The CV. It is a subjective creature – some say you must include a photo, some say a photo will get you automatically thrown in the bin. You can’t please everyone. The most useful exercise would be to empathise with the recruiter – they don’t want something too text heavy or too long.
Here’s a few pointers to help you craft a schmick document.
This is a great tool to build a rolling CV that you can update as you go. This will decrease the chance that you will omit that course that you attended a few years ago, or the award you picked up in first year university.
Think of it as prepping the discharge summary from your life as a ward doctor.
By prepping this as you go, you’re able to get a ‘birds eye view’ of your CV – the holes that need filling will be staring you in the face (because LinkedIn will politely shove them in your face). These are the holes in mine:
Start to build
If possible, get a hold of the selection criteria of the position from the previous year. Build your CV around that.
For example, the position that I wanted specifically listed completion of Advanced Paediatric Life Support (APLS), Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) and Basic Assessment and Support in Intensive Care (BASIC) (handy BASIC course review here) as desired qualities of the candidate. So, I went out and did those courses.
Several thousand dollars later, I had increased my chances of landing a job.
There are cheaper ways to build your CV around these criteria. Most of the jobs that I applied for wanted quality improvement and clinical governance experience.
Remember from part 1 that evidence is king – what better way to prove commitment than completing that audit project you started?
Lay it out
This was the layout suggested to my cohort from the Head of Medical Recruitment at my hospital:
- Personal details including AHPRA registration number
- Qualifications/Education History
- Employment History
- Honours and Awards
- Publications and Presentations
- Audits and Quality Improvement
- Courses and Continuing Professional Development
- Extra-Curricular Activities
- Volunteer Experience
Use page breaks to avoid sections crossing over pages.
Finalise it as a PDF.
This is a contentious one. A recruitment course that I attended recommended scrapping all high school achievements.
Generally, recruiters do not care about your ATAR – it is assumed that you did well in high school, otherwise you wouldn’t have made the course cut-off. They also don’t care about things like coming first in geography in Year 11.
As for leadership positions like school captaincy? Hard to say. But it does contravene the principle of excluding everything pre-university.
This is tough, because a lot of us toiled for these achievements, and are rightfully proud of them. But brevity is beauty, and culling from your pre-uni feats will create the white space that CVs yearn for.
Selecting the right referees can be daunting, but there are a few practicalities that can make this easier.
- Ensure your referee will be in the country and easily contactable during the recruitment period
- One of the referees chosen should be your most recent clinical supervisor
- NSW Health recruitment makes you nominate two referees for ALL applications – you may list extra on your submitted CV, but it is unlikely that the extra person will be contacted
- Check with your referee before listing them!
- Check that your referees with give you a good reference before listing them (if there’s any hint of hesitation, best move on to another clinician)
- They should be consultant level – this is one that your reg cannot bail you out on
We all know that one person who is a full-time doctor but also former Olympian that does ultra-marathons while donating canned goods to those less fortunate.
I am not that person.
If you can’t think of any hobbies, think harder. I know you do things outside of work.
If not, join your nearest parkrun, a 5k volunteer run/jog/walk held every Saturday. It ticks the boxes as community focused, good for you and something you can improve. It also provides ample volunteering opportunity and is quite simply one of the best things ever.
Get help from the AMA
There are CV experts out there that are also experts at calming anxious JMOs like yourself.
The team at the AMA will provide personalised advice on your CV, and will format it without you having to lift a finger.
Oh look, a link to their careers page! https://ama.com.au/careers
Onto the interview:
So your selection criteria and CV have blown away the recruiters. They are begging for you to join the team.
All that is left is for you to waltz in and nail the interview.