put together a medical trainee CV video
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We recently recorded a “how to put together a medical trainee CV video” (Resume). There’s tremendous interest in the topic of how to put together a medical trainee CV.  Medical students are also interested in the topic.  For many, it may be the very first time you have have to assemble a CV or resume. That’s why we put the call out via email and our facebook community group (lots of good stuff in there to help you with your medical career in there by the way) for folks interested in a webinar on key points for putting together a good medical trainee CV that will satisfy the needs of employers. So a few Mondays ago, we held a Webinar of around 40 trainees and medical students to discuss some of the key aspects of putting together your CV. So here it is:

How to Put Together a Medical Trainee CV video

This is a long video but we encourage you to watch it through entirely. By the way On Youtube, you can adjust the speed settings to listen a bit quicker if that works for you. A bit of a summary of what was covered in this post (all the headings here link to sections of the video if you want to fast forward):


Hopefully self-explanatory this gives you an overview of everything covered in this video on how to put together a Medical Trainee CV

Why everyone says CVs are only reviewed for 6 seconds and whether you should use a photo?

Search for more than a couple of minutes on the internet for information about CVs and you will find someone who tells you that the average first pass review for a CV is 6 seconds.  I suspect many of these folks don’t even know where that reference comes from.  Well, here it is.  The study was an eye-tracking study and whilst its got its criticism and there’s a bit of a lack of detail.  The study certainly meets face validity when you talk to people who are experienced with reviewing hundreds of CVs.  When you are reviewing applications as part of an annual medical recruitment process its not unusual to receive hundreds of CVs.  If you dig a bit further into the article, however, there’s another interesting finding. If you were looking for an additional reason why you should not include a photo the study provides you one.  I generally advise against photos on CVs for the following reasons.  1. Medical job applications tend to be conservative affairs.  2.  It can come across as a bit narcissistic.  3. It also removes a key opportunity to make a first impression.  If someone can see a picture of you, then they are already forming all sorts of biased opinions about you based on this photo. But the Ladders study adds another reason not to do it.  It distracts the attention of the reviewer from other more important information.

2 Options for Structuring Your Medical Trainee CV

Basically, I recommend, the following format:
  • Personal Details (include a brief qualification summary)
  • Career Goal Statement
  • Work Achievements
  • Education Achievement
  • The Rest (in whatever order represents you best)
  • Referees
Why not Education before Work?  Because this is an employer interview and that’s what is of most interest. There are some circumstances where Education could or should come before Work.  This is generally when you have been educating more recently than working, for example still in Medical School or an International Medical Graduate.

Whether to use an Employer Recommended Template or Not?

If you look at these templates they are not overly attractive.  Filling one in will mean that yours looks like everyone else’s’.  So its hard to put together a medical trainee CV that stands out in those circumstances.  All these templates are really trying to achieve is that you provide the reviewer with a minimum amount of information.  So you can refer to them and still adopt your own style. So far, everyone I have reviewed in Australia and New Zealand is published as a guide (meaning you don’t have to use it).  Feel free to send me one that is not but so far I have looked at:

How Talk About ‘Non-Medical’ Related Work?

In general, its good to talk about any substantive work you have done in a previous life outside of Medicine.  Where you list this will depend on other work history and education and how much of a strength you feel this is. You can also cross-reference some things in other headings like Skills or even the career goal statement.  For example, if you were previously an Executive Assistant then you have definitely done a job in the past that required high level organisational, time management, stakeholder management and communication skills.

The Importance of Career Goal Statements

I could go on about the importance of these and in fact, have done so in another post and video

Talking About Work Achievements

Try to give some evidence for what you have achieved in your past roles.  Avoid listing common job responsibilities this will bore a CV reviewer.  They already know what OR at least think they know what an Intern does on a day to day basis.

A Brief Discussion on Referees

In summary:
  • Don’t fret about getting more than one College referee
  • Try to have a diverse mix (think about including at least one non-doctor and at least one male and female)
  • Make sure your first referee is a recent manager or supervisor

Exactly How Many Referees should I have?

3 is good.  But remember they will be contacted in the order you put them.  And the 3rd is only normally contacted as a back-up if one of the other two goes missing. You can have more. But probably more than 5 or 6 is starting to look excessive.

Some Other Tips on Improving Your CV

Biggest take home message here is.  GET SOMEONE ELSE TO REVIEW YOUR CV FOR YOU.  Attention to detail in CVs is important.  You have probably spent a few hours putting it together and revising it.  You will probably now be overlooking a typo or formatting error.

Audience Q&A:

The Audience Q&A included a discussion about Cover Letters and Personal Statements.  For Personal Statements, I generally recommend a Career Goal Statement instead.  I will at some point try to write a post or do a video on Cover Letters.  

A Quick Reminder about the YouTube Channel

I’ve decided to start a Youtube Channel.  I really would like to share with a wider audience some of the knowledge that I have gained over several years doing jobs in Medicine that I really love. But let’s face it most other doctors really hate.  I’m talking about things like medical manager roles, executive leadership roles, recruitment roles, coaching roles, committee roles and clinician engagement roles.  So some of the stuff I know is fairly unique.  I also have a network of peers that could contribute useful information in the broad are of doctors careers. So I’ve started out vlogging on a couple of topics. One is about the idea that if senior doctors could become better bosses (people managers). And if trainees could understand that being a boss is quite difficult at times.  Then we might have a positive impact on the culture of medicine. The other topic.  Quite relevant at this point in time.  Is the one we have been talking about.  The job application and interview preparation process. My current goal is 100 subscribers by the end of July.  As of the time of writing this post I was sitting at 40.  Why 100?  Well, that’s the magic number at which point Youtube lets you have your own custom channel name. So if you feel inclined you could really help me out by doing any or all of the following (none of which will take up more than a small amount of your time):
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