CV Tips for Residency Applicants

The CV, sometimes referred to as a “Residency Resume” is very useful tool for all residency applicants. Although the “CV” is not technically part of the ERAS Application, it is similar in content to the Work, Research, and Volunteer Experiences section of MyERAS. However, if an applicant wishes to send Letters of Interest, for example, they may wish to attach a CV to that email outside of their ERAS Application. A candidate’s CV is meant to be efficient documentation of your academic history and achievements. Below, we will discuss proper formatting, what to include and things to avoid. 

What should a Residency Applicant’s CV look like?

A CV is often compared to a resume, however this isn’t exactly true in regards to length. A common mistake is the belief that a CV should only be one page, like a normal resume. Instead, a Residency Applicant’s CV will be closer to 2-3 pages. This is because you are sharing more details about yourself than just your work experience.

When it comes to formatting you want to focus on professionalism and using the space well. The following are our recommendations on how to approach the format of your CV.

  • Use 10-12 point size font for body text, 12-14 point size font for headings, and 12-18 point size font for your name (name should be the largest font). Use professional fonts like Times New Roman, or Sans-Serif. Use 1-inch margins to enhance readability.
  • Don’t overload your CV with text. The reader should be able to easily identify the most recent activity under each section and recognize where each section begins and ends.
  • Use consistent formatting, and fonts throughout. Do not use more than two fonts.
  • To focus the reader’s attention on your description, place dates on the right margin. This also makes it easier to identify your timeline.
  • Avoid first-person (using the word “I”), as it isn’t very professional. Do not use medical jargon—even while describing research accomplishments. Think of yourself as using the language for a medical journal. Similarly, avoid arrogance, or excessive use of acronyms or hyperboles.

What should be included in a CV for Residency Applicants?

Include the following information, in the same order as below:

  • Contact and personal information, with full legal name
  • Education, going in order from most to least recent
  • Honors and Awards
    • You can format this as a bullet point for each award, detailing the name of your award/honor and the year.
  • Research Experience
    • For each experience, include the name of the program, the overseeing medical school, the date and the location
    • There should be a bullet point or two with a short sentence to describe your role in regards to the research program. Keep this clear and concise
    • Make sure you note mentors with their professional title
  • Presentations and Publications
    • Name and identify what kind of presentation or publication (oral, written, journal, etc.)
  • Work Experience
    • Similar to research experiences, you will need to provide the name of the program, the institution it is associated with, the date of employment and the location
    • Additionally, you need to include a few bullet points with your role in the experience. Try to keep your description medically relevant if possible
  • Extracurricular Activities and Service 
    • You will need to include the same base information as work and research experience
    • Describe any service and leadership positions, use specific metrics to give a clear picture of your role
    • Any professional organizations you are a member of can appear here
  • Interests and Hobbies
    • This section is OPTIONAL! Only include things that would be helpful for a Program Director to know. For example, do not include things like video gaming. If it doesn’t demonstrate a trait that would be helpful for a Residency Applicant, skip this section
    • This can be a list only separated by commas; do not use multiple bullet points or explain the activity

Common Mistakes in CV’s for Residency Applicants

  • Be prepared! You will likely need to keep both digital and print copies of your CV on hand. For printing, use white or cream 24-lb paper. Use a laser printer for the best resolution. When sending digital copies, use a PDF. Double check the formatting is correct in PDF form.
  • Have specific resumes. A CV is asked for in many situations. It is smart to have specialty specific CVs as well as a CV specific for each experience you will apply to. 
  • Utilize detailed titles. It is a common mistake to send the wrong CV because it isn’t labeled well. We recommend keeping detailed document titles of what each CV is for, in addition to a date.
  • Use an active voice. Be sure that you are the active role in your descriptions, do not just describe what you saw others do.
  • Don’t share too much personal information. You don’t need to include your age, sexuality, religion, political affiliation, citizenship status, national origin, social media handle, or high-risk information like your SSN. If something personal is important to you to share, it may be better in your Personal Statement. 
  • Avoid errors or exaggerations. Remember that honesty and integrity always matter. You do not want to be in the position of having to explain or defend misinformation.
  • Incorporate it with your Personal Statement. Be aware of what might need more contextualizing and keep it in mind for your residency personal statement and interviews. For example, time off from school, or if you have a notable gap in work experience can be considered red flags. Start thinking about how you can frame an explanation for those clearly and positively in your personal statement.
  • Don’t waste space. Craft your descriptions sparingly, do not use terms like “responsible for” or “tasked with.” Just say what you did. Try to use accomplishment-oriented language when possible. Use examples of awards or achievements.

Although we do not currently edit CVs directly, if you would like to have your MyERAS application optimized, our experts are here to help! As it includes most of the information required for your CV, it can be a great tool to enhance your CV as well as your application. Questions? Call us at (858)-221-8580 or email support@residencyexperts.com