Writing The Perfect Elective CV

One of the major steps in applying to an institution for your medical elective is to send them a CV. This can be deeply nerve-racking, as it may be the first time you have had to write a document of this kind, particularly as it will be different to the CV you’d send when applying for a regular job. The great news is that this is the perfect way of practicing for when you qualify in the medical field and need to send similar details to your future employer.  

The big thing to say is to try and not stress. You will most likely have the experience you need to stand out to an institution; you just need to work out how to word it. In this handy guide, we will go through the major things to consider when writing an elective CV and you can always contact us at info.elective.net should you have any other queries.


What is a medical CV?

At a basic level, your CV is a record of your accomplishments and experiences. It is your opportunity to show an elective institution why they should pick you over any other applicants. Every CV you write should be tailored towards what a placement is looking for. Whilst you may have a template you use each time, make sure to adapt it for each specific application to ensure it sounds like you genuinely want the space.

The most effective CVs are the ones which show a clear match between the candidate and the opportunity.

Where should I start?

Before you begin any typing away at your document, there are a few things you must do to ensure what you are writing is appropriate. Start by analysing the opportunity and what they are looking in terms of skills and experience. This will also help you ensure that you are actually a good fit for the placement as there is nothing worse than spending time on an application that you are not actually qualified for.  

Pay close attention to the personal specification and begin matching your qualities with what they are looking for. Most likely, the personal specification will be split into essential and desirable criteria.  

You must be able to prove in your CV that you have all of these elements. Make it very clear in your CV as there is nothing worse than having the skills but not being chosen because the recruiter didn’t pick up on all your qualities.

After analysing the specification, take time to comprehensively research the institution. This will also help you fully decide if you are the right fit for the placement. Identify any special qualities that you can align yourself with to really help them understand why you want to take an elective in their facility.  

Now it's time to analyse yourself. Make a list of all the qualities and skills you possess which are relevant to the placement. These can come from many aspects of your life including clinical experience, academic study, previous employment, work experience, volunteering, and leisure activities. You want to show a prospective elective that you are a well-rounded person who will be a credit to their institution should you attend.  


What should I include?

Every CV you ever write should follow the five Cs:  

This is not an exhaustive list of every achievement you’ve ever had, but rather a cherry picking of the best skills and qualities that fit with your elective choice. No two CVs are ever going to be the same, but you should consider putting the following sections in:

  1. Personal Details: include your name, address, telephone number, and email address. Make sure you have a professional email address to ensure you are taken seriously.
  1. Career Objective: this is not a must, but it is often good to include a couple of sentences showing where you see you career progressing to. This can be particularly useful if your chosen career path matches an aspect of your chosen elective placement.
  1. Professional Education: begin with the most recent and ensure you include dates and the name of the institution. Emphasise your current degree and any awards or opportunities that make you stand out. It is a good idea to bullet point key aspects of your degree as many institutions in other countries will not be familiar with the ins and outs of your education system. Previous education, such as GCSEs, need only be briefly summarised.
  1. Professional Experience: this includes any clinical experiences you may have had up to this point. Highlight the key skills you developed that are similar to the personal specification and mention whether it was hospital or community based.
  1. Employment and Work Experience: prioritise your experiences, starting with the most relevant to the elective you are applying for. You can include any permanent, temporary, fulltime, part-time, or voluntary work in this section. If you have an extensive list of volunteering opportunities you want to include, consider putting them under their own section heading. Make sure to state what skills you developed from this work in your description.
  1. Additional Skills and Qualification: this may include IT skills, First Aid, Manual Handling, British Sign Language, any other languages spoken, driving licence, and many more.  
  1. Interests: you do not need to include an exhaustive list but could include any memberships or responsibilities such as with MedSoc.  
  1. References: you will want to include one academic reference and one from a person from your clinical placement. Make sure to get permission first as you will ned to include their contact details.

Any last suggestions?

Now that you have all the ideas ready to go on the page, you need to consider a few other things whilst constructing your CV:

Remember: a recruiter only spends on average around 20 seconds looking at an application, so you do not want to put them off with a cluttered CV.

Another tip is to check the privacy settings on your social media accounts as recruiters may use LinkedIn or Facebook to research potential candidates.


Where can I learn more?

For example CVs and more information on tailoring your CV to applying for an elective, you may wish to visit these specialist sites for further ideas:

You can also speak with your university careers department who may be able to offer advice and an appointment to go over your CV with you.

For advice on what to include in your elective application cover letter, read on here.