I know you must be excited about how to proceed now that you’ve completed a series of hurdles to get to where you are now. The next obstacle to face: getting a job. This is not an easy task. Sure, far be it from me to tell you that there are not thousands of job openings available and that the NHS is not hoping that many doctors apply, but there is one thing you must keep in mind- how you create a perfect CV for NHS jobs to present yourself is extremely important.

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Why do I need a CV for NHS jobs then?

So you may be asking yourself that already. Not every job advert asks for a CV, but some do, and there is no harm your keeping one handy just in case, especially if you get called in for a job interview, or an HR wants it for documentation.

Also going through this article you will find out what things makes a difference in your NHS jobs application. It can also help you populate answers in the online application form in your NHS jobs profile.

Different parts of the CV

Ensure your CV is professional, succinct, and well-laid out. The skeleton of your CV for NHS jobs will consist of:

  1. A header
  2. The objective/ Profile
  3. Your educational qualifications
  4. Any training courses/certifications
  5. Medical experience/jobs held
  6. Research/ Audit/ Clinical governance done
  7. Teaching experience
  8. Management/leadership experience
  9. Team working
  10. Volunteer work/ Extracurricular experience
  11. Linguistic qualifications
  12. Skills
  13. Interests
  14. References

The list what I’ve made here is of my own making; feel free to work with the order you feel comfortable with. If you’ve noticed, you can fill a few of these headings with what you’ve put in your NHS jobs profile. The only difference is that there is no word limit here. Also, you might be wondering I don’t have this or that, what do I write here- no worries. I’ll cover everything to the best of my ability.

1. Header

Let’s start with the header. It is made up of-

  • Name
  • Address
  • Contact no
  • Email

It would be ideal to ensure you have a professional email, something preferably with your name in it rather than a ‘fun’ email. For instance, try for an email like dr.john.doe@gmail.com versus party_all_nite@hotmail.com. It would also be a good idea if you were to provide a local UK mobile number and address. Please ensure the address you provide can be proved by a tenancy agreement or a letter or a something to that extent as your employer may need it to be verified. If you can’t manage that, just give any address that you can prove (home address is absolutely okay).

2. Objective / Profile

Next is the objective. What you need to explain here is, briefly, what you’ve done so far (related work experience) and what you hope to do in the future, and why you are applying for this job; a summary, a quick look. For example,

“I have completed my internship training/worked as a medical officer/ [your post] for [duration] at [hospital name]. I rotated through various specialties/ worked in [this] department. Out of all these specialties/ During working there, I discovered my interest in [that] field because this offers [reason]. This is why I’m applying for this job. Being organised and working hard, I want to see myself as a better doctor in the years to come.”

Sharp. Simple. Short.

You will get to explain the whole thing in the following headings, but this introduction gives the reader a fair idea about you just at the start.

3. Educational Qualifications

Isn’t it just a boring table with columns and rows?

Yes and no. You will definitely put everything in your CV for NHS jobs in a table, but there are so many ways you can format it to stand out and get your information across. For example,

  • Make a border less table, everything looks well aligned minus the ugliness of the crowded lines.
  • Put the years you obtained your degrees in the first column rather than your degree or institution.
  • Bold the degree names, and write the institution’s name under that, and the year you obtained it in another column in the same row.

You can follow past to present or present to past. I personally think present to past is a better idea.

How it looks on my CV

4. Training courses / Certifications

Same thing goes like educational qualifications. Make a table preferably as the same format as above.

There is always a debate about whether or not to attend any sort of a BLS course beforehand to bolster the CV for NHS jobs. One can argue that it is a waste, but I found more response in my interviews after doing one, and it only cost £35 to attend for a validity of one year. Follow this link to sign up for an Adult Basic Life Support course. Courses like ILS/ALS/ALERT can be done after you’ve started working as many trusts cover the cost, but if you still wish to complete them, ensure they are ResusUK certified.

If you’re taking ALS soon, check out our post on how to prepare for ALS.

Click the photo to take a FREE course which will guide you on taking online courses.

