As medical staff shortages continue plaguing the UK healthcare system, the need to fill vacancies has never been more critical. But with hiring requirements no less rigorous, a stand-out medical CV is still essential to emphasise the ideal match between your talents and desired position.
Resume.io is equipped to help with a wide range of job search resources. That includes a growing collection of occupation-specific writing guides, paired with expert CV examples.
The guide you’re reading now is geared specifically to medical professionals. It’s backed by wording from a medical CV example that you can adapt to your own situation.
Here are the main topics that we’ll discuss:
- What medical professionals do and their job prospects
- How to structure a CV — the backbone of components and the best format
- Vital signs of success in each CV section (header, profile, employment history, education and skills)
- Core CV layout, design and formatting tips.
What do medical professionals do?
Doctors require a medical degree, and the majority of medical graduates do pursue careers as a doctor — qualified to diagnose, monitor and treat health conditions. Positions are available in the National Health Service (NHS) and private hospitals, to practice as GPs or specialists.
Otherwise, or in addition to those typical avenues of clinical practice, doctors might hold positions in medical research, academia, scientific journalism, and/or administration. Some doctors are employed with the armed forces, international aid agencies, prisons, research institutes and clinical trial organisations, nursing homes, air ambulance services and pharmaceutical companies.
Medscape survey data indicates that 73% of UK doctors work only in the NHS, 4% work only in private practice, and 23% provide a mix of both practice types.
According to the same survey respondents, overall average earnings for UK doctors dropped by £10,000 to £103,000, between 2018 and 2020.
GPs experienced the sharpest pay decrease of £12,000 to £92,000, while the average income for specialists dropped by £105,000.
Medical job outlook
Using 2020 or latest available data, the British Medical Association (BMA) compared the number of doctors in 20 OECD EU countries. The average ratio for these countries is 3.7 doctors per 1,000 people. The UK ranks 17th on the list with a ratio of 3.03, while England has the second lowest ratio at 2.9.
In a 2021 medical staffing report, the BMA projected that England’s medical workforce growth is 25 years behind other OECD EU countries. At its current trajectory, it will take until 2046 for the NHS to catch up to the current number of practising doctors per 1,000 people.
How to write a medical CV
Few medical positions that interest you will ever be exactly alike, so no two versions of your medical CV should be identical. What all CVs do have in common, however, is this backbone of essential components:
- Employment history section
- Education section
- Skills section
Before taking a closer look at each of these CV parts, let’s elaborate on why it’s important to stay focussed on only one job application at a time. The content of each unique CV you create should precisely match what the hiring organisation needs and wants. In every instance, the requirements listed in the job ad will guide your customised approach.
Including those words or phrases verbatim in your CV will help you avoid rejection by the electronic Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that have become increasingly common to screen online job applications. Hospitals and other large healthcare organisations are especially likely to use such digital screening mechanisms to filter dozens, or hundreds, of CVs flooding in for the same job or many different jobs simultaneously.
Choosing the best CV format for a medical professional
Since professional experience is usually the key medical hiring consideration, your CV should tell a story of career progress that recruiters can easily follow. That means the traditional chronological CV format is the best way to organise your information. Recent and relevant are often synonymous in job applications, so it makes sense to outline your work history, training and education highlights in reverse chronological order
This is also consistent with what online application systems typically require, for example, the NHS website.
If you are venturing into a new area requiring highly specialised expertise — perhaps research, writing or consulting — a hybrid (combination) CV format might work well. It places skills above the employment history section. However, the functional CV format, where skills take precedence, is seldom appropriate for medical candidates.
Your CV header is the focal point for identifying information that hiring managers notice first and can retrieve easily when they want to get in touch — your name, professional title, phone number, and email. Including a LinkedIn URL is also recommended.
Besides visually distinguishing your CV from others, an eye-pleasing header design makes everything else on the page look inviting to read.
This impact is reinforced when your cover letter design matches, notably in the header.
Medical CV profile example
How will your medical colleagues and other health team members benefit if you are hired, along with your patients?
Off the top, your CV profile should speak to the heart of what this employer needs and values most. Your “why hire me?” appeal should reflect what you know about the place, the people and how you would fit in. From that perspective, the profile — sometimes called the summary or personal statement — is a snapshot of your most relevant and relatable qualifications.
Recruiters should feel compelled to read more, while already sensing it would be a big mistake not to shortlist you for an interview. Below is a medical CV sample profile you can adapt for your own situation.
Dedicated and highly-skilled Medical Director and Physician with 15+ years of experience working to strengthen existing client relationships, while also ensuring the development and growth of new client relationships. Adept in overseeing development for a wide range of complex projects across multiple teams.
Employment history sample
Again, let relevance guide your decisions about what to include or omit from your CV’s employment history section. Take another look at the advertised job requirements for your best clues.
Be mindful of keywords from the same source when crafting concisely descriptive bullet points to showcase the work experience that prospective employers are most interested in. Use dynamic action verbs, not only conveying what you did, but how well you did it.
Focus on the value and impact of your contributions and achievements, rather than merely listing job duties. Use numbers to quantify the scope of your work — patient volumes, for example — if not tangible outcomes.
