HOW TO… Prepare a CV by dfhercbml


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									J R Army Med Corps 2002; 148: 300-302


                            Prepare a CV
                            I Greaves, R Mackenzie

                            Introduction                                     applying for an A&E specialist registrar
                            That candidates are often short listed for       rotation might be:
                            rotations and other posts on the strengths of      ‘Having completed general professional
                            their curriculum vitae (CV), rather than on      training, achieved MRCS and gained experience
                            many personal qualities unknown to the           in expedition and military medicine, I now
                            selection panel, is an all too often heard       intend to complete a Specialist Registrar training
                            complaint. Anybody who has been faced            programme with the long term aim of becoming
                            with two hundred CVs when preparing an           an Army A&E consultant with strong clinical
                            interview shortlist will also confirm just how   and managerial skills and a specialist interest in
                            arbitrary the process can be. Although           military and remote medicine.  ’
                            standardised (and anonymous) application
                            forms are increasingly being used in the UK,       Whether this statement is provided at the
                            the initial process in most short-listing        beginning or end of the CV is often debated.
                            procedures is likely to remain CV based for      The author’s view is that the statement gives
                            the foreseeable future. It is surprising         a brief overview of the applicant’s
                            therefore, how many people fail to use the       achievements and intentions and certainly
                            CV as an opportunity to show themselves at       makes them stand out from the ‘generic’ CV.
                            their best. This brief article is designed to
                            assist in preparing a CV.                        Presentation
                                                                             There is no doubt that an untidy and poorly
                            General principles                               presented CV stands out. First appearances
                            The three general principles in preparing a      are important. Many applicants use a title
                            CV that should be followed are (a) always        page to attract attention and immediately
                            tailor the CV to the post being applied for,     convey that the CV has been tailored for the
                            (b) use the CV to show successful progress       post. It is essential that this title page is
                            towards your goals such as completion of any     attractive yet not too elaborate. A well laid
                            relevant elements of a training programme        out sheet that simply states name, post
                            and (c) use it as an opportunity to sell         nominal letters / qualifications, the date and,
                            yourself.                                        in some cases, the post being applied for
                                                                             makes an effective title page. Military rank
                                  Always tailor the CV to the post           may be omitted depending on the post being
                                       being applied for                     applied for. Using modern scanning, a
                                                                             regimental badge or similar can easily be
                              Tailoring a CV is best done by referring to    inserted to provide some colour and a simple
                            the person specification and job description.    coloured border looks striking. Photographs
                            Many short-listing techniques use screening      of the applicant are not generally
                            or scoring systems based on whether              recommended. Remember, however, that
                            applicants fulfil ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’    there are distinct styles of CVs in different
                            attributes on the person specification. Those    professions and countries and it may be
                            applicants whose CVs clearly relate to the       appropriate to seek advice from someone
                            person specification will obviously score        already in the post regarding how best to
                            more highly. If for example, an essential        present the CV.
Lt Col I Greaves            attribute was the ability to drive, failure to
MRCP, FFAEM, Dip            mention a full driving licence may lose a                 First appearances count
IMC RCSEd, RAMC             critical point. Similarly, if ‘desirable
MDHU Peterborough,          attributes’ include ability to work in a team,     The type face for a CV should be
Thorpe Road,                then evidence of effective team working          conservative in style. Avoid type faces (or
Peterborough, PE3 6DA       should be clearly identifiable from the CV.      colours) that are difficult to read or that may
                            With respect to training programmes, CV          photocopy poorly – even if only one copy of
Maj R Mackenzie PhD,        headings that reflect core elements of the       the CV is requested, it is likely to be
MRCP, Dip IMC               training programme are relevant. i.e. clinical   photocopied for the short-listing and
RCSEd, RAMC                 experience, research experience, audit           interview panels. The CV should be printed
254 (City of                experience, management experience, etc.          on good quality white paper. Eighty grams
Cambridge) Field            One further aspect of tailoring the CV           per square meter (gsm) paper is appropriate
Ambulance (V), 450          concerns the inclusion of a short statement      and heavy, watermarked or parchment like
Cherry Hinton Road,         of career intentions or career development.      writing paper is probably best avoided.
Cambridge, CB1 8HQ          For example, such a statement from an SHO        Printing copies of the CV usually produces
I Greaves, R Mackenzie                                                                                                 301