I have no certifications/training courses!

It’s completely fine. You can just drop this heading and move on to the next one.

5. Medical Experience

This is where you get the chance to explain at length what you told in your profile at the beginning. Here also you can take that present to past approach. Be sure you mention the following things:

  • Your post
  • The hospital that you’ve worked in
  • Duration of your job
  • Your job description there, i.e. what you did there. Make it a bulleted list. You can face a difficulty here sounding very repetitive with “I did that….”, “I followed up patients…”, “I performed these procedures…”.
    Try dropping the “I” here;
    “Admitted patients…”, “Performed this…”, “Communicated with people…”, “Helped junior colleagues…” – it tells the same story but comes across as more professional.

One job experience can follow another. Follow the same pattern of describing all your medical experiences in your CV for NHS jobs.

6. Research/ Audit/ Clinical governance experience

Again here, if you don’t have it, you don’t have it. Skip it. Yes, these make you a better candidate, but if you didn’t do it back when you had a chance to do it, what can you do now? You will have greater chances to involve yourself in these activities when you start working in the UK. Audits from back home will also be accepted. If you’re unsure on where to start, see our article on understanding audits and QIPs.

During the interview, if you are asked what do you think you need to improve about yourself? Or what do you think your shortcomings are? – you can just take this opportunity and say you need to take part in audits and research more.

I’ll advise you to read up about audit, research, clinical governance, and related topics and how it helps health care both clinically and non-clinically.

I would highly recommend purchasing and reading the book Medical Interviews: A Comprehensive Guide to CT, ST & Registrar Interview Skills

7. Teaching Experience

If you have a formal teaching qualification you can mention here with the experience of teaching. But even your informal experience of teaching undergraduates during your ward rotations can also be also mentioned here. You should include when you taught and what you taught them. If it’s informal, there is obviously no proof, but you can still mention it here.

Your NHS jobs profile must have a paragraph there about this. Just work on that as there is no word limit now.

8. Management & Leadership Experience

Same as the NHS jobs profile. If you find it difficult how to write it, here are some tips:

You can give one or two example, elaborating-

  • The situation- what happened,
  • The task that needed to be done – the challenge,
  • What you did- your action that proves the point,
  • The response- the outcome of your action.

I’m sure if you’ve worked as a doctor anywhere, you can find multiple examples in your life. Just word it nicely and follow the above skeleton.

9. Team work experience

These actually create the bulk of your CV for NHS jobs. No, these aren’t NOT important. This, including management and teaching experience, paints a picture of how you are as an employee in the workplace.

Follow the same skeleton above to write one or two examples where you’ve showed you’re a good team player.

10. Volunteer work/ Extracurricular experience

If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

Just make sure to follow the same format as you’ve explained your medical experience.

11. Languages

You know what languages you are fluent in. Also add languages where you have limited  to moderate proficiency.

12. Skills

No, don’t talk about your football/basketball skills here. It’s nearly at the end of your CV, and to say it bluntly, you need to sell yourself a bit further. The things that should populate your “Skills” heading are unknowingly given to you. The job description and person specification. Yes, that document has a list of skills that they want from you, it can be anything starting from good communication skills to being tech savvy. Read that and fill this section up accordingly.

If you don’t know where to find the job description and person specification please look here how to apply for jobs in the NHS, to see a breakdown of a job advert.

13. Interests

The final personal touch. Now, you can talk about football/ basketball/sports and all. Movies, music, dance, art & culture- anything that you are interested in or anything that relieves your stress- goes here.

Just a tip here, keep it short and professional. You’re not writing a letter to your friend or a dating profile.

14. References

Personally I don’t like the idea of writing all my reference details if not requested specifically, as those are privileged information among myself, my employer’s HR and my referees.

Just type “Available upon request”, which is more than enough. You can always email your referees’ details if they request it later on.

To conclude

It wasn’t that complicated, was it?

The last tip, DO NOT send your CV in a doc/docx format, ALWAYS send it in a PDF format. Foxit reader or most of the readers have the option to make a new PDF from any word document. I personally use Nitro PDF to work with PDFs.

