Six Old-School Rules to Break on your Healthcare CV

Rules to Break on Healthcare CV

Things are changing rapidly in the world of employment and job applications, and it’s time to start breaking some rules.

In over ten years of healthcare recruitment, I have seen a multitude of different CV formats and content. Doctors, in particular, are prone to all sorts of weird and unique CV formats, ranging from the ‘rambling letter’ style, through to extremely long and painstakingly detailed documents (I am convinced many of these have actually caused the world’s internet to slow when they are emailed).

The bulk of these CV issues are caused by the best intentions. That is, by following previously set-in-stone rules about how your CV should look, and what it ought to contain. The particular rules or assumptions you are following will likely be a product of your education in this area, or the absence of any training in how to construct a CV.

Since we know doctors aren’t particularly keen on rules, let’s get to breaking these commonly accepted CV ‘rules’.


1. Your CV Must Contain Your Referee Details

I am leading with this one, because it is by far the most controversial piece of information I present in our CV training. Unless you are specifically asked to by an employer, do not put your referee details on the CV. Doing so takes away your control over who calls the referees, and opens them up to being solicited or harassed by employers or recruiters. When the time actually comes to provide the details of your referees, they will be fresh and ready to talk positively about you. Also, forget about putting ‘References Available on Request’ – it takes up space, and states something we already know.


2. Your CV Must Contain A List of Responsibilities for Each Position

Sure, you have to provide an idea of what you did in each job, but unless what you’re writing is actually adding differentiating value, and making you stand out from other candidates, leave it off. There’s not a lot of value to be gained from stating that you completed 972 discharge summaries as a medical intern.


3. You Should Use These Powerful Phrases and Keywords

So, I hear you’re a great teamworker. You’re capable of working independently, but also as part of a multidisciplinary team. And how you love evidence based medicine, and communicating with people. In fact, you’re all about communication and flexibility, and strong time management, and [insert buzzwords here].

Again, unless something positively differentiates you, leave it out. Provide real-world, solid examples of what makes you a different, strong, stand-out candidate.


4. Providing Information about Sport and Hobbies Shows Your Personal Side

No-one cares about your macrame hobby, or your mixed netball victory over the Westside Possums. The point of a CV is to provide an overview of your professional achievements. It’s not your life story.


5. The CV Templates in Word Processing Programs are a Great Place to Start

I like cookies just as much as most people, but as a recruiter, I don’t like cookie-cutter CVs.

Have a crack at starting a document from scratch. If you don’t know how, get your kids to do it. Even if it’s not a graphic design masterpiece, it represents the genuine ‘you’. I’ll take a doctor who can perform a difficult intubation over one who is an excellent typist any day of the week.


6. You Should Put As Much Detail on Your CV as Possible

You need to pick what is the most relevant information for the job you are applying for, and cut the rest. There’s no need to include irrelevant information, just for the sake of it. People have limited time and attention spans, and just need to see what they need to see.


It should be said that many employers provide an exact prescription for how you should format your CV, and what it should contain. ‘Rule number one’ is always to follow instructions – so always take these types of tips in the context of what you’re doing.


If you would like to learn more about managing your CV, join our next free webinar here.


0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *