The curriculum vitae, or CV, 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.
CV Section Headings
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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 Your CV
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- 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.
- Do not include your social security number, 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.
- Remember: Be Clear – Concise – Complete – Consistent - Current
AMA Reference Formatting Examples
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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.