skills important for the job success: effective team working, efficient time management, excellent communication skills, analytic problem-solving abilities, creativity and leadership. Demonstrate perseverance and resilience. 

Once the CV is complete, run the spellcheck, draft a cover letter and send it off. 

Register for Medical and Health Jobs Worldwide

Register with Odyssey for the latest exciting jobs in the global healthcare sector. Out consultants provide unrivalled expertise and recruitment services to help you identify and get the right job to propel your career.