At relatively early career stages, job applicants should be mindful of the overlap between their medical training and work history. Be sure not to overlook the work experience acquired during core medical training (CMt) and the acute common care stem (ACCS) specialist programme.
Below is a medical employment history CV sample you can modify.
Medical Director, LeVance Health Network, City of London
July 2019 - Present
- Work to ensure that the scientific needs of each client account are being met with strategic focus, accuracy, and clinical relevance.
- Participate in strategic planning, safety initiatives, personnel development strategies, and various other operational functions.
- Assist with the development of junior scientific team members.
- Oversee Physician performance and respond promptly to any identified performance issues.
- Work closely with the Senior Vice President of Physician Services and the Business Development teams to promote consistent clinical excellence.
- Participate in the selection process of new physicians and administration team members, overseeing their credentialing process.
Assistant Medical Director, London United, City of London
August 2016 - May 2019
- Provide overall direction, leadership, and management for London United Services.
- Oversee, along with health and wellness leadership, the alignment and execution of global health and wellness strategies.
- Serve as a fully responsible back-up of the Global Medical Director, ready to stand in for all functions.
- Partner with CCOs and provide ongoing communication regarding health initiatives and programs at London United.
- Partner with regional health directors on providing exceptional medical services and programs.
Family Medicine Physician, Bewell Associate Medical Group, City of London
October 2007 - July 2016
- Served as a caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled Family Medicine Physician for almost 9 years, serving thousands of families in the London area.
- Provided evidence-based primary care during in-office and tele-health visits for patients.
- Received the "Family Medicine Physician of the Year" award in 2008, 2012, and 2015.
- Collaborated with team members, other physicians, and various medical professionals to provide exceptional care to all who sought services.
Medical CV education example
The education section of your medical CV is quite straightforward. Again, in reverse chronological order, from highest to lowest level, simply list your medical degree and additional postgraduate training you’ve completed. Include academic awards and honours.
High school information can be omitted. Take a look at our medical CV you can modify.
Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBChB) , UCL Medical School, London
September 1999 - May 2007
Bachelor of Science in Biology, Imperial College London, London
September 1994 - May 1998
CV skills example
The medical skills you bring to bear are as integral to any given job application as your work experience. There will never be enough CV space to list all of the key skills you’ve devoted countless hours to learning and practising.
But be sure to include all of those mentioned in the listed job description — possibly one more ATS-proofing opportunity to use keywords. However, avoid repeating skills already covered in your CV profile, or any that are implied in your work experience descriptions.
Every CV, regardless of occupation, should include a balanced mix of hard skills and soft skills. A medical CV is no exception. The NHS deems the following transferable skills to be especially valuable, well beyond medical school:
- Team working
- Management and leadership
- Planning and organisation
- Time management
- Taking initiative
- Adaptability and flexibility
- Problem solving
Check out a medical CV sample for the skills section below.
- Advanced Knowledge of Science and Medicine Expert
- Quality Control Expert
- Protocol Development and Implementation Expert
- Exceptional Patient Care Expert
- Agile Project Management Expert
- Interpersonal Communication Skills Expert
- Leadership Expert
Resume layout and design
Clean, crisp, and clutter-free is the right professional look for a medical CV that’s inviting to read. This is achievable without taking “scrubbed and sanitised” to the extreme.
- An orderly page layout, divided into cohesive, clearly labelled sections, ensures that recruiters can readily spot essential information in the expected location.
- Strive to optimise the white space offsetting text-dense black blocks. Sticking to the default one-inch margins takes care of this on the outer edges of the page, while adequate line and paragraph spacing allows breathing room throughout.
- Legibility should also guide your CV font choices. Stay with the same font style and size for all body text, and only one compatible style for header text and section titles.
- To alleviate any fears about a “sterile on steroids” visual vibe, a bit of creative leeway is just fine. Sparing graphic touches, and even the odd splash of colour, are an effective antidote to starkness.
Resume.io has the perfect remedy for medical professionals who are unfamiliar with CV document formatting intricacies and too busy to figure it all out.
Leave the layout and design details up to us by using one of our ready-made CV templates with our online builder tool. There’s no easier way to achieve expert-tested winning results.
Bonus benefit: the final version of your CV will be saved as a pdf file, the universally recommended way to preserve all the formatting so documents look exactly the same on the recipient’s viewing screen.
Unless the online application instructions stipulate otherwise, PDFs are the default for uploading your CV online, submitting as an attachment or sharing a link.
Key takeaways for a Medical resume
- The critical need to fill vacant medical positions in the UK takes nothing away from the hiring standards that make it essential for job candidates to have an exceptional CV.
- Whether you are applying through the NHS or to another hiring organisation directly, each version of your medical CV should be tailored to the employer’s specific needs.
- Carefully scrutinise the posted job ad to determine what to emphasise in each CV section, being mindful of keywords to avoid ATS rejection.
- On the same basis, your CV profile should serve as a value proposition for reinforcement in the employment history section and skills list.
- Using a professionally designed CV template is the hassle-free way to create a high-quality document that looks as good as it reads.