How to Write a Great CV for Moving to Australia as a UK Junior Doctor
While many jobs are available in Australia, the best ones are very competitive and will have many more applicants than vacancies. So, making your application stand out from the crowd is essential. The best way to do this is with a well-written, carefully tailored CV.
When you apply for a position, your CV will be the first part of your application to be reviewed. It is your main ‘sales pitch’ to help you make an excellent first impression and get you through to the interview stage.
Since we want to help you advance to the interview stage every time, in this article, we will:
👉 Explain when you will need a CV
👉 Remind you of the key principles and structure of a great CV
👉 Explain how you can adapt a generic CV for Australia
⏰ When will I need a CV?
Regardless of which of the four routes to finding a job in Australia you take (see our breakdown here), you will need to submit a CV as one of the first steps in the process. So, as you are preparing your application, you should be working on your CV in parallel so that it’s ready to go when you apply.
📜 What is the purpose of my CV?
As a UK doctor applying for jobs in Australia, your CV should excite the reader about working with you and be keen to secure an interview with you as soon as possible.
It does that in three key ways:
✅ Clarify that you are eligible to work in Australia and for jobs at their hospital (see more on this below)
✅ Demonstrate your previous experience, your scope of practice, and the skills and competencies which will make you an asset to their hospital
✅ Show your motivation and commitment to picking up your life and working in another country and the qualities that will allow you to integrate quickly into a new country and healthcare system.
📃 How should I structure my CV?
The overall CV expectations in Australia are much the same as in the UK. The content is similar, and the same principles apply, such as keeping it concise and ensuring formatting and grammar are on point.
For the overall structure and sub-categories, please visit our article on writing a CV for your F3 year. As a recap, here are the key sections which your CV should include:
📞 Personal Details:
Name, address, contact details, GMC number.
📝 Summary Statement
A short sentence or two summarising your current position, your interests and what kind of work you are looking for. This may also include your career aspirations, depending on which type of job you are applying for. A good template to start with is:
“I am a British Emergency Medicine doctor, currently working at an PGY4 level in the NHS in the UK. I have a passion for Emergency Medicine with a special interest in Paediatric Emergency Medicine, and I am seeking an ED role in Australia starting from February 2023.”
🏥 Clinical Experience
Details of your Foundation Training rotations and key duties. Adjust the focus based on what job you're applying for. See more on how to adjust this for Australia below.
🎯 Skills and Qualities
This section will vary depending on which type of job you are applying for. See below. This is your chance to call out specific skills, procedures, and qualities that are important for the roles you're applying for, and explain how you have demonstrated this in your work.
Medical qualifications, including dates and any distinctions. Mention any other qualifications here too (for example, intercalated degrees, previous degrees, membership exams you may have taken).
Keep this very brief as this is much less relevant than your recent clinical experience. Most people will simply have their A level grades and subjects. You could include the number and grades of your GCSEs if you have room on the page, but it isn’t essential
🥇 Publications and Achievements
This can include publications, audits, prizes, presentations, courses attended and leadership roles, such as on society committees.
Either the details of your referees, or a line to say that references are available on request. Most places will ask separately for your reference details.
🤔 Can I use the same CV for all jobs?
This is a key point which is often overlooked. You should take the time to adapt your CV to the specific specialty and/or job that you are applying to. You want to make the reader feel that you’ve taken the time to do this rather than sending a generic document.
As space is limited, you will need to focus more on the experience and skills relevant to the particular role and remove detail in other areas. This allows your CV to be succinct but packed with the most relevant points to help you land the job.
The best practice is to have a generic “master” CV with all of your experience and accolades, and then for each job application, you can pare this down to focus on the most relevant areas and remove others.
🇦🇺 How should I adapt my CV for Australian applications?
This section will focus on how your CV should be adapted to an application for a job in Australia.
✅ Clarify your personal details
Make sure you include your professional registration number and the country (e.g. GMC, UK) in your personal details section—as they get applicants from all over the world, you need to make clear that you’re from the UK. Ensure your nationality is included here too.
Don’t forget to write your phone number with the appropriate international calling code. For the UK, it is +44 instead of 0 at the start of your number, so 075 becomes +4475.
✅ Explain your commitment to moving to Australia
It’s essential that they understand that you are committed to moving to Australia and have carefully considered the move. Many doctors make speculative applications and then drop out, wasting time for the hospital and creating a gap at short notice.
Use your Summary Statement to explain why you want to pursue work in Australia. Whilst the weather and beaches might be a big part of your reasoning, focus on the professional value of you working there.
