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Curriculum Vitae Tips for Residents

The curriculum vitae is a professional record, not a specific appeal to a group, department, or laboratory, and can be refined based on purpose. Consider it a tool to help develop your personal brand. It is also a way of recording all your achievements, experiences, and skills and keeping them up to date.

Developed by the CAP's librarian, the following tips will help you build a solid CV as you start applying for residency and jobs.

Section Headings

Create appropriate headings to organize and highlight specific aspects of your education and experience. Headings can be modified to fit a specific purpose or focus (eg, application for committee, fellowship, faculty position). Note: Not all of these headings may be appropriate for your CV.

  • Include full name, address, phone number, email address at top.
  • Include LinkedIn or other relevant personal webpage.
  • Use professional contact details, if possible.
  • Consider including as a header, so it appears on every page. Alternatively, include at least full name as a header or footer.
  • Degrees will be included in later sections so don’t have to be included.
  • Antidiscrimination laws have made information about age, marital status, family, religion, place of birth optional.
  • Photographs are unnecessary and considered unprofessional by some. If included, must be a professional photograph.
  • Citizenship and visa status should be included only if to your advantage or is requested.
  • Relevance is application specific. If included, limit to 1-2 sentences, tailored for prospective organization.
  • Consider including in cover letter. Highlight how you are suitable for the role in question
  • Typically included on a resume, not a curriculum vitae.
  • List in chronological order with the most recent first.
  • Don’t include high school background.
  • Residents should include data back to undergraduate education. Include school name, degree completed, graduation date for each.
  • After residency, only include education no older than medical school data. Include school name, degree completed, graduation date.
  • Subheadings for undergraduate, postgraduate, continuing education may be helpful.
  • Include important distinctions.
  • Continuing education is not traditionally included in a CV. Include only if it adds to your application, and consider including at the end under ‘Other’ heading.
  • Include name of organization, location, specialty, leadership roles, if applicable.
  • Do not include license numbers or scores for exams.
  • Include provisional or permanent state licenses, as well as board certification/eligibility, e.g., awaiting results, board-eligible.
  • Include experience relevant to medicine or to show your range of experience.
  • Include position, organization name and address, dates of employment, and a short description of duties.
  • Create a complete publication list. List chronologically with most recent first. Group under appropriate subheadings if numerous.
  • Include complete bibliographic citations (AMA format preferred). Include PMID, if available. Include “in press” articles.
  • For presentations and other activities, include titles or event names, as well as dates and locations.
  • Separate major scholarly papers presented at professional association meetings, conferences, research symposia, etc.
  • Don’t mention every student seminar or hospital grand grounds; consider summarizing these types of presentations.
  • List editorial/reviewer work for medical journals under separate heading. For book reviews, include detailed information. If a reviewer of scientific articles, just list the journal and year your work was acknowledged to maintain anonymity.
  • Include section for professional activities if not covered under professional memberships. Include committee work and any offices held.
  • List accomplishments of committees or projects, or list in a separate section, if appropriate.
  • Consider separate headings for “Publications” and “Presentations and Posters”, if appropriate. Don’t list non-peer-reviewed publications under a heading that implies they were peer-reviewed.
  • Include all funded projects with source and amount of funding.
  • List current projects with papers in progress or submitted and not yet accepted.
  • May mention research colleagues.
  • Section can be highlighted if applying for an academic position. Include any teaching experience at any level, topics and audience, and what you gained, if applicable. Include information in other sections if experience is limited.
  • Include if they add value to your CV.
  • Don’t include courses related to examination preparation.
  • Can also relate to management, teaching, research.
  • Include date and title and list chronologically with most recent first.
  • Include if you want to highlight expertise over and above what is typical/expected, eg, statistics packages, research databases.
  • Include full names of organizations, years of membership, and leadership positions held, if applicable.
  • For awards and honors, include the name of the honor or award, the location, and date received.
  • Do not include civic, church, or social groups.
  • Include financial assistance for educational endeavors only if competitive.
  • Optional. If included, show how activities helped you develop skills such as leadership, supervision, communication, or collaboration, if possible (but briefly, and only if not self-explanatory). May help illustrate how you are a good fit for the organization.
  • Volunteer/non-medical experience can be included here. Useful to highlight what you gained from it, e.g. management or leadership experience.
  • May introduce bias, so consider carefully.
  • May call out if you are multilingual. Indicate proficiency, e.g., “Fluent in Spanish.”
  • Optional. Include only if you are listing names/contact information, and they have agreed to provide a reference for you. Do not list “available upon request”. This information is often left for the application form.

