Residency CV – The Definitive 2020 Guide

Updated: June 30, 2020

Whether you're applying through ERAS or CaRMS, you'll need to use information in your residency CV to complete your residency application. Knowing exactly what to include in your residency CV can be challenging, and if your CV isn't put together correctly and doesn't demonstrate what makes you unique as a candidate, residency directors won't be convinced that you're a suitable match for their program. This blog will tell you exactly how to write a residency CV by exploring important sections to include, as well as an example, so you can ensure your CV and application will stand out among other candidates. 

The following topics will be explored:

Purpose of a Residency CV

Residency CV: Format

Residency CV: Choosing Entries to Include

Residency CV: Sections to Include

Residency CV Example

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Purpose of a Residency CV

A residency CV is an important document that is used to highlight your experience and training in a succinct, easy to understand format. You'll use the information in your CV to fill out either the ERAS or CaRMS residency application. The main goal of a residency CV is to showcase your most significant academic and extracurricular achievements, leaving a lasting, positive, first impression to those who review it. Essentially, your CV should convince residency directors that you're exactly what they're looking for and are a strong match for their residency program. Not only is having an up-to-date CV important for applying to residency and crafting your personal statement, but it's also important for filling out rotation applications and when securing letters of recommendation from physicians.

>> Check out residency personal statement examples <<

CV Format

A residency CV is typically between 3-5 pages in length and should utilize bullet points instead of complete sentences. The object of your CV is to get the most important information across in a clear manner so it can be easily digested by program directors. This means that long sentences and paragraphs are not suitable. Normally, 2-5 bullet points is suitable for each entry and it's a good idea to begin each bullet with an action verb. For example, instead of writing “I was one of two individuals who participated in the development of Obstetric policies”, in one bullet simply write “assisted in developing Obstetric policies”.

Ensure that the formatting of your residency CV is consistent throughout. For example, use bold and italics to highlight sections and positions, and maintain indent, font, and spacing throughout. Now is not the time to get creative with your CV and try different font colors, pictures or font types. Stick with traditional font such as Times New Roman or Calibri and keep text black in 11 or 12pt. It's also a good idea to include your name and page number at the bottom of each page of your CV. Without this information, you risk your CV becoming jumbled with other CVs and important information being lost. When you save your CV, make sure you title it appropriately, with your first and last name instead of just calling it “CV”. Organization is key, you want your residency CV to be easily identifiable both electronically and on paper.

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, your CV must be free from spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It's a good idea to have your CV professionally reviewed by a reputable medical school admissions consulting company to ensure your residency CV and application stand out.

Choosing Entries to Include 

Medical students often struggle with which items to include in their residency CV and which to leave out. From high school to undergrad to medical school, you've likely gained a lot of valuable experiences and have many accomplishments to boot. Just because you have a lot of items you could include in your CV, doesn't mean that you should include them all. Your main goal is to think about which experiences are most relevant to the residency position you're applying for and what items will make you unique among other candidates. If you find yourself unsure if you should include something, think about whether or not it will benefit you to include it, and if so, how? Is it an essential piece of information that will help you get selected for an interview? Would you be comfortable answering residency interview questions about this experience? Put yourself in the residency director's shoes, if you were them and read about this specific experience, would you find it relevant to the position? Would you be interested in learning more? If the answer is no, it's best not to include the experience.

Residency CV Sections to Include

The hierarchy of categories in a residency CV can vary from one CV to the next, but in general, personal information, education, clinical experience, and research experience should be at the top as these are the most relevant sections. Here are the most important sections to include:

1. Personal Information

The personal information section is standard in every CV and should be included at the very top of the page or as a header, so it's easily identifiable. This section should include the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Mailing addressing
  • Email address
  • Phone number

Example

Jamie Beclie

178 Boul Rene-Levesque

Montreal, Quebec, H2F 0C8

(514) 192-xxxx

[email protected]

2. Education

This section should be included right after your personal information so it can be found quickly. Be sure to write your education in reverse chronological order, meaning your most recent education should be listed first. Include your undergraduate, graduate and medical school education, high school information, however, should not be included. If you haven't completed your medical education, you can include your anticipated completion date instead. Include the following sections:

  • Name of the school
  • Program you attended
  • Degree you achieved
  • Year you began and completed your degree

