Contributed by Adam S. Levy, first year MD/MBA student at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Edited by: Dr. Stephen Avallone MD, FACP, PE, Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, Director of Executive Health and Concierge Medicine, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.
As a medical student, your curriculum vitae (CV) will serve as a working ledger of your positions, publications, accomplishments and awards achieved throughout your career. It’s best to begin building your CV as soon as possible because you’ll find yourself involved in a plethora of experiences and organizations as you progress through medical school. For the same reason, it’s important to regularly update the document, keeping it current as opportunities arise.
At various stages in your career as a medical student, you will be expected to present a copy of your CV. For example, if you plan on preforming research, your CV will often times be requested for review before getting involved in a project or with a group. Similarly, if you’re seeking employment or wish to apply for internships during your first summer you will often times be asked for a copy of your CV during the application process. At the culmination of your medical school career your CV will yet again be necessary as it serves as a component of the Electronic Residency Application Service (ERAS). Remember: your CV is a living, breathing document and it’s best to continue updating it as you advance in your career and take part in opportunities as they’re made available to you.
The remainder of this article will focus on the several components of a CV and explain what should be included in each section.
Your header should include your name, email address, LinkedIn address, and phone number. This section might seem particularly straightforward, but be certain you don’t leave your name off of your CV.
Here you will want to include all academic institutions attended from college on, each with the date of graduation or expected date of graduation (listed in Month, Year format). Under each institution attended you can include the degree attained along with majors and minors, as well as honors and awards achieved at said institution (such as departmental honors, cum laude, dean’s list, etc..).
Depending on your field or specialty of interest, research can be of particular importance. Here you will include the institution and department in which you performed research along with the projects you were involved with and the PI or physician you worked with. Under each project, you should include a brief explanation of your involvement and responsibilities. This description can be written in either paragraph form or in bullets but should be kept concise and devoid of technical jargon.
*Many MS1s have little or no research experience, and that’s ok. If you choose to become involved in research, just be honest about your experience and capabilities when reaching out to attendings, residents, or PI’s.
In this section you will keep a chronological list of your publications. I like to put this section after research as it gives my reader the opportunity to see the product of my involvement in research projects listed above. Just be sure to keep your citations in the same format here. Consistency is key.
Optional: Publications Pending
Some CVs will include this section to inform their reader of papers that they’ve submitted and are either pending approval or pending publication. I personally use this section as it can explain apparent lapses in academic productivity and can also act as a means for you to track ongoing projects and their status.
Presentations and Posters
Here, much like under your publications section, you will keep a chronological list of abstracts, presentations, posters, and defenses throughout your career. If your CV is light on the research side, you can opt to combine this section with publications.
Awards and Scholarships
As the section title suggests, here you will list all awards and scholarships received and their corresponding dates. Under each entry, you can include one or two sentences describing the award and its selection criteria and/or its dollar amount.
Here you can list your prior relevant work experiences. Emphasis on relevant. I would refrain from including those three months you worked as a bartender, or your summer working as a professional dog walker. If the experience was particularly important to you then you should include it, but the general rule of thumb is to include just those positions that are relevant to your career. For each entry under this section include where you worked, the position you held, and the duration for which you worked in that capacity. With each position you should include a brief description of what you were responsible for and what you were able to accomplish.
Activities and Service
This will look like your work experience section but will include unpaid positions. This is where you will list your involvement in clubs, student government, community service, etc. If you wish to go into community service-oriented field of medicine, you may wish to place this section earlier in your CV.
Professional Affiliations and Certifications
Here you can list your memberships status in professional organizations such as the American Medical Association (AMA) and American College of Surgeons (ACS), as well as professional certificates as you earn them.
Interests and Hobbies
This section is typically the source of much debate, but many choose to include this section in their CV. This section allows you to differentiate yourself to the reader and also serves as a talking point during an interview. It can also be the place where you talk about a longitudinal commitment that didn’t really fit elsewhere in your CV.
If you find yourself struggling when constructing or formatting your curriculum vitae, seek advice from your school’s department of professional development. Such departments are often underutilized by underclassmen and can serve as a fantastic resource early on in one’s career. If you finish your CV and find that its shorter than you like, let that serve as an impetus to seek out new opportunities!
Consensus opinion provided by Jesse Cole, MD; Nick Lorenzo, MD; and Bill Gossman, MD
Preparing an up-to-date professional curriculum vitae should be done early in your career. You will use it when you apply for residency, fellowship, jobs, and hospital privileges. It is a way of tracking important dates and your accomplishments. Most clinicians get in the habit of updating them frequently as their career progresses and additional information is added. In addition, it will be a useful reference when you fill out applications, such as the American Medical College Application Service (AMCAS) application. Once you have learned what goes into your curriculum vitae, you are able to maintain an outline of your accomplishments and recognize deficiencies.
