Reviewing medical student CV examples is essential when you are trying to create your own. If you're looking to attend one of the medical school in Canada or the United States, then in addition to keeping up with your courses, you will need to apply for medical school electives and other academic programs in order to strengthen your candidacy for residency. Having a compelling and well-formatted medical student CV is your key to success in that department. In this blog, we discuss the importance of preparing your medical student CV early, as well as how to format it and what it should contain. We also share some medical student CV examples with you. 

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Article Contents
7 min read

What exactly is a medical student CV? Why should you prepare your medical student CV early? How to format your medical student CV What to include in your medical student CV Medical student CV examples FAQs

What Exactly is a Medical Student CV? 

When you were preparing for your medical school application, you probably did everything you could to make your medical school resume stand out. As a medical student, you need to do the same but with a different document. Your "Curriculum vitae," or as it is more commonly referred to - CV, is one of the most important documents you can prepare for your ERAS or CaRMS applications. As we already mentioned, however, your medical student CV will have more purpose than residency apps – it will help you gain those valuable experiences that will make you stand out as a residency applicant.  

A resume is a concise 1 to 2-page document that provides a snapshot of your academic and professional background. On the other hand, a residency CV or a medical student CV is a more comprehensive document that can extend beyond the two-page mark depending on your experience level. It has unique sections that allow you to showcase your experiences and achievements in more detail. Essentially, your medical student CV is supposed to showcase your most significant academic and extracurricular achievements, as well as your skills and abilities. Its aim is to leave a lasting, positive first impression on those who review it. Medical student CVs are often used to apply for various types of academic programs, volunteer and clinical experience opportunities, internships, and so much more. 

We highly recommend that you start preparing your medical student CV in your first year of medical school and update it as you progress through school. Having a readily available CV from the beginning of your medical school career will save you a lot of time and headaches when you need one to apply for different opportunities.


Why Should You Prepare Your Medical Student CV Early?

Most people are familiar with the concept of a medical school application resume, residency CV, and, eventually, a physician resume. What many students often don't realize is how important it is to have a medical student CV as well. Having an updated and well-formatted medical student CV can help you with the following:

Check out this infographic for a quick summary:

Applying for different opportunities: 

As a medical student, you not only have to learn how to study in medical school in order to keep up with the demanding course load, but you also have to prepare for residency applications. Considering the competitive nature of residency programs, that means building up your CV by taking advantage of clinical research opportunities, participating in various extracurriculars, applying for grants or scholarships, and other activities that will make you a more attractive residency candidate. Having an updated medical student CV will make it easier and faster for you to apply for these different opportunities that can come up during medical school. 

There is a lot of competition for research grants, clinical experience programs, and other electives of this nature. This means that as a medical student, you must be able to generate a current CV on immediate request if you want to be a competitive applicant for different opportunities. At the end of the day, a program can’t consider you for an opportunity if it does not know you or the skills that you have to offer. It is your medical student CV and other application components that are used to communicate this information to them.

The competition is even more fierce for International Medical Graduates (IMG). If you are attending medical school abroad, you should make sure that you have an updated medical student CV at your disposal. Especially if you want to eventually get into a residency program in North America. Having the right experiences will make it easier for you to get electives and clinical experience in the US and Canada as an IMG. You need to be prepared to apply and submit all the required documents as soon as possible, so having an up-to-date medical student CV will make the application process faster and easier as you compete for valuable opportunities with other applicants.

Are you an International Medical Graduate? This video is for you:


Keeping track of your activities/experiences:

 As you apply for and participate in different activities, you need to keep track of those that will eventually end up on your residency application. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the CANmeds roles and the AAMC’s core competencies for using those frameworks to guide the experiences you gather while in medical school. By getting your CV ready early, you can easily see what roles and skills are represented in the experiences and skills you currently have on your CV and which ones you still need to work on. 