Now that you have a good CV, the only thing that remains is nailing the interview. Check out The Interview: Part 2 of 3 for an introduction to the common interview questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

In NHS jobs online application, all the text boxes have work limit but when you are submitting one written like this, there is no limit. Make sure you keep it succinct.

Be yourself and write your own words. Don’t copy-paste of blindly write whatever you see on different blogs and Facebook posts. That’s a sure way that your CV will look like someone elses’s. Follow different structures and fill those by your own words. Use spell and grammar checking software.

We have seen people write how backward and underdeveloped their country’s healthcare system is and how great UK healthcare is in their supporting information. Completely unnecessary. Also talking about personal circumstances and struggles in life should also not come up in your job application. We have painfully read some supporting information where IMGs are practically begging for a job. Very unprofessional.

No. That is how your CV will be like hundreds others. Follow the headlines in this article and write a few words to a few paragraphs under each title. There you go, you have a template now.

Good luck!

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81 thoughts on “Creating the Perfect CV for NHS jobs”

  1. rishabh singaraju

    mam i have a doubt. Once i clear plab after which i will be in fy-2 training.
    so can i apply for mrcs after completing my fy-2 training.
    If yes then , at which step i will allocated my further training…ie st-1 or st-3?

  2. Savvy Weeramantry

    Hello
    Thank you for the very informative post. Was really useful.
    Would any electives done during medical school outside of the UK have any favorable impact on my CV?

    1. Electives are generally part of the curriculum. If it isn’t for you then getting it won’t necessarily bolster your CV – because in essence it is just part of your medical degree.

  3. Malikkah Malhotra

    What is valid research, elective, workshop, seminar, extracurricular that I can do during mbbs? How do I gather proof for my participation? My university doesn’t provide certificates for these.

    1. A proof of a research is the publication. A proof of a workshop, seminar is the participation certificate. An elective will also have some acknowledgement. It does not always have to come from the university for everything that you do.

  4. Femi Olorunfemi

    Thank you for this helpful information.
    If I have been working in the same private hospital for the past five years, and also volunteer in a mission clinic, would it be fine to have just two references from them?
    Other places I worked are 5-9 years ago.

    1. That should be fine. Generally they ask you to cover only last three years of your professional experience. But NHS jobs require you to put three referees i.e three persons to give you references.

  5. Virginia Persus

    Hi! Supposing I graduate from my med school and immediately take the PLAB route (which would be MLA by the time I actually graduate), what would I put under medical experience in my CV? Does internship count? Because, I am assuming that I give my PLAB1 and then PLAB 2 and then apply to the NHS- all of this right after my internship. So, what exactly should I put under medical experience?

  6. Ali Razeghian

    Hello, thanks for useful informations..
    Would be my cosmetic job( botox, filler, etc) as a medical work experience?

    1. If it is relevant to the job you are applying for. But it definitely shows finesse and good communication skills. Present it from that angle.

  7. Hello ma’am/sir ..I am fourth author in one of publication I did during my intern year..will this give me any points in my portfolio? Or is it necessary to be first/second author only? Kindly guide me.

    1. Fourth among how many named co-authors? Also is it a PubMed-cited original research publication or PubMed-cited editorial, review, case report, letter, etc? Which training you want to apply to- as different application has different scoring criteria on publications.

      1. shreeya nikam

        fourth of 6 co authors.. its a pubmed cited original research paper in field of gynae… I’m planning to apply for O & G.

        1. I could not find any specific score for being a co-author of a PubMed cited original research publication in O&G but definitely, it will have some value in your application.

  8. do we need to have hospital experience for nhs jobs?
    is it ok if i have a work experience of a private clinic?
    also, do we need references from every places we have worked in?

    1. NHS jobs does not mandate any clinical experience. But having clinical work experience in a hospital makes you a better candidate for a job than another applicant with no clinical work experience. Public or private matters less, the nature of the experience matters more.

