With application and interview season upon us whether for medical school, residency, or another program or scholarship, I thought it would be a great idea to cover some essential tips on writing your CV. So let’s get into the tips!
- Write two versions of your CV. I truly believe you need to have two versions of your CV—one that is short and lists your most important details that is one to two pages in length (easy to carry for interviews or anyone asking on the spot) and another version that is full length with descriptions and all to submit electronically with your other application materials to provide context and a sense of who you are professionally. For those wondering, my current CV is about 11 pages in length—makes sense why a short version is needed.
- Every CV should include the following minimums: Personal details and contact information, education/qualifications/certifications, and work/employment experience/history.
- For residency specifically, I have my CV divided up into the following in addition to the above minimums: Publications, Oral and Poster Presentations, Research Experience, Honors/Awards, Professional Organizations & Leadership Positions, Volunteer Service, and Skills/Interests.
- Again, if you’re applying to residency, keep your undergraduate work to a minimum. I almost feel as if it’s reliving your college or high school glory days. My current CV includes my experience regarding my graduate work history, and the only things I included from my undergraduate studies are research experience, work history, and honors/awards. If I included my volunteer service and leadership positions and everything else, no one would read my CV.
- Provide descriptions. It’s so important to explain your role and title. You writing you’re on the Board of Trustees for something doesn’t say anything to me about your actual role. Explain the impact you’ve made so there’s some context and it also helps your passion shine through!
- Keep the format uniform. Include dates, titles, etc. but please make sure your format is uniform throughout. A sloppy CV is never an impressive CV. Also, using a PDF version can really help in keeping a uniform format and it’s easy to look through!
- Proofread. I know this is tedious and not fun, but PLEASE proofread. First impressions are everything or so they say!
- Keep your CV updated. This is difficult especially when you’re always doing a million different things but it’s so important. It’s easy to forget what all you’ve done if you don’t update regularly. I’m guilty of doing this and this is something I’m trying to get better about.
Good luck writing and/or updating your CV!