Example

MD CM 2014-2018

McGill University, Montreal, QC

Bachelor of Science, Biology 2009-2013

McGill University, Montreal, QC

3. Clinical Experiences

List your medical clinical experiences in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experience first. Be sure to include clinical experiences that are relevant to the program that you're applying to and showcase the skills you developed in these roles. Include the following:

  • Organization or institution name
  • City and state
  • Position title
  • Dates the position was held
  • Action words to summarize your role and responsibilities
  • More depth to your entry by including aspects such as experience setting, patient population, clinical issues, and teams you worked with

Example

 Health Intern 

St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, May 2018 - September 2019

Phoenix, Arizona

  • Completed an audit of best practices for hypertension diagnoses in family practice clinics.
  • Collaborated with nurses and doctors to help develop Obstetric policies.
  • Assisted in collecting data for the environmental scan in Obstetrics.

4. Research experience

List your research experiences in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experience first. Include the following:

  • Organization or institution name
  • City and state
  • Position title
  • Dates the position was held
  • Use action words to summarize your duties, accomplishments, and successes

Example

Clinical Research Assistant 

Department of Psychiatry-University of Michigan, June 2018-September 2019

Ann Arbor, Michigan 

  • Conducted medical chart reviews and data mining
  • Built database and contributed to statistical analyses

5. Publications and Presentations

This section should include any presentations you were involved in, whether you were giving a presentation or contributed to the visual work. In addition, if you've written or contributed to any published articles, books or research papers, list them here. Be sure to use bibliographic citations in the format that is acceptable for your field of study. If a paper has been accepted for publication but hasn't been published yet, you can list this as forthcoming.

Include:

  • Title of presentation
  • Conference name
  • Location of conference
  • Date of conference
  • Brief description of the content you contributed

Example

Poster Presentation: Beclie J. (2013, Aug 28) Age-dependent symmetry breaking of Kar9. Poster session presented at the 5th Annual Symposium of the Cellular Macromolecular Complexes Program, Montreal, Canada.

6. Volunteer Experience/Extracurriculars

In this section, list your most significant extracurriculars for medical school and volunteer experiences. Make sure you prioritize experiences that were valuable and demonstrate long term commitment instead of one-off activities.

Include:

  • Organization or institution name
  • Position title
  • Dates the position was held
  • Use action words to summarize your duties, accomplishments, and successes

Example

 Treasurer

Cardiology Society,  Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, 2017- 2018

  • Managed the societies budget and allocated money to events.
  • Aided in planning and executing  society events

7. Awards and Scholarships

This section should include relevant awards or honors you've received during both your undergraduate and medical school training. This includes scholarships, grants, teaching assistantships, and even being included on the Dean's list. Instead of writing in reverse chronological order, this section can be written in order of importance, to highlight the most impressive achievements first. Make sure you include items that will help your candidacy as opposed to listing every and any award or scholarship you've ever received.

Include:

  • Name of the honor/award
  • Date you received the honor/award
  • Location of the award

Examples

RCSI International Citizenship Award, Dublin 2019

St. Anthony Basin Resources Inc Scholarship, WHA, St. Anthony, Canada 2019

Optional Sections

Interests/Activities/Skills

Including hobbies, interests, and skills can be beneficial as it shows that you have interests outside of medicine and are a well-rounded individual.

Include:

  • Name of interest/hobby
  • Brief explanation of participation

Examples

Self-Sustainability – Including wood-working and gardening, mainly using a homemade hydroponic system to maximize produce yield

Volleyball– Multiple seasons organizing, coaching, and playing for university intramural volleyball teams

Professional Memberships

Include any memberships to professional associations that can highlight your continual interest in medicine.

Include:

  • Name of association

Example

Canadian Medical Association (CMA) 

Languages

If you possess reading, writing and or verbal skills in additional languages, include them in this section as a way to show you are a unique candidate.

Include:

  • Language
  • Level of skills in appropriate categories

Example

French

  • Intermediate written and spoken

Leadership Experiences

Any founding roles or formal leadership training can be included here to strengthen your CV. In addition, participation in student organizations, projects or even experiences abroad can be included if they can demonstrate your commitment.