  9. Assalamualaikum and thank you for this informative writing. I wanted to know if i can add any participation of health campaigns during my MBBS life in the extra curricular section. For example after finishing my second professional exam I participated in a health campaign by joint efforts of the US air force and Bangladesh air force for 7 days as a translator. Does that help here or is it irrelevant?

  10. Would it be fine if I get the lors explaining procedures/experience I had from the Hod and senior consultants of the departments I have worked as I have worked in 4 hospitals including my internship year. So, maintaining a log book would be really difficult now.

    1. You can keep the LORs as proof if they particularly mention your proficiency in the procedures that you will mention in the list.

    1. No. It is not mandatory. But as a rule of thumb your references should cover the last three years of your professional work.

  11. Apoorav Mahajan

    Is it so that there is job saturation for doctors in the nhs now . As the applicants for plab and passing candidates show a huge amount of jump in recent years

  12. So.. if all my medical experience is my internship year, would it be wise to mention other non medical work experience or irrelevant courses in a different section in my CV? experiences that i think shaped a part of who i am, like for example i worked as a customer service representative talking all day to UK customers which got me accustomed to different accents.i also hold a certificate as a certified fitness instructor.. you get the idea.. where would i fit these experiences in a medical CV?

    1. In your supporting information you can talk about your other interests and skills that makes you who you are. These kind of non-medical accomplishments/interests fare well at the end of your CV with a title ‘Interests’.

  13. Thanks for pointing this out. When we booked BLS, we booked it through the ResusUK website, but now it seems like that is not the case.
    I am sure the course that is linked in the article by Bart’s City Lifesaver should suffice for BLS.

  14. I only have internship experience. Should i break it down into different depts. and sub depts. for work experience or just club it all together?

  15. Hi…Are we suppose to mention our GMC Registration No.on CV? Secondly, the CV should comprise of how many pages ideally?

    1. Yes, add your GMC registration number, if you are GMC registered.
      As many pages you need, there is no restriction.

    1. You don’t have to. Your dates in clinical work should say indirectly. There is no need to point it out.

  16. AhmedYousef89

    Thank you so much. Such a helpful topic and I really benefited a lot improving my CV.
    Though, I have simple question, Should I attache a photograph in my CV? I have heard conflicting opinions so far

    1. People you’ve worked with in the past or who know you well enough to attest to your personal character.

  17. Hi, in the training courses/certifications section, how useful would a BLS/ACLS course accredited by the American Heart Association be? Is it better to do a course by AHA in my home country or do one certified by ResusUK?

  18. Hi,
    I am currently looking for jobs at the nhs website and most jobs adverts are for a fixed term of 4-6 months. Is it wise to apply for these positions. What will happen to my visa status after the term ends? Do i have to come back to my country if i dont find another job? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Go for jobs with longer contracts or the jobs where there is possibility of extension. And yes, last 2-3 months of the job you need to start looking for other jobs if there is no possibility of extension. If no further jobs found and your visa is about to expire, you need to come back and look for jobs again.

  19. Hi,
    How long does it usually take after a job vacancy closes, to find out whether or not you have been shortlisted?
    I got registration on 25.01.19. I have not yet gotten a single interview..

    1. It’s hard to tell. You can contact the person to contact and ask if you were shortlisted if you are looking forward to any job.

  20. This is not an easy task. Sure, far be it from me to tell you that there are not thousands of openings available and that the NHS is not hoping that many doctors apply, but there is one thing you must keep in mind- how you present yourself to them is extremely important.
    (( i didnt understand you .. aren’t there thousands of jobs and the nhs has doctors shortage ??! ))

    1. What getting a job may not be an easy task?
      1. There are not many jobs! – Which isn’t true.
      2. NHS is not hoping that many doctors will apply! – Which is also not true.
      But it may not be an easy task just because you fail to present yourself according to their standard and format even though you have it.
      I hope it is clear now.

  21. abeeressakarjikar@gmail.com

    if i helped out with an inhospital audit….does that count? its not national level or anything…..just within the hospital for the OBGYN department…..should i be mentioning this

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