                         better results than photocopying, although        generally not required. Whether to include
                         the latter is usually necessary if large          secondary school qualifications, awards and
                         numbers of copies are required. If                prizes depends on how recent they are and
                         photocopies are necessary, they should be of      whether or not they are relevant to the
                         good quality and taken through a clear            application. Details of O level grades and
                         “glass”.There are a number of different ways      school sports prizes are not required for an
                         of binding and presenting a CV and there is       Armed Services Consultant Appointment
                         very little to choose between them. However,      Board (ASCAB) for example.
                         if an application requests ten copies of a CV,
                         it is perfectly acceptable to submit them         University Education
                         neatly stapled at the top left hand corner        In contrast, all university education should
                         only. Over elaborate bindings should be           be included.This will include medical school
                         avoided.                                          or university details, intercalated degrees,
                                                                           honours, distinctions and prizes and the
                         Contents                                          dates of attendance and degree(s) achieved.
                         For those whose CV is long enough, a              Details of Army Cadetships should go in
                         contents page should be included that refers      here. Chairmanships (and other offices) of
                         to the major sections of the CV. The pages        societies and student bodies as well as
                         must be numbered if a contents page is used.      important sporting achievements can either
                         Numbering the pages also ensures that the         be included here or listed later under relevant
                         pages are inserted in the correct order after     headings such as management experience,
                         photocopying or printing. The addition of a       awards and achievements or leisure pursuits.
                         header and footer to each page containing
                         “Curriculum Vitae of John Smith” is another       Postgraduate Qualifications
                         option if the CV runs to many pages. In most      This should include postgraduate degrees
                         cases, the next section or page after the title   and diplomas (memberships and fellow-
                         page of the CV will contain personal details      ships) with dates. Completed parts of
                         and academic information only (Box 1), this       incomplete examinations should be given
                         allows ready access to contact details and        (MRCP Part 1 1999) although the CV
                         brief comparison of individual candidates.        should not imply that the candidate has
                         Other information that might be included          obtained the full diploma. Once the full
                         here includes current appointment, career         examination is passed, it is no longer
                         development or intentions, marital status,        necessary to give the date of passing of earlier
                         qualifications (summary) and honours and          parts. Courses such as Basic Surgical Skills,
                         awards. The remainder of the curriculum           Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS),
                         vitae can be presented in a variety of orders     Advanced Life Support (ALS) and Major
                         depending on the nature of the post and the       Incident Medical Management and Support
                         experience of the candidate. The main             (MIMMS) should be put in a separate
                         sections of a basic CV, in a suggested order,     section either headed courses attended or
                         appear in box 2.                                  vocational training.
                         Box 1. Personal details                           Previous and Current Posts
                           • Name (in full)                                This section gives a resume of posts held to
                           • Date of Birth                                 date. These can be given in chronological
                                                                           order starting with house jobs, or in reverse
                           • Address (current and permanent)
                                                                           order from the current post. The former
                           • Telephone number (including mobile)           option is easier to comprehend quickly on
                           • E mail address                                short listing or at an interview and is
                           • Qualifications                                probably preferable. The dates of the post,
                                                                           supervising consultants(s) and department
                         Box 2 CV contents: the basics                     and speciality (for example general medicine
                           • Education
                                                                           with diabetes) should be included. Long
                                                                           details of the procedures undertaken are not
                           • University Education                          necessary, but a clear idea of the experience
                           • Postgraduate qualifications                   gained should be given. This should only
                           • Courses attended (ATLS etc)                   describe the elements of the post specific to
                                                                           that post. All general medical posts will
                           • Previous and current posts
                                                                           include ‘on-call’ and practical experience and
                           • Publications and presentations                outpatient clinic experience but it may be
                           • Professional organisations                    relevant to describe a post as ‘a 1:4 partial
                           • Interests                                     shift rota with supervised outpatient clinic
                                                                           experience in cardiology and general
                         The amount of detail included in this section     Publications and presentations
                         will vary according to the seniority of the       Presentations and posters should also be
                         candidate. Primary school details are             listed here under appropriate subheadings.
302                                                                                           Prepare a CV

      For junior trainees, presentations to peers,       Box 3 Development of a full CV
      departmental meetings, grand rounds and             • Title page
      learned societies may far outnumber
                                                          • Personal Details
      publications and it is essential to list these.
      Any publications to date should be listed in        • Career Development
      order of publication. Papers that have been         • Education and Qualifications
      accepted should be listed followed by                  University
      “accepted BMJ July 2001” as appropriate.
      Submitted and “work in progress” papers                Post graduate
      may also be listed, but should be separate in          Vocational
      a clearly labelled section. These papers must       • Awards, prizes and scholarships
      be genuine since they may be the subject of
                                                          • Appointments
      questions at interview.
      Professional Organisations                             Previous
      Professional organisation such as the               • Professional Memberships and Affiliations
      Association of Anaesthetists, the British
                                                          • Other relevant experience and skills
      Association for Accident and Emergency
      Medicine and the British Medical                       Military service
      Association should be listed. These                    Pre-hospital care
      memberships should be current.                         Teaching
      This is the “Miss World” bit. It is important          Research
      to avoid putting too many interests, and also          Management
      to be able to talk knowledgeably about them         • Leisure Activities
      at interview, if asked. An unfortunate
                                                          • Publications and presentations
      colleague of the authors listed origami as an
      interest and was handed a sheet of paper
      across the table at her medical school             takes some time to develop a fully rounded
      interview. If sporting interests are listed, the   CV and this is well recognised by short-
      level at which they are played should be           listing panels. It is good practice to maintain
      indicated. “Serious” travel (Borneo rather         a comprehensive master CV that records
      than Bournemouth) can be included here             your employment, achievements and
      with brief details of any important individual     successes in a ‘running list’. This master can
      expeditions.                                       then form the basis for creation of shorter
                                                         tailored CVs for specific applications. It is
      Developing your Curriculum                         also useful to consider keeping a portfolio of
      Vitae                                              CVs including a short paragraph that can be
      There are often unreasonable expectations of       used for briefing visitors and a short current
      junior doctors (and others) when it comes to       general CV for immediate use in times of
      CVs. In most cases, early on in a career, there    urgency! Box 3 lists the headings in a full CV
      will be relatively little to include and it is     with examples of a number of additional
      important not to include unnecessary details       sections which can be added as ones career
      in an attempt to “pad it out”. Above all, it is    develops.
      important to be honest. A survey of 2000
      people conducted by a television recruitment       Further resources
      channel found that 1 in 3 men lied on their        These web sites provide further readily
      CV, as did 1 in 5 women.The most common            accessible guidance on preparing a CV and
      exaggerations are about qualifications, leisure    include several examples.
      pursuits, and work experience (see further         •
      resources). Remember that the CV reflects          •
      the individual and exaggerated claims may          • (see for
      reflect honesty in medical practice. With the        example Black M. Tips on…:Developing a
      exception of truly remarkable candidates, it         healthy CV BMJ 2001; 323: 3)

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