CV and Personal Statement
Creating a CV/Resume
The Office of Student Affairs encourages our students to use this sample CV as a guide in creating a curriculum vitae (CV). This format begins with your basic name, contact information, and education, followed by a categorical listing of your accomplishments and activities (chronologically backwards within each category). Remember that a CV is not an exercise in documenting how great you are: its purpose is to provide the reader (the most important person in this process) with a clear, concise history of your education, achievements, and accomplishments to date, in a fairly truncated format. Before we get to the specifics of the actual CV, here are a few things to consider:
- Now is a great time to reacquaint yourself with your past: think about taking some time to document everything – everything – you’ve done since you started college, in chronological order. This is not your CV: just a one-time listing to give you a solid picture of your past. Work, extracurricular activities, volunteering/service, leadership positions, whatever. Taking the time now to document all of your accomplishments/activities will give you a refreshed outlook preparatory to your future residency program interviews. One of the most frequent comments I hear from students during this process is “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that XXXXXX thing I did in sophomore year.” Now is the time to account for your time. I suggest this as a one-time project: once you have documented your past activities/accomplishments, you can create a categorical CV/resume (see this in the sample available on this site.)
- Tennyson wrote, “I am a part of all I have met.” Absolutely everything you have ever done has caused you to learn something, and it all conspires to create who you are at this moment. You have learned new things, acquired new skills, figured out new/better ways of doing things and, most importantly, gained an understanding of your strengths and your weaknesses, providing you with ample opportunity for self-assessment and for being open to new ideas and new methods.
- Before you view the sample CV, here are some nuts and bolts about creating this document:
a. Use at least a 12-point font. Times New Roman is a standard for many reasons, not least in that it allows for more text on each page. And older people read your CV.
b. Use narrow margins: you can fit much more on each page.
c. If you’re considering adding one of those “profile paragraphs” at the top, like a description of yourself, don’t. That’s what your personal statement is for.
d. Disavow yourself of the notion that you are going to ever again have a one-page resume.
e. Refrain from “I, me, my” statements; use objective language.
f. Make every word tell. This is a time for succinct writing. Just say what you did.
g. At this relatively early point in your career, it’s better to err on the side of too much information in your CV, rather than too little. Eventually, older entries will likely be deleted.
h. Pay attention to details in your CV/resume: are your hyphens all consistent? Do you have periods after all complete sentences? Are your dates all configured the same way? If you have publications listed, are the names italicized? Did you double check any proper names of companies/associations to be sure you are correct? You cannot, for instance, misspell the name of your undergraduate institution (yes, this really did happen).
i. Remember that, for the purpose of your CV, it’s okay at this time to include activities (jobs, volunteer, etc.) that are unrelated to medicine, provided they demonstrate an acquisition of skills, or a long-term/repeat employment (e.g., working the same summer job all through undergraduate school). Such information, while not “medical”, conveys a great deal about your viability as a potential employee.
j. Put a reminder in your smart device to periodically remind you to update your CV: it will keep you from forgetting to add new information and prevent scrambling at the last minute to make sure it’s current.
k. Take advantage of anyone who is willing to review this for you. A second set of eyes is your best editing tool.
FORMAT: See the sample CV here. Creating a CV/resume by category makes your residency application process a little easier, as you will cut and paste your information into specific boxes in the ERAS database (Research, Service, Leadership, etc..
Do not hesitate to email me at Maureen_rosen@med.unc.edu if you have questions or want to discuss your CV/resume. My “door” is always open.