Case study 1 (Medical CV)

The remit for this was a CV for an A&E doctor looking for locum work in UK hospitals. He originally came from South Africa, a country where traditionally CVs are very long (far too long in many cases).

In this instance, the client did not provide much information at all other than a long list of hospitals that he had worked at. It barely gave any indication whatsoever of what he actually did work wise. It was more a matter of where he worked, rather than what he actually did.

Some clients we work with are extremely busy and just don’t have time to provide more information. It is actually best if they can provide information, because specifics do help add value, and nitty-gritty specifics can only come from the client. Specifics also help give a more personal slant to the CV. In this case, we were just handed the bare minimum, and it was all rather vague and unspecific. This isn’t ideal, but as mentioned some clients are extremely busy, so we are used to this. Besides, we are well versed in the art of using our initiative and being original/creative when the need arises.

One of the first things we do when we create CVs is assess just what is wrong with the original CV, why it isn’t working, and what needs to be done to rectify things.

In this instance the original CV was too long, was very matter-of-fact, and really made no attempt whatsoever to sell the client.

Consequently, it was clear that we needed to make the new CV more concise and more relevant to the job, as well as selling the client’s skills more proactively.

The client had worked at lots of different hospitals both in the UK and South Africa (and elsewhere come to that), so there were some things to consider when determining the optimum length for this CV. On the one hand, the client had given us very little in the way of specifics and achievements, making a good case for a one-page CV. On the other hand, the sheer amount of hospitals that he had worked at over the course of many years would make a one-page CV difficult to achieve, and especially since the client sometimes worked at numerous hospitals in the same year, sometimes undertaking different roles.

Consequently, the best way forward wasn’t immediately obvious. However, I took the view that a one-page CV would work best for the client – as long as I was able to refine it down to just one page. This was the crux, because I knew refining it down to just one page wasn’t going to be easy, and I knew that the only way to achieve this was to be creative, flexible and inventive.

I am used to being creative if need be, and have used a variety of techniques in the past to help refine CVs down to the optimum length. On this occasion, I made use of some of these techniques, but in addition to that I also tried a few other (new) things which (after a few iterations) finally slotted into place. I now had a good structure to achieve the optimum length that I could work with. The next step was making the most of the available space to sell the client to the optimum. As mentioned, he didn’t really help his own cause because he didn’t provide much in the way of raw material. However, I have helped many doctors and medical professionals over the years, so I drew upon this experience. Not only that, but I also did additional specific research on A&E doctors and their work, and I drew from that research.

The end result was a high impact one page CV that would not only stand out from other doctors CVs (many of which are very long), but which also covered the main functional and personal skills and abilities required of an experienced A&E locum. Significantly, rather than just list the skills, I wove them proactively into the CV, and included some other original suggestions to help the client come across as a high achiever in the things that mattered to the employer.

A one-page CV was something the client wasn’t used to, even so, he immediately saw the advantage of it and was delighted at the end result.

Case study 2 (An Account Manager CV) >

Paul Hichens (182 Posts)

Paul Hichens, top UK CV specialist, head of leading firm CV Succeed, and author of the most pioneering CV book in decades, The One Page CV (published by top career sector publishers Pearson Education).


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