10 ways to make your healthcare CV standout

Writing an impactful CV is an art. Rather than dispassionately listing all of your achievements, a truly effective CV should capture the attention of recruiters and
employers, demonstrating immediately that you are a clinicians worth taking seriously.

1. Demonstrate measurable performance

Include as many performance metrics, awards and tangible achievements as you can. This helps contextualise your experience; it also has a more visceral impact. If you were a high performer at university, don’t simply say ‘top of my class’ – say ‘top of my class of 250’; if you helped improve patient outcomes in a previous role, provide a number to demonstrate by exactly how much.

2. Show that you understand soft skills

Soft skills are essential in virtually all medical roles, but too many CVs simply list things like ‘empathy’ without substantiating the claim. Just as performance metrics and awards help legitimise your technical skills, presenting actual instances where you used soft skills will show that you actually understand (and possess) them.

3. Be concise

Don’t waste the reader’s time – they are looking for information about your professional skills, not your creative writing. Rather than trying to dress up your achievements, focus on making them as clear and direct as possible. Go through your CV and remove every single word you can without losing the meaning of the sentence. This can be challenging and takes time, but it will radically improve your CV.

4. Use a clear structure

You need to ensure that your CV has a clear, logical structure that is easy to navigate. Professional experience and information about your education should come first,
because that is what’s most immediately relevant to an employer; personal information should come later, when the reader already has a sense of your professional identity.

Using bullet points is also important, as it makes the information easier to digest quickly – which is what many employers will want to do, particularly for roles with a high volume of applicants.

5. Present it aesthetically

The majority of CVs are dull and lifeless – and that’s fine. But if you really want to stand out, invest some time in making yours as aesthetic as possible. Overleaf is a website which provides free resume and CV templates written in LaTex, a computer language used to make aesthetically appealing documents. It is easy to use, and will immediately make your CV more appealing. There are also many others which can be found with a simple google search.

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6. Tailor it to the role

A generic CV elicits a generic response. Instead, you need to ensure you tailor your CV to directly address the skills and experience the role you’re applying for requires. There is a spectrum here: you may wish to change a few specific words to be more relevant, or you may wish to revamp the entire thing in line with a particular role or organisation. The choice is yours, but the more relevant to the role you are applying to, the greater your chance of success.

7. Use keywords

The sad reality is many CVs never even make it to the employer, because they are filtered out by an automated system which checks for relevant keywords. You therefore need to ensure your CV features enough of those keywords that it actually gets seen otherwise how could it possibly standout?

Look carefully at the job ad to find specific words which are likely to be used as a filter, then add in a few of them to CV – in places they fit naturally.

8. Demonstrate your aspirations

It is important that your CV conveys a sense of your overall career goals. This doesn’t mean listing your top 10 dream jobs; it means expressing clearly and succinctly why you pursued a medical career and why you believe what you do matters.

Passion for the job is vital in a sector like healthcare, and demonstrating that you truly care about your work can go an awful long way.

9. Show off your research or other interests

Listing your research or other interests (professional, academic and personal) helps an employer get a sense of what makes you tick. Not only does it demonstrate competence and professional knowledge – it also demonstrates an active curiosity and passion for what you do. You may choose to dedicate a whole section to this; you may simply want to pepper a few mentions of it throughout the CV. Regardless, demonstrating an active interest in specific areas will help you stand out from the competition.

10. Include a cover letter

It is important to demonstrate a genuine passion for the job you’re applying for, and the best way to do this is by composing a short, personal cover letter that lets the employer know exactly why you wish to work for them and why. Don’t be sycophantic; simply tell the employer why you believe you’d be right for the role and what about the opportunity most excites you.

If you are uncomfortable writing a cover letter from scratch, there are a number of free templates online which will make it much easier. Please let a member of the MRP team know if you would like some help.

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