Making the Best Intern/Resident CV

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The curriculum vitae is not hard to do well, and it performs an enormous job.  It has to be organized, clear, detailed, and help create a narrative of what you have done.  There is no one right way to do a CV, but here are some guidelines which will help.

There is no page limit.  Unlike resumes, which should be 1-2 pages, CVs have no page limit.  Obviously, you shouldn’t pad your CV with unnecessary or irrelevant information, but don’t worry about cutting blank space to smoosh it onto a page or two.  Let it be expansive.

No job descriptions.  This is veterinary medicine.  I know what a technician does, I know what a rotating small animal intern does.  I know what RAVS is and what it means to be a club member or a president or a founding president.  Unless it is fairly out of the box for veterinary medicine, we don’t do job descriptions.

Reverse chronological order.  None of this narrative CV nonsense.  Make sure the formatting is consistent.  If you have dates on the left hand for your education, use dates on the left hand throughout.

Emphasize important points.  My name is underlined in all of my publications so it is easy to spot in an author order.  If you have an important role in a club, like President, highlight that with italics or bold or underline or set it apart somehow.  Imagine reading one hundred CVs. It’s easy to let your eye blur over them. Make sure there is something to bring attention to important information.  Be careful not to overuse this, as then it can make the CV look too confusing and all-over-the-place.

Structure according to importance.  Generally, this will be education, experience, research/publications, teaching, awards, associations, miscellaneous, and references.  There are a lot of different sections you can have, but for internship/residency applicants, these are the most common. I recommend putting education and experience in one, so that it is easy to track what you have done from undergrad matriculation through to your current position.

Include extracurricular activities.  Opinions may differ, but I like to know an applicant has a life other than school.  Particularly if you have some kind of leadership or teaching role in your extracurriculars, this can illustrate that skill set.

Remember that academia is about teaching, research, and service.  If you have capabilities in any of these areas, make sure they make it onto the CV.  If you have research, the general order of importance is: first author publication, second or last author publication, any-other-order author publication; manuscript published, manuscript accepted, manuscript submitted, research in progress.  Many many applicants have research in progress which never evolves to a submission. If at all possible, I strongly encourage you to structure your research pursuits to produce a submitted paper by December.

You should be thorough, clear, and make sure the appearance is clean.  No one wants to slog through paragraphs of text in a CV. Use white space.  Make it classy and simple.

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