Example points you may consider making:
👌 Challenge yourself by working in a country with different disease burdens, epidemiology, demographics, etc. or practising medicine in a rural region with limited access to tertiary services
👌 Working in a different healthcare system
👌 If you have any prior experience in Australia which is relevant, such as a medical student elective, or a period doing medical or clinical research, you may want to reference this in your summary statement too to let your employers know this won’t be your first taste of the Australian workplace.
✅ Make it clear that you’re eligible to work in Australia
Use your Summary Statement to clarify your eligibility for registration with AHPRA under the relevant pathway that applies to you. Many applications are received from doctors who are not eligible, which must be immediately discarded. Add a statement: “I am eligible for AHPRA Registration under the competent authority pathway”.
✅ Clarify your work history
Make sure it’s clear to a non-NHS and non-UK reader what your jobs involved so Australian employers understand your experience correctly, and have a clear idea of what your duties were in that role. For example, if you did an FY1 rotation in Rheumatology, but in reality, the Ward burden was often only 20% rheumatology, and 80% general medicine, you should clarify this.
✅ Carefully sell your experience
This is the best place to ‘sell’ your clinical experience and skills, helping you to stand out from other applicants. This is also important for jobs in Australia, as if you have previous experience within a specialty, you may be considered for a role with more responsibility and higher pay based on your previous experience.
If you are applying to a job where you know the departments you will be working in, focus these efforts on the relevant areas and remove detail from other areas.
Use the “Clinical Experience” section to explain your previous job experience, giving the reader a clear understanding of the scope of your practice.
E.g. if applying to ED
👉 How much time did you spend in resus vs majors vs minors?
👉 Did you attend cardiac arrests or trauma calls as part of the resuscitation team?
E.g. if applying to ICU
👉 Do you have any formal airway or line insertion competencies?
👉 Do you have experience taking referrals or performing critical care outreach reviews?
E.g. if applying to a surgical job
👉 What is your surgical logbook like?
👉 Do you have experience taking referrals?
✅ Make your competencies stand out
It's important that a reader can quickly and easily see which competencies you’ve picked up during your career so far. This gives them confidence that you’ll be able to ‘hit the ground running’ in Australia and be of great value to the department. Use the “Skills and Qualities” section to explain your relevant competencies in detail, especially any additional skills you developed during your rotations which demonstrate how you developed beyond the curriculum.
If you have space, you can also include non-technical skills feedback in the “Skills and Qualities” section. Communication, decision-making, leadership, and teamwork are all essential and desirable skills for doctors but can be difficult to demonstrate on a CV. However, the portfolio requirements for foundation trainees will mean that all doctors will have a bank of feedback from a range of healthcare professionals, so you can use specific positive comments and cite your portfolio as evidence.
✅ Save a little space for other professional achievements
Whilst your clinical experience and skills should take priority, it can be helpful to reference other relevant achievements on your CV, such as publications, presentations, awards, leadership and teaching roles, and audit/QI.
The scoring criteria for job applications in Australia aren’t very transparent. Still, your academic achievements may be given some weighting and hence are worth elaborating on if you have the space. Focus on the most impressive and relevant to the job you’re applying to.
✅ Think about who would be a great referee
You should include details of referees on your CV. Choosing the best referees is essential in ensuring that you get excellent references, which can really help make your application stand out.
✍️ Is there a set template I need to use?
Some states have optional templates for you to use if you are applying through a state application process. Here are the links:
💼 Do I need a CV to submit to AHPRA too?
Once you have a job offer, you must register with AHPRA to get your licence to practice in Australia. At this point, you will also be required to submit a CV to them. Whilst this is also technically a CV, its purpose is only to confirm your eligibility for registration, and it is not viewed by your employer.
Guidance for what needs to be included is on the AHPRA website here. It is crucial to follow their guidance carefully. If there are any issues, you will be asked to correct/edit your CV, which can add several weeks to your processing time for your application for provisional AHPRA registration.
🤓 Will I be required to submit a cover letter too?
In most cases, you will also have the opportunity to submit a cover letter alongside your CV. We’ve written a separate article on this here, which covers what to include and how to structure this.
📚 Continue Reading
🚀 This article is part of Messly's Ultimate Guide to Working in Australia. The guide covers all you need to know as a UK doctor to understand your options, research your move, find work, get registered and move out to Australia.
❓ If you are still weighing up whether a move to Australia is right for you, our article To Aus or not to Aus breaks down the pros and cons, so you can make an informed decision. Read this with Common Questions on Moving to Australia as a UK Junior Doctor.
🤔 Confused about how the grades work in Australia, and which roles you should be applying for? This article breaks down the grade system and explains which roles
might be suitable for you.
✈️ There are four routes to finding a job in Australia. In this detailed guide, we explain how each works and the pros and cons of each, so you can kick-start your search for your dream job Down Under
This article was written with input from Dr Prakhar Srivastava, a British junior doctor who moved to Melbourne as an F3.
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