As a medical student, you've undoubtedly heard other medical students or peers talk about creating their curriculum vitae (CV). For some medical students, it can be challenging to know which information to include or where to get started.

First things first, your CV is a representation of you and your experiences, education, and more. You want to make sure that the CV you submit represents you well. As you are creating your CV, one essential item to remember is to keep your CV organized. Having a CV with each section clearly labeled will allow whoever is reviewing your CV to find information quickly. The information in each section should also be listed in reverse chronological order. To do this, list the information in each section listed by the most recent start date to the least recent start date. Doing this now will also help you later on as you apply for opportunities after training.

As you are creating your CV, you may be wondering which sections are necessary. Make sure to include the following: contact information, education, certifications, research experience, volunteer experience, and any relevant work experience. This information can be an indicator for the reviewer of who is qualified and disqualified from consideration. Do not lie about any information you add to your CV. Interviewers will review the information on your CV and look into it or ask about it during your residency interview. Always keep the information on your CV up to date and accurate.

Just like your CV should be organized, your CV should be formatted the same throughout. Make sure to keep the font type consistent, especially if you have copied and pasted any information from another document. Having a combination of fonts throughout your CV can make it look sloppy. The same goes for font colors. If you are formatting your section headers to be different (bold, italicize, etc.), be consistent on every page. It can be easy to forget how you were formatting headers, so double check!

Your CV should be readable. A lengthy CV does not equal a strong CV. A "good" CV is one that is well organized and easy to read. Watch that your descriptions do not get too longwinded. Having too much text can bury other relevant information on your CV. Make sure that all of your descriptions are clear and concise. If you notice that your CV is beginning to look more like a textbook, go back to the drawing board and omit or summarize descriptions. Your CV should be no longer than five pages depending on your experiences.

Before you submit your CV with your residency application, have your CV reviewed. You should always use the spellcheck system in the word program you are using. Using spellcheck will help catch basic spelling and grammatical errors that you may have missed. It is also wise to have another person review your CV. This can be a mentor, peer, advisor, or a free service like PracticeMatch. Having someone else review your CV can help you learn which section(s) of your CV needs some work or if it is unclear.

Hayley Woszczynski

Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.