22 Aug How to write the perfect healthcare CV

How to write the perfect healthcare CV


You’ve trained hard to get your qualifications and get the job you always dreamed of, put in the hard work, gave your all and succeeded. Now, it may be time for a change, perhaps you’re looking to relocate, or try out a new challenge. You know you’re up to the task, but does your CV demonstrate that?


Many candidates, are let down by their C.V. Something that may seem so trivial, but with plenty of fish in the sea, so to speak, employers have choice at their fingertips. Submitting a C.V. lacking information, or one that blends in amongst the rest puts you at a disadvantage, even if you are the better candidate. We take a look at how you can polish your C.V. and set yourself apart from the competition.


Put Yourself in The Mind of The Organisation:


Who is the prospective employer? While the NHS may come to mind as the biggest employer in healthcare there are also numerous private organisations looking for staff.


You should tailor your CV to fit the requirements of the organisation. For example, the NHS have been using Value Based Recruiting (VBR) for a few years now.


What is VBR?


“An approach to help attract and select students, trainees and employees, whose personal values and behaviours align with the NHS values outlined in the NHS Constitution”.


You can find out more about the NHS’ VBR policy here.


If you are applying for a position within the NHS, it is important to consider how your personal values align with those of the NHS. The 3 main aspects of VBR are:


  • Motivation and commitment to the NHS and the specific role
  • Ability to work in multi-professional teams
  • The central importance of the patient’s experience


By addressing these in your CV, you will stand out from the other candidates that have not covered this and demonstrate that you are an ideal candidate.


Begin With The Basics:


Ensure you have added your contact details and that they are current and correct. Think about how you can best be reached so you don’t miss out on any calls for interview. Centre these in the header and double check they are accurate, a simple typo could cost you your chances.




  • Your full name,
  • Email address,
  • Best telephone number (mobile?)
  • Home address including postcode.


Keeping these details in the header of the page, helps you to keep the document concise. Remember that recruiters get numerous CV’s for each position and don’t want to be reading a novel. The exception of course, is for academic positions such as doctors and consultants, whose CV’s need to be much longer than the average of 2-3 pages.


Every medical CV should also include, national training number and general medical council registration (if you have them), as well as any relevant associations and memberships.


The Professional / Personal Profile:


This is the first section of your CV below the header. It’s the first thing a recruiter will see, so you need to make yourself stand out. It is good practice to slightly tailor the personal statement to fit the job you are applying for. If a recruiter has listed specific skills or qualities that are a requirement or desirable, you can ensure you have them listed in your personal statement.


Obviously, you can only list skills or qualities that you possess, don’t lie, but by utilising this space to its full potential you have a better chance of being called for interview.


The personal profile should not simply be a list of skills, it needs to be well written as a paragraph or two, including your skills and level of seniority.




This section of your CV will be the longest. Begin with your most recent position and work your way backwards through your employment history. Be honest about the dates you were employed, if you worked in a temporary capacity then you can include statements such as extended (XX) times.


Each position should begin with the below in a bold font:


  • The Name of the employer / organisation.
  • Your position & department.
  • The dates you worked from & to. (If you still hold the position write – Present.)


Below this you need to cover your key duties within the position. Remember to try and keep this concise and highlight your skills or duties that are relevant to the position you are applying for. These should be bullet pointed for ease of reading.


Some employers, the NHS in particular, want to see candidate’s full employment history dating back to the time they left school. Gaps in employment can be explained, do not try to hide them, i.e.:


  • Caring for a family member
  • Volunteering
  • Travelling, etc.


Skills & Education:


This section should cover your education from secondary school through to the time you started working.


In the interests of keeping the CV concise, list the more relevant skills and qualifications, highlighting the aspects that relate to the position you are applying for. Begin by listing any skills gained or required in a position in order of their skill level, with the highest skill level at the top of the list. Again, display these as a bullet pointed list along with the number of years’ experience in each.


To save yourself space and time, try keeping a separate list of all your courses, meetings and conference. You can then copy and paste the relevant ones for each position you apply for. Nobody wants to read a long list of dates, keep it relevant.


Academic CV’s can be kept concise by moving the research and publication details to an appendix.


Do you have management experience?


If you have been involved in audits or quality improvement plans you can summarise your specific role along with examples of how YOU delivered, and what you achieved.


Below the skills, list your education and qualifications gained in chronological order, from most recent to oldest. Keep this section short and to the point.




While this may seem like a trivial section, it helps employers see that you are a rounded individual. Do you participate in sports? Belong to any organisations? Enjoy specific recreational activities? List them here.




References should be ‘Available on request’. You do not need to provide references in advance. You should however, ensure you can obtain good references from your past employers. Organisations such as the NHS want references covering your last 3 years of employment.