 For example, let's say you have been focusing on getting research experience, which is great because this shows that you are a scholar - one of the seven roles identified in the CANmeds framework. However, in looking at your medical student CV, you may notice that you don't have anything in your experiences that showcases your understanding of the other competencies. Figuring this out in your second year of medical school, when you still have time to look for other activities, is better than coming to this realization when you are already preparing other application components such as your residency personal statement

Preparing your residency application:

Some may even require you to talk about the experiences that helped you choose your medical specialty. Having a clear record of all the experiences you've picked up while in medical school will help you prepare these documents.

Furthermore, turning your medical student CV into a residency one will be much simpler because you will already have all the information in the right format. You will simply need to do a final update where you review and edit your student CV to ensure that it only reflects the most important information you want to showcase to the residency program. Now that you know why having a medical student CV is essential let's talk about what you need to have a compelling CV that actually accomplishes what it is supposed to.  

How to format your medical student CV

While there is no specific length specified for CVs, they tend to be around 2 to 5 pages. We strongly suggest that you keep your CV about two to three pages long unless you have several years of work experience under your belt. Remember that your CV aims to get the most important information across in a clear manner. This means that it should be concise and straight to the point. If your CV is too long, you risk losing your audience.

Furthermore, while crafting your CV, you should remember that presentation matters almost as much as content. You need to make sure that your CV is aesthetically pleasing and, more importantly, easy to read. Contrary to popular belief, there is no golden template for CVs. The key to a winning CV is making it easy to follow and read.


Here is what we suggest to help you achieve that:

Your CV should be neat, organized, coherent, and easy to read. It should be organized in clearly labeled sections, and each entry should have a summary written in bullet points instead of long paragraphs. Try to limit each entry to 2 to 5 bullet points highlighting your key achievements.

You should have at least one-inch margins around the document and 1.0 spacing. It should not contain anything that might distract from the CV's content, such as bright, flashy colors or unnecessary images. It is best to stick with classic colors like black and white or grey and white. If you want to use some color to make your CV stand out, stick to simple colors like grey, blue, or green and use them minimally. You should also stick to classic fonts such as Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman, in point size 10 or 12 points, as that is big enough to read easily but also small enough to allow you to include plenty of information on each page.

When you are done crafting your CV, you should check it and recheck it for typos, grammar issues, and inconsistencies in formatting. Your CV needs to instill confidence in your professionalism and abilities. Spelling mistakes do not do that. So, make sure you go over it one last time to ensure it is error-free.

What to Include in Your Medical Student CV

As mentioned earlier, your CV should be separated into clearly labeled sections. Let's go over the categories that your medical school CV should have: 

Medical Student CV Examples: 

Medical student CV example #1


Medical student CV example #2


1. What is a medical student CV?

Essentially, it is a document that is supposed to walk the reader through your academic and professional background. It should list all of your academic and professional experiences and achievements leading up to and so far in medical school. 

2. Why do you need a medical student CV?

You need one to apply for different academic programs and research opportunities while in medical school. Later, you will also need it to make a residency CV and apply to residency programs.

3. When should I start preparing my medical student CV?

We recommend that you prepare one during your first year of medical school and make sure it is constantly updated as you progress in your studies. 

4. Can I use my medical school resume to apply for academic programs in medical school?

You can, but we don't recommend that you do. The program will specifically request a CV most of the time, and even if they don't, your medical school resume may not be up to date, and it will not be as detailed as a CV. That could easily cost you the opportunity that you're applying for. 

5. Can someone help me with my medical student CV?

Absolutely. A medical school advisor can review your CV and help you make it as compelling as possible!

6. How long should a medical student CV be?

CVs are typically between 2 and 5 pages long. We recommend that you keep your CV as concise as possible.

7. What sections should I include on my medical student CV?

 Your CV should have your personal/contact information, education background, clinical experiences, research experiences, presentations and publications, volunteer or extracurricular experiences, awards and honors, and optional sections like skills, languages, or hobbies. 

8. How often should I update my medical student CV?

We recommend updating your CV whenever you participate in a new relevant experience. This is the best way to keep track of your activities and ensure that it is always up to date and ready to submit.


To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 

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