In a field as competitive as medicine, you want to stand out. Often your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the first, and possibly only, glimpse a residency program, fellowship, or hiring personal get of you when you apply. If this document doesn’t do an excellent job of showing you to be a viable applicant, your CV, along with the opportunity of securing the position you applied for, will be out of the running.

For this reason, creating a clean, attractive, and thorough cv early on is a good idea. If you are in medical school, your organized CV will show residency or fellowship programs that you are forward-thinking and responsible. Organizing your cv in advance can make adjusting, updating, or adding to it in the future quick and easy. Below we break down key points to improving your CV.


  1. Be Clear and Concise

There is a happy medium when it comes to the length of a CV. In the past, it was recommended that CVs be no longer than one page. For those in medicine, CV lengths can be more lenient. One page is often not enough to house your contact information, educational history, certifications and licenses, additional training, professional or teaching experience, awards, and skills. Because medical CVs require greater detail, a document that is 2-3 pages is acceptable.

For additional information on what to include in your CV click here >

While a longer CV is okay, you still want to make sure that the content of the CV is concise. Readers do not want to spend time looking over a CV that is full of fluff. Try to put in only what is necessary and phrase it in a way that uses the least amount of words, and therefore space, on paper.

In some cases, there may be a large pool of applicants applying for the same job as you, and those reviewing applicants will need to narrow it down to a few key applicants relatively quickly. For this reason, it is crucial to put the most important items first.

If tailoring your CV to a specific program or job description, be sure to use keywords so that those reviewing applications can quickly tell if you meet the application requirements.


  1. Stay Relevant 

This means including only the content that is relevant to the job or program you will be using your CV for. Earlier on in your career (perhaps if you are still in medical school), you may include items in your CV that are not as relevant to your future in medicine simply because you do not have enough experience to pull from. As you near applying for residency and jobs, this should not be the case.

Filling your document with items is distracting and takes up valuable space. As mentioned in the first tip, brevity is essential.


  1. Refer to References

In some instances, like in a CV, name-dropping is acceptable. Listing 3-5 references is a good start. As medical professionals are busy, listing more references can give those looking over your CV, a higher chance of connecting with someone who can provide supplemental information on you as an individual, a student, and or a medical professional.

For guidelines on how to include references, click here>


  1. Update Contact Information

Congrats! Your improved CV blew the reader away. Now the program or job you applied for wants to contact you for an interview! Unfortunately, you have not updated your contact information in some time. The phone number you provided is no longer one you own. The calls to schedule an interview never make it to you.

Make sure the scenario above doesn’t happen to you by updating your contact information regularly. Missing this step is easy, but it can completely take away from all the work you have done to improve your CV.


Haven’t started writing your CV yet? That’s okay, we have you covered!

Check out our post ‘How to Write a CV’ >