Writing a CV

By Victoria Vilas / 11 Dec 2017

Recruitment specialist Victoria Vilas details the important considerations to make when writing a CV

Let's face it, drafting your curriculum vitae (CV) isn't the most thrilling way to spend your spare time, but the effort is worth it in the long run. If you take the time to get the details right, highlight your strengths and skills, and concisely summarise your capabilities as a practitioner and an employee, then you could secure a job at a leading aesthetic clinic.

You may know that you are a skilled practitioner and a loyal, hardworking employee, but in order to get any further in the recruitment process you first need to convey that to a hiring manager via a document alone. If you make a good impression with your CV and covering letter, then you'll get the chance to demonstrate more of your capabilities at an interview. If you submit a poor application, you could miss out on a great employment opportunity. As a medical professional, you are likely to have a lot to say about your training and experience, with a number of facts and figures to list, but you still need to create a CV that is concise, clear, and compelling.

Covering letters

A job application shouldn't just consist of a brief email stating the job you are applying for, with your CV file attached. When you apply, your covering letter is the first thing a hiring manager will see, and it's a great opportunity to set a positive tone to your application.

A good covering letter should complement your CV. It shouldn't duplicate the information in your CV, it should tell an employer what your CV does not, and should be specific to the given role. Your CV is there to provide all the necessary information on your employment and training, but it doesn't state outright why you are attracted to this particular vacancy. Let the hiring manager know why you want the job, what you can bring to the company and why you'd be a good fit. Your letter doesn't need to be too lengthy, I’d recommend 200 words or less, see it as an introduction to your CV.

CV writing basics

There is no definitive CV template that applies to all workers, but there are some basic, logical rules that every CV should follow. Your CV should be as concise as possible. I advise to make a list of all the key facts (your experience, personal statement, personal interests) and figures (qualifications, training dates), that your CV should include before you put it all together in a document. This will give you an idea of how much space you can dedicate to each section.

Hiring managers may have hundreds of applications to read, so if you submit a 10-page CV, they may skim through and miss key details

A full medical CV, for example for the NHS, could consist of three to eight pages, or more if you are at a consultant level. However, a CV specifically angled towards the aesthetics industry can often be edited down to just three or four, depending on experience, keeping the content relevant to the specialism. A CV should be typed in 10/11/12 font size, in a basic font such as Arial or Calibri. Some medical professionals will need more space to detail their training and experience, but you still need to be strict when editing. Hiring managers may have hundreds of applications to read, so if you submit a 10-page CV, they may skim through and miss key details.

Contact details

Your CV should be headed with your name and your contact details. This may seem like an obvious point, but it's worth checking that you have included your latest mobile number and email address, as an application will be a complete waste of time if an employer can't get in touch with you. Include an address, even if it's only the name of the town you live in. Employers won't need your full home address until they draw up contracts, but they will want to know if you live within reasonable commuting distance, and if you are likely to be able to commence employment on the date they need their new employee. If you are in the process of relocating, say so, either in your cover letter or personal statement, especially if it would explain why your current address is in Edinburgh, but you're applying for a job in London.

Personal statement

When writing the introductory paragraph on your CV, make sure it is a 'personal' statement and not just a generic list of your supposed qualities. Use your introductory statement to give a brief personal profile, including what you excel at and have a passion for, and what your career goals are. Do bear in mind what an employer will be looking for, though. For example, if you state that your goal is to become a full-time aesthetic practitioner running your own clinic, then an employer looking for a loyal, long-term employee may have concerns.

It’s important to remember not to duplicate what can be read further into your CV. Make the personal statement as short (100 words or so), positive and punchy as possible, while remaining relevant to the job you're applying for. It is also wise to revisit what you've written in your personal statement every time you apply for a job, in case earlier drafts are angled towards a vacancy with slightly different requirements.

Professional experience

Make your lists of jobs and training courses in reverse chronological order. The most comprehensive descriptions and vital information should be reserved for more recent employment and training, as employers will look for experience that is recent enough to still be relevant. Usually training, for an experienced practitioner, will fit on one side of A4. You only need to list the date, course title and course provider. An overview of the course content isn’t required as the title usually speaks for itself and, if it's a recognised course, further details can be looked up if necessary.

Don't be afraid to promote yourself, as an employer won't just be looking to see if you're qualified to do the job at hand, they'll be looking for signs of talent and passion, too 

If you are an experienced medical practitioner, your job application should make clear the amount of experience you have in medical aesthetics specifically. Your extensive training and NHS experience may demonstrate your medical prowess, but an aesthetic clinic owner will need to know how much practical experience of aesthetic procedures you have. If you have experience, give as much information as possible. For example, if you are trained in a number of advanced dermal filler techniques, state what they are, and which injectable products you used. If you are a GP who also practises aesthetic medicine, give an idea of how regularly you see patients, and what range of procedures you perform. 

When writing about your professional experience, try to think about each job not just in terms of what you were employed to do, but what you did to be a successful and valuable employee. Break things down into 'duties' and 'achievements', and state the responsibilities you had, providing details on what you did well. Perhaps you were promoted or given extra responsibilities. Maybe you were presented with an award or given a bonus, or perhaps you got consistently good feedback from your patients. Don't be afraid to promote yourself, as an employer won't just be looking to see if you're qualified to do the job at hand, they'll be looking for signs of talent and passion, too.

Personal interests

Let's put it this way, no hiring manager is going to flick through a CV and discard it because they couldn't find out what novels you like to read or whether you have any pets. However, adding a section on your personal interests may give your CV a bit of character. Remember to keep it brief, and choose hobbies which highlight aspects of your personality that would be beneficial for the job you’re applying for. Playing sports, for example, can indicate that you work well in a team and enjoy challenges. Social hobbies, like mentoring others, may suggest you communicate well with people.

Other considerations

If you are a medical professional who practises both in aesthetic medicine and in another medical role, be it in private or public healthcare, it makes sense to create two versions of your CV. Your medical aesthetic CV can then foreground the experience relevant to your aesthetic work, and your full medical CV doesn't have to be edited down to lose the focus on your other specialties.

If you had a year out to go travelling, or you were on maternity leave, then add a brief line to say so. It'll be better than a hiring manager thinking you did nothing for a year, or made a mistake with dates. If you changed career and retrained as a nurse for example, don't be afraid to touch on what you did before your medical training. You don't have to go into great detail, but it will be better than leaving a long, unexplained gap between leaving school and starting your nursing career. If you previously worked in a commercial environment, it could show that you have skills gained from outside of the public healthcare sector that could be advantageous for a private sector job.

Conclusion

When drafting your job application, always remember to consider what an employer will see as important and impressive, as anything other than that is likely to be superfluous. Don't be afraid to promote yourself and make the most of your skills and attributes, but make it relevant. Take the time to get the details right and avoid careless mistakes; think about asking a friend to proof-read your CV for you, as their fresh eyes may be able to spot confusing sentences or typos that you have overlooked. Make the effort to write a role specific covering letter, and try to make the best first impression you can.    

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