Formatting Tips

  • Leave plenty of white space. Margins ~1 inch.
  • Use simple, professional font such as Times New Roman or Arial. Use 12-18 point font for name; 12-14 point font for headings, 10-12 point font for text. Sans-serif fonts read most easily. Pick one font and use throughout.
  • Create distinct conceptual divisions. Experience may be divided between headings such as “Teaching” or “Research”; education may be divided between “Degrees” and “Advanced Training” or similar. Dividing lines are helpful between sections.
  • Include a name header or footer and page number on all pages.
  • Because we read from left to right, avoid placing the date on the left. It puts the emphasis on the date as opposed to the activity.
  • Choose a format and stick to it. Layout, spacing, structure should be consistent.
  • Use parallelism: keep structure of phrases and/or sentences consistent. Use present tense for current positions, past tense for previous positions.
  • Use gapping – incomplete sentences to present information concisely.
  • Use implied pronouns and avoid “I” or “my”.
  • Proofread for spelling and grammar.
  • If printed, use good quality paper.
  • DON’T include SSN, age, gender, race, religion, political affiliation, marital/parental status, disability or national origin, DEA numbers, citizenship, why you’re leaving current position, or salary history.
  • Bulleted points more common in resume, less so on a C.V.
  • Organize sections based on position you are applying for, but keep education first.
  • Clear – Concise – Complete – Consistent - Current

AMA Reference Formatting Examples

Barina A, Triska G, Frater J, et al. Immunophenotypic variations in mantle cell lymphoma and their impact on clinical behavior and outcome. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2018;142(10):1268-1274. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2017-0368-OA

Rosenwasser LJ. Treatment of allergic rhinitis. Am J Med. 2002;113(suppl 9A):17S-24S. PMID: 12517578

Fliesler SJ, Richards MJ, Peachey NS< Buchan B, Vaughan DK, Organisciak DT. Potentiation of retinal light damage in an animal model of Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome [ARVO abstract 3373]. Invest Ophtalmol Vis Sci. 2001;42(suppl):S627.
Note: Name of society is not required but may be included in brackets with the abstract number.

Cionni RJ. Color perception in patients with UV- or blue-light filtering IOLs. In: Symposium on Cataract, IOL, and Refractive Surgery. San Diego, CA: American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery; 2004. Abstract 337.

Khuri FR, Lee JJ, Lippman SM, et al. Isotretinoin effects on head and neck cancer recurrence and second primary tumors. In: Proceedings from the American Society of Clinical Oncology; May 31-June 3, 2003; Chicago, IL. Abstract 359.

Weber KJ, Lee J, Decresce R, Subhasis M, Prinz R. Intraoperative PTH monitoring in parathyroid hyperplasia requires stricter criteria for success. Paper presented at: 25th Annual American Association of Endocrine Surgeons Meeting; April 6, 2004; Charlottesville, VA.

Carrau RL, Khidr A, Crawley JA, Hillson EM, Davis JK, Pashos CL. The impact of laryngopharyngeal reflux on patient-reported quality of life. Laryngoscope. In press.

Additional Resources

How to write a curriculum vitae (CV). American Academy of Family Physicians website. https://www.aafp.org/careers/hunting/cv.html. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Agha R, Whitehurst K, Jafree D, et al. How to write a medical CV. Int J Surg Oncol. 2017;2:e32. http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/IJ9.0000000000000032. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Curriculum Vitae (CV). University of Washington Medicine website. https://www.uwmedicine.org/education/md-program/current-students/student-affairs/career-advising/year-4-get-residency/curriculum-vitae. Accessed June 20, 2019.

The CV. The Ohio State University website. https://medicine.osu.edu/students/life/career_advising/pages/cv.aspx. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Borg A. How to write a CV: tips for physicians and medical students. American College of Physicians website. https://www.acponline.org/membership/medical-students/residency/how-to-write-a-cv-tips-for-physicians-and-medical-students. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Feature: Preparing your curriculum vitae. Association of American Medical Colleges website. https://www.aamc.org/members/gfa/faculty_vitae/150034/preparing_your_curriculum_vitae.html. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Creating a standout CV. American Medical Association webpage. https://www.ama-assn.org/life-career/creating-standout-cv. Accessed June 20, 2019.

Women in Medicine & Science. The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. https://uthsc.edu/WIMS/docs/cv_pack_residents.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2019. [Includes a helpful list of red flags/things to avoid.]

Polishing your CV and your first job search. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation website. https://www.aapmr.org/career-c... . Updated 2017. Accessed June 20, 2019.

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