By now, if you’re a final-year resident, you should be thinking about your plans for when you finish your residency. Before you begin the job search in earnest, it’s a good idea to create or update your curriculum vitae, or CV. You might be thinking, “That’s easy. I haven’t done anything yet!” That might be the case, but in reality, you probably have done more than you realize.
Whether you are just starting out or need to freshen a rough draft, here are some recommendations for creating a CV.
The first step is to capture all the things you have done. Start by taking a sheet of paper and making columns with the following headings: licensure/documents, honors and awards, presentations/publications, research activities, committees, teaching, community service, and special skills. List each of the things you’ve done in each category.
Don’t be modest. You have to sell yourself. No item is too small for consideration for your CV at this stage. Get together with other people in your residency class and brainstorm together. They might help you think of certain activities that you have not already thought about. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you brainstorm each section:
- Licensure/documents: If you haven’t obtained a license in the state where you want to practice, now is the time to do it. Make sure advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and BLS are current. If you haven’t taken your board exam, mention that you are board-eligible and include the date you plan to take the exam.
- Honors and awards: You don’t have to receive a trophy at a fancy awards ceremony to fill out this section. Did you ever receive a letter from the department chair, program director, or clerkship director giving you a special commendation? Such recognition might be worth a mention.
- Presentations and publications: If you have been published, include the citation here. Many residents present posters at regional meetings; this information should go in your CV. Have you given a presentation for “Morning Report” or a “Morbidity and Mortality Conference”? If so, these count as presentations, too. Many residents have written Web-based materials. Cite these as well.
- Teaching: Consider all the activities you perform for medical students. Have you given the students any prepared lectures? Have you been a preceptor for their physical exam labs? Have you provided mentorship for a student? Significant time spent mentoring also should be reflected on a resident’s CV.
- Research: QI projects generally count as HM research projects.
- Committees: Think about all the meetings you’ve attended and determine if any of them count as providing services to the residency or hospital.
- Special skills: Proficiency in thoracocentesis or lumbar puncture procedures qualifies for this section. If you speak a second (or third, fourth, etc.) language, include it here.
Rough Draft = First Attempt
Now that you have gathered your information, it’s time to organize it. Web-based resources and templates are plentiful, and many can help you write the CV. If you are applying for an academic position, you will need to keep a detailed CV. If you are not applying for an academic position, it is best to keep your CV at no more than two pages in length; however, you might want to keep a comprehensive (and lengthier) version on file.