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CV for NHS jobs – 10 Do’s and Don’ts

Updated: Feb 16, 2022

To help you with writing your CV for NHS jobs, we have summarised 10 useful dos and don'ts as there are must-to-include things and also mistakes to avoid to keep your medical CV out of an NHS employer's bin.


Start building your CV early and take time to invest in it

NHS recruitment consultants frequently deal with hundreds of CVs for one opened NHS role. A majority of NHS shortlisting decisions will be often based on your CV. We have covered in our previous article why your CV is all you often have to sell your clinical skills, experiences and achievements. Keep in mind that a great candidate with a weak CV is not going to succeed in being offered an interview. If the NHS recruitment manager does not tell the consultant how good you are, how will they know that you can do the job?

This might sound obvious, but International Medical Graduates (IMGs) who invest time in building their CV increase the chances of being offered an interview with the NHS. Make your CV a perfect tool of achievement and your opportunity to sell yourself to an NHS employer:

  • check clinical and non-clinical requirements for the NHS role you are applying for

  • keep your CV to a standard format that NHS employers are familiar with (you can find the format on

  • ask yourself if every detail in your medical CV needs to be there

  • check your CV for any grammar or spelling mistakes

  • have your CV proofread by an NHS colleague or a friend

30-second rule to make an impression

As with any other recruiter, NHS recruiters usually spend around 30 seconds performing an initial review of your medical CV. This may be the only time you have to sell your skills and experiences. Therefore, to use this time wisely, you should make your CV concise, targeted and clear. Otherwise cluttered and unnecessary information makes it much harder for NHS recruiters to identify the most qualifying aspects of your skills and achievements.

When crafting your CV, make sure you look at the job advertisement, job description, and the person specification for the NHS job. You can find the person specification for each NHS pathway on By tailoring your CV to highlight the skills you have that match the requirements for the role, you will be doing both the NHS recruiters and yourself an immense favour. The resume reader will immediately be drawn to your clinical skills and experiences relevant to the NHS role they are seeking to fill.

Make it concise, targeted, clear

Your experiences and skills should be presented in a clear, concise and yet informative manner. Length does not matter, as long as your CV is well-written, logical and presented in a nice and structured way. Your goal is to be invited to NHS interviews, so include as much of your clinical experience and skills as possible.

Always tailor your CV to the NHS role you are applying for. If you are applying for a post in paediatrics, do not write everything you have learnt during your surgical rotations. Rather focus on your paediatric experience. We cannot stress enough how important it is to read the job description and the person specification first before applying for the NHS role.

Consistency in layout

There are simple ways to make the layout of your CV consistent. Use section headings to distinguish different parts of information. Choose a professional font and do not experiment with size to ensure that your medical CV can be easily read and quickly scanned. Using bullet points is a great way to draw attention to your key skills or experiences, allowing an NHS recruitment consultant to scan the document and quickly identify your significant achievements. You can easily make your CV consistent in the layout by simply download your ready to use NHS job template on

Reverse chronological order

It is just to keep things clear and easily legible. Then the NHS recruiter sees your work history and most recent achievements first.

Interested in hearing more highly valuable CV tips? Chick here to watch an 1-hour interactive and engaging learning session to understand how to refine and update your CV. A Career development and learning professional from the British Medical Association will guide through the process of creating a strong medical CV that will increase your chances of being offered an interview with the NHS.


List everything you have ever done

Your medical CV is not your life story. It should represent a checklist of all your clinical skills and accomplishments. It is highly advisable to keep your medical CV relevant and concise by using clear spacing and bullet points. If you are hesitating as to what information to include, simply ask yourself whether it helps you get the NHS role.

Use fancy fonts, boxes

Always choose professional fonts, such as Arial, Calibri and Times New Roman. The font should also be consistent throughout, either 11 or 12. Keep in mind that the most successful CVs aren’t just informative, they’re also concise, well-ordered and consistent throughout.

Include a photograph or include details of marital status, DOB

In the UK, you are not expected to include personal information, such as your photograph, date of birth, nationality, marital status, age, height, weight, sex, religion, political affiliation. Avoid including these details as NHS employers should not make employment decisions based on these factors. Employers would not want to be drawn into allegations of discrimination. Keep your medical CV focused on your clinical skills, experiences and achievements.

Include unnecessary information

Some things simply should not be on your resume. Do not include irrelevant hobbies, skills and experiences. Just make your CV succinct and professional.

Put ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top

It is just a waste of valuable space. Instead let your name, professional title and contact details serve as the title.

We hope our summary of some important dos and don'ts has been useful.

Good luck with your job search!

If you would like to use a well-structured standard format that NHS employers are familiar with, click here, add relevant information to your profile and download your ready to use NHS job template. The template can be used by all job seekers wishing to apply for NHS roles.


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