Include:

  • Organization, institution or training
  • Dates involved
  • Relevant skills and your accomplishments

Example

Oregon State University Chemistry Student Union, May 2014 - April 2015

Corvallis, Oregon

  • Established information sessions and networking events.
  • Organized the department’s first career symposium; awarded the Science Society’s best event of the year.
  • Created the chemistry note taking club.

Check out this video for a recap:


Residency CV Example

Christine Wing

123 Wilma Avenue, California, USA 1234567

(647)1234567, [email protected]

Education

2010-2015 Master of Medical Science, Fujian Medical University, China

2005-2009 Bachelor of Clinical Medicine, Fujian Medical University, China

Clinical Experience

Clinical Research Coordinator 

California Health Sciences Centre, California, USA, February 2013-January 2015

  • Supported staff physicians in the Critical Care Department by successfully coordinating more than 20 clinical trials.
  • Identified and enrolled patients in clinical trials.
  • Assisted with project design, case report forms, grant applications, revenue tracking, and management.

Physician Assistant - Endocrinologist 

Fujian Provincial Hospital, Fuzhou, China, July 2011-June 2012

  • Oversaw and standardized diabetes education program conducted by registered nurses and dieticians.
  •  Improved quality control by organizing weekly learning sessions for diabetes educators.
  • Coordinated the logistics for a group of clinicians to provide monthly consults to the local population in a remote area of the Fujian province.

Diabetes Physician Assistant/Clinical Research Coordinator 

UCLA Endocrine Center, California, USA, April 2008-June 2011

  • Performed all realms of patient care, including the assessment of new diabetic patients and formulated treatment plans under the direction of supervising physicians.
  • Educated patients on diet, exercise, insulin starts, adjustments and insulin pumps.
  • Created Chinese versions of diabetes education documents to enhance the care of diabetic Chinese patients with insufficient English abilities.

Research Experience

Summer Research Student

California Heart Centre, May 2005- September 2006

  • Collected data through electronic patient records to update research database and reviewed relevant research literature
  • Collaborated with other researchers leading to publication and conference presentation
  • Research projects working towards publication include studying the impact of trastuzumab interruption on patient outcomes and cardiotoxicity risk prediction

Project Lead 

Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, China September 2002-July 2005

  • Compared the different gene expressions of kidney tissue between type 2 diabetic rats and normal rats, while exploring the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy.
  • Established animal models.
  • Isolated and purified mRNA, prepared probes and performed hybridization.

Volunteer Experience

Speaker of Heath Education Session 

CareNow Senior Community Center, June 2015-March 2016

  • Educate seniors about common diseases in geriatric medicine.
  • Inform healthy lifestyles.
  • Orient seniors to the Canadian healthcare system and the resources available to them.

 Call Volunteer

California and District Distress Centre, January 2014-April 2015

  • Responded to the Distress line, Seniors Helpline, and Crisis Response Line
  • Provided support, stress management, crisis intervention through active listening and effective communication

Family Room Volunteer 

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles –  September 2011-October 2013

  • Assisted and provided support to family members who have children admitted
  • Cleaned and maintained the facilities for family members to rest, shower, and use the kitchen

Speaker of Community Outreach Program 

American Diabetes Association May 2008-April 2011

  • Lectured for a group of Chinese speaking individuals in a local pharmacy.
  • Educated people on diet, exercise, and the basics of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Coordinator

US Public Health Service, June 2009-October 2009

  • Organized Diabetes and Immigrant in US project 
  • Conducted survey for diabetes patients

Publications

Wing, C., Lin, L., & Chen, G. (April 2005). The Expression of Oxidative Stress-Related Genes in Liver Tissue of Type 2 Diabetic Mice. Strait Journal of Preventative Medicine,11, 3-5.

Languages

  • Fluent, English
  • Fluent, Mandarin
  • Fluent, Cantonese

Hobbies

Miruthangam (Indian Percussion Instrument)

  • Trained professionally since June 2007
  • Received awards and performed at various venues (temples, theatre, and halls)
  • Taught theoretical and practical concepts to students

Piano

  • Attended piano lessons until 2016 for 9 years
  • Played in recitals and attained Grade 8 Royal Conservatory of Music level

Professional Memberships

  • Society of General Internal Medicine
  • American Medical Association
  • California Medical Association

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