How to Write the Perfect CV for Your F3 Year
When looking for jobs as an F3 doctor, whether for temporary or long-term positions, you'll almost certainly have to submit a CV as part of the application process.
Writing a CV at the end of your F2 year can be challenging, especially because many of you will be doing it for the first time since starting medical school.
When writing your CV, it’s important to think specifically about the job – or types of jobs – you’re applying for, and tailor it as much as possible. For example, a CV written for a temporary position, such as locuming, should differ significantly compared to a CV written for a fellowship or long-term trust post.
This article will provide detailed guidance for writing these various different types of medical CVs, as you begin to search for work ahead of your F3 year, to help you land the job you really want.
The Key Principles
1) Cover all bases. There are basic things that every CV must include. See below.
2) Keep it brief. Ideally stick to one side of A4. Any more and the reader might lose focus or interest. See tips before for where to focus to maximise your impact with limited space.
3) Make it tailored. Popular roles might get 50 or more applicants, so you need to stand out! Make sure it's specific to the type of job you’re applying for, and that it highlights the kind of skills and qualities they’ll be looking for. That means you'll have multiple versions for different positions... keep a more generic 'master' copy of your CV saved, so you can re-use it in future and tailor it to all the various jobs you'll be applying for more easily.
4) Hold off on the photo. Adding a photo to your CV has become popular recently, especially for overseas candidates. This can lead to stereotypes and bias, so unless asked for a photo, don’t include one.
5) Job overseas? If you are planning to work abroad, it is sensible to include in your initial statement the reasons why you wish to work in that country and demonstrate enthusiasm and commitment to staying there for the duration of the job
The Basic Structure of a Doctor CV
All medical CVs will need to include the following:
📞 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 an F2 Doctor currently working at Southampton General Hospital. I have a passion for Emergency Medicine with a special interest in Paediatric EM, and I am seeking a 12-month Clinical Fellowship in ED starting in August 2020 after I complete Foundation Training”
🏥 Clinical Experience. Details of your Foundation Training rotations and key duties. Adjust the focus based on what job you're applying for. If it's an ED fellowship that F2 rotation should be given much more detail than others. You could also include any previous relevant part-time work you have done in this section, or make a new section for previous work if you have extensive work experience prior to Foundation Training.
🎯 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.
📜 Qualifications. 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).
🤓 Education. 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.
❓ References. 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.
Tailoring your CV for Locums
The aim of a CV, when looking for locum work, is to inform the employer that you’ll be able to hit the ground running when you arrive, and to prove you’re adaptable to new environments, especially if you've not worked in that Trust before.
Any specialties you’re hoping to get shifts in should be mentioned specifically in a short statement at the beginning of your CV, and you should emphasise any previous experience you have in that specialty as well. If your preferred specialty changes during the year, update your CV accordingly!
If you’ve done some locum work alongside your foundation training, it may be useful to mention which specialties and Trusts you've locumed in before (even if through the Bank) to demonstrate your flexibility and that this isn't your first time working as a locum doctor.
Your 'skills and qualities' section should highlight characteristics that are desirable in a locum and bank worker. For example, your ability to settle into new teams quickly, to follow guidelines in different Trusts, to be efficient, and to communicate effectively.
Your 'achievements' section can be kept relatively brief, as the employer will be more interested in whether you’ll be able to start work immediately in an efficient and safe manner, rather than how many publications and audits you’ve previously done.
Tailoring your CV for Fellowships and Long-Term Posts
The aim of a CV, when looking for more long-term work, can vary depending on the role, but will usually need to focus on your qualities and achievements related to that role and specialty, and to demonstrate that you have genuine interest in that field.
There should usually be a short statement at the beginning of the CV to explain what kind of work you’re looking for, and specify how this relates to your future career plans.
A CV written for a job which has elements of medical education will require information in the 'skills and qualities' section about your previous experience in teaching, and your 'achievements' section should list any projects or publications you've worked on relevant to teaching. If you have a qualification in teaching, like a PGCert, this should be listed in the ‘other qualifications’ section.
A CV written for a long-term job in a particular specialty, such as a clinical fellowship or trust-grade role, will need to focus on your previous experience in that specialty. Also be sure to focus on achievements that show commitment to, and interest in, that specialty. A good example of this would including an intercalated degree, membership exams, audits, presentations, publications, or courses attended.
The Extra Effort is Worthwhile
A great CV could be the key to unlocking the memorable experience you're looking for as an F3 doctor. We highly recommend taking the extra time and care working on this crucial document so that the opportunities which come up for you don't go to waste.
If you follow the advice as outlined here, you'll have a very good chance of landing your dream job during your F3 year.
This article is part of a wider series, supporting doctors like yourself with a comprehensive set of guides to ensure your F3 year is a success. These guides cover everything from initial planning, options for moving abroad, help with finding work, and tips for making the most of the experience. Click here to visit our F3 Resource Hub to explore the full list of guides and articles.
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