You’ve taken the MCAT, completed all the pre-reqs, and maybe shadowed a physician, done some research, and volunteered. Now it’s time to make sure you’re all in for the last legs of this long journey. In this series, we’ll discuss how you can continue to navigate your way to a med school acceptance by analyzing your profile, creating a strong med school application, writing stellar AMCAS and secondary essays, and nailing your interview.
Your resume is a key part of your application materials for med school or residency. You may think that because you’re uploading all your materials through the AMCAS or ERAS system, you won’t need a stellar paper CV. Not so. Here’s why:
A CV is a vital précis of your achievements. It can help you as you complete the ERAS CV section (or the AMCAS activities section).
Having a polished resume to provide to your recommenders (and later, to residency directors) is also helpful. In addition, it’s a good idea to maintain your CV as an evolving document as your career evolves.
How can you create an effective medical resume?
1. Keep the time period relevant. For a resume for medical school, keep the focus on work and activities during college; only look back to high school in case of really significant honors (such as a major scholarship that extended into college). For a CV for your residency, focus primarily on experiences during medical school.
2. Carefully consider the sections you want to include. You’ll tailor this to your needs, but examples are: Education; Honors/Awards; Training; Publications; Presentations; Research; Teaching Experience; Work Experience; Licensure; Professional Memberships; Volunteer Activities. Within each section, list your activities in reverse chronological order.
3. Include concise, clear descriptions of your accomplishments in each section. Use strong verbs wherever possible. Use consistent formatting. Avoid vague or unexplained acronyms and abbreviations—you want your reader to know what you’re talking about immediately.
4. Be concise and direct. Keep the length of your CV reasonable at 1-2 pages. Your CV will grow as your career does—CV length limits aren’t as constrained as resume lengths. For example, if you’ve had a career prior to entering medicine, or if you have extensive research experience and publications, your CV may exceed this 2 page guideline.
5. Leave out sensitive personal information (such as marital status, social security number, etc). Also, needless to say, leave out anything fabricated or exaggerated.
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread! It’s helpful to have someone else look over your CV to spot errors and inconsistencies.