Preparing Your CV

Difference Between a CV and a Resume

The purpose of both a resume and a curriculum vitae (CV) is to provide others with an easily accessible summary of your professional achievements. The main difference between the two is that while a resume tends to be restricted to 1-2 pages, while a CV can often be several pages long as it gives a fuller and more comprehensive account of your skills and achievements (Kung, Bishop, Slanetz, & Eisenberg, 2015). The length of the CV, therefore, is ‘as long as it needs to be’ to provide the reader with enough information to guide them through an interview with you (Green, 2011). However, always bear in mind that quality is better than quantity (Green, 2011) – so don’t be afraid to edit your CV. A typical resident application CV is 1-3 pages in length (Kung et al., 2015).

The Value of Your CV

Your CV will be an important part of your residency applications. Although it is not one of the required documents for the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS), it will still be an essential component in filling out your ERAS application and in preparing for interviews (Kung et al., 2015). Your CV will help you fill out the subsections of your ERAS application as you can simply copy and paste sections of your CV into the appropriate fields in the ERAS application (Kung et al., 2015). Bringing you CV to interviews will also be helpful both as a way for you to prepare for the interview and in case your interviewers ask you for a copy to use during the interview itself – so make sure always to bring extra copies. Your CV can also be useful to give to faculty members and physicians who will write your letters of recommendation as it will give them more information about you that they can use within their letters (American Academy of Family Physicians, 2019). Having a well-prepared CV is, therefore, a very valuable resource in your journey towards a residency program.

An Ongoing Career Resource

Your CV will function as an ongoing resource in your medical career. Once you have created it, you will be able to update it periodically, and you will use it when applying for jobs once you finish residency. You will also use it for applying to fellowship after residency if you choose to subspecialize. Taking time to lay the foundation of a well-prepared CV at this point in your journey into medicine will continue to pay off well into the future.

CV Template

Click here to download a CV template.

Preparing Your CV

The American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) has several recommendations for the style and formatting of a curriculum vitae (Association of American Medical Colleges, 2019). These recommendations are worth bearing in mind as the AAMC’s are frequently expected when applying for positions as a physician.

  • Font: use one font throughout your CV. Sans serif fonts are easier to read and so are recommended.
  • Font sizes: 12-18 point for your name; 12-14 point for headings; 12 point for main body text.
  • Format: use a consistent format throughout – e.g., if your headings are centered on page one, make sure they are centered throughout. Have page numbers and your name in the header throughout your CV.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread: make sure your CV is free from spelling and grammatical errors. Having typos or spelling mistakes in your CV can make a bad impression.
  • Be honest: Do not exaggerate or fabricate achievements.

Before turning to what you should include in your CV, it is helpful to have an idea of some things you should definitely not include (Association of American Medical Colleges, 2019; Tysinger, 1999):

  • Avoid using the first person (“I” and “my”) when writing your CV
  • Do not include your age or date of birth
  • Do not include your social security number
  • Do not include demographic information such as gender, marital status, ethnicity, country of origin, disability status, political affiliation, or religion.

A CV for residency applications typically has several standard elements (Kung et al., 2015):

  • Name and contact information
  • Education
  • Work and research experience
  • Publications
  • Awards
  • Professional memberships
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Personal interests

Name and Contact Information

The name on your CV should match the one you used in your ERAS application. Use your cellphone number as your contact number. Remember to check your voicemail greeting to make sure it would be appropriate for a residency program director to hear. Similarly, use an appropriate email address, such as firstname_lastname2019@gmail.com. Using an informal email address can give an impression of unprofessionalism.

Education

In your education section, you should list UIWSOM. List your undergrad (and postgrad, if applicable) education details.

Example:


University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine, San Antonio, TX

D.O.                                                                                                  2017-2021

University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX

B.S. in Biochemistry                                                                         2013-2017


Work and Research Experience

This should not be a complete chronology of every job and volunteer experience you have ever had. Rather, you should focus on jobs and volunteering that is relevant to a career in medicine. Provide a brief description of your duties in these positions.

Publications

List any articles, papers, abstracts, or presentations in which you were listed as an author. In the citation, make your name boldfaced.

Example:


Pinsker, J. E., Kain, C., Keller, L., Rooks, V. J. Vitamin D deficiency versus non-accidental trauma: comment on “Rickets or abuse? A histologic comparison of rickets and child abuse-related fractures”. Forensic science, medicine, and pathology, 2016; 12:119-120.           

Edwards, M. J., Crudo, D. F., Carlson, T. L., Pedersen, A. M., Keller, L. Pancreatic atrophy and diabetes mellitus following blunt abdominal trauma. Journal of pediatric surgery, 2013; 48:432-435.


Awards

Provide a list of any awards or scholarships that you received. Include an explanation of the award and its significance.

Professional Memberships

Provide a list of professional organizations of which you are a member. Becoming a member of a professional organization is a cost-effective way of adding value to your CV. Highlight any committee or leadership roles you may have held in these organizations.

Extracurricular Activities

This section provides an opportunity to highlight any noteworthy activities you have pursued. It can be especially useful to highlight any leadership roles you may have had in such activities.

Personal Interests

This section is typically used to highlight hobbies and special skills. It is the place in which to highlight any proficiency you may have in languages other than English. This can be an important section in terms of any interviews you are called to as interviewers may use the information here to get to know you better as an individual.

References

American Academy of Family Physicians. (2019). Writing a CV for medical residency. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/medical-school-residency/residency/apply/cv.html

Association of American Medical Colleges. (2019). Curriculum vitae - Tips and strategies. Retrieved from https://www.aamc.org/members/gfa/faculty_vitae/150036/cv_cv_tips.html

Green, M. (2011). Preparing the perfect medical CV. British Medical Journal, 343, d5289. doi:10.1136/bmj.d5289

Kung, J. W., Bishop, P. M., Slanetz, P. J., & Eisenberg, R. L. (2015). Tips for the residency match: Whar residency directors are really looking for. Malden: Wiley Blackwell.

Tysinger, J. W. (1999). Resumes and personal statements for health professionals (2 ed.). Tucson: Galen Press.