While curriculum vitae differ in style, a variety of patterns are acceptable, yet they all have the same core information. One style is provided as an example. Placing your curriculum vitae in an electronic format allows you to quickly update the information. When you need a new version, after you update it, get in the habit of saving it with a new date as part of the title (i.e., Lorenzo XX/XXXX). Most curriculum vitae are divided into several sections. You may add and subtract areas as your credentials improve and develop.
The introduction should include your name, home address, school address, phone number, and email address. Depending on the purpose, you may provide a few brief statements concerning your professional goals.
This section should discuss your education to date, listing the schools you have attended, majors and minors, and degrees earned. Most include a grade point average, particularly if it is impressive, class rank, or if you graduated cum laude, magna cum laude, or summa cum laude. Make sure you include your current medical school as well.
Professional and social activities are usually listed as separate sections, although they may be merged.
Honors And Awards
Include a list of awards or honors you have received while in medical school and college. If you have not yet found a way to distinguish yourself, it is time to get to work!
If you have an opportunity to publish, include it. As publication may take months to years to go to press, consider including “submitted,” “in-progress,” or “in-press.”
Demonstrations of your speaking skills are important. If you have given any major lectures, include them as program directors are particularly interested in your communication skills.
Continuing Medical Education
Medical students and residents rarely complete continuing medical education (CME), but this may be a mistake. Why not document your learning? Many websites offer free CME provided by drug companies, and medical students and residents are allowed to complete the courses. Board review courses in the specialty you are considering will often let medical students sit in on the course for a fraction of the normal cost, and some include CME. StatPearls offers a choice of over 6,000 CME courses at a discounted medical student rate of $150 with access for an entire year. This allows you to read articles and do practice multiple choice questions while building your curriculum vitae with a list of courses and credits completed. This is a particularly easy way for a student to distinguish themselves from the pack.
As you progress through your years of medical school, you must try to find some time from studying to do extracurricular activities. Residency programs look for “well-rounded” individuals who can communicate with patients, as evidenced by their participation in organized clubs and activities.
Students that don’t take the time to interact with people outside of medical school may graduate at the top of their class, with great USMLE® Step 1 and 2 or COMLEX® Step 1 and 2, but if they have no personality, they are going to find it hard to be selected. Spending time involved in a few activities that enhance your social skills and fill space on your curriculum vitae is a positive contribution to your goal of matching. However, while hanging out with your classmates is fun and does improve your social skills, non-organized activities such as partying are difficult to include in your curriculum vitae.
Variety of curriculum vitae styles are acceptable, and brevity is an asset; do not add irrelevant information just to take up space. A one-page curriculum vitae will suffice in the early stages of your career. The following curriculum vitae is provided as an example.
Listing past and present employers and a means of contacting them should be considered, especially if it demonstrates you have a positive work history. While it may seem insignificant to you, a program director is going to look favorably on your application if you show that you held a regular part or full-time job for several years.
- Box 772
- Hastings, NE 68901
- Phone 402-462-6262
- Medical doctorate
- Residency: Emergency medicine
- Academic medicine: Clinical practice and research
EDUCATION TO DATE:
Medical school - UNMC
- Grade point average 3.71 (4.00)
- Emergency medical technician-NASIC
College - Creighton University
- Major - biology
- Minors - speech communications and philosophy
- Grade point average 3.98 (4.00)
- Summa cum laude
PROFESSIONAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
- President, medical student counsel
- Secretary, AOA
- Phi Chi medical fraternity, treasurer
- Free medical clinic volunteer (4 hours/week)
- Doctors Without Borders (2 weeks Haiti)
- Speech team, captain
- Biology club, secretary
- Premedical club, president
- Karate, black belt
HONORS AND AWARDS
- Alpha Omega Alpha (selected junior)
- Honors research award, 2nd place
- Summa cum laude
- Dean’s list
- Honors program (1 of 12 from class of 1600)
- Speech awards (National oratory, 2nd place; Multiple 1st, 2nd, and 3rd- Oratory, impromptu, and humorous
- Published Doe, Jane: “Providing Emergency Care for the Homeless”, Nebraska Medical Association Journal, Issue 12, p 6-11, March 3, 2021
- In-Press Doe, Jane: “A Review of the Basics Review of Trauma Care”, J of EMS, Accepted Dec 2020
- Obstetric Emergencies for EMTs
- A Review Of New ATLS Guidelines for 2021
- ACLS and PALS Certified
- Emergency medicine board review (4 day course)
Continuing medical education - StatPearls, ACCME
- Spider envenomations - 1 hour
- Rattlesnake envenomations - 1 hour
- Appendicitis - 1 hour
- Trauma review - 5 hours
- Medical ethics - 1 hour
- EMT-B Star Ambulance - 8 hrs/wk
- Phlebotomist - Omaha general - 16 hrs/wk
Thomas Long, paramedic director
Star Ambulance - 402-381-3321
Susan Smith, laboratory manager
Omaha General - 402-765-2341