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Writing Your First Medical Resume

Updated on September 27, 2013

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Now is the Time

Following graduation is the best time to put all of the information you need for your resume in a safe place. It may seem easy now to remember the specifics of everything because it is fresh in your mind, but a year or 5 years from now it may not be so easy to keep it all straight! Create a file of your educational information, including transcripts with graduation dates. Additionally, make sure the file contains all of your clinical rotation information, awards and honors ,extra-curricular activities, and contact information for references. Now only will keeping everything together help with your resume, but it will make the credentialing process easier! Once you have received your board certification, state license, and prescribing rights make sure you add it all to the file.


Resume vs CV

A good place to start is to decide whether your previous experience is best summarized in the form of a resume or a Curriculum Vitae. You may be asking yourself, "well what is the difference?".

Both a resume and a CV represent you and your career. They both aim to summarize your previous work experience, but more importantly they act as a first impression. Employers often review a resume or CV before they even speak with you in person. With that being said, as a new grad with limited work experience, it is important to portray yourself in the best light.

For most recent grads, a resume is the best option. A regular resume is typically what is required when applying for most positions. A CV covers everything that is included in a resume with the addition of the details of the applicant's publication or lecture history. For most new grads, they don't have any lecture experience or publications, but if you do a CV may be an option.

Characteristics of a Good Resume

A good resume makes an impression with your future employer that makes them want to bring you in for an interview. A successful resume is concise, yet complete and well organized. It outlines the positive aspects of your education and career, without being untruthful or inflating one's experience. Typically when an employer posts an opening for a position, they receive a large influx of resumes. Your resume has to catch the eye of your future employer, without being so lengthy that they lose interest. Your contact information should be easily readable at the top of the page. A good resume is well organized and complete without being cluttered or difficult to read. It presents things in a chronological order that is easy to follow. Lastly, a professional resume is grammatically correct, without careless errors!


Start by looking inward. It is important to reflect on what you hope to achieve in your career. Then, organize those personal experiences that you think could lend to achieving your career goals. It is important to come up with a purpose and a sense of direction for your resume. Once you have established a strong sense of what your career goals are, start to reflect on the skills, experience, and interests that you have that make you best suited to those goals and the position you are applying for.

Components of a Successful Resume

  • Identification information - This should include your name, address, phone number, and email address. It is important that this remains up to date, as this is how future employers will contact you to invite you for an interview or offer you employment.
  • Objective - This should outline your career goals. Your objective should be tailored for each individual position you are applying for. Be concise, yet thorough.
  • Education - This should include all the schools you have attended, starting with the most recent school attended and going back to high school, and your graduation dates.This section should also include your majors, and degrees earned.
  • Professional Licensure and Certification - Include here all pertinent professional licensure and certification. For example, licensure as an LNA or certification for ACLS or BCLS. Professional affiliations should also be included here.
  • Experience - This can be split into 2 components: clinical experience while in school and work experience. Clinical experience while in school should be formatted to include the name of the practice, address and time frame spent at the site. Work experience should be formatted to include the position title, location, time spent in the position and clinical responsibilities. List your most recent positions first and work backwards.
  • Honors - A list of honors and rewards obtained while in school, or professional honors from previous work experience. A GPA can be included here, but only if higher that 3.0.
  • References - References should be available upon request.


Make sure you use the spell check, but also proof-read your resume in the old fashioned way. There are a bunch of grammar mishaps that even the spell check can miss. A second set of eyes are always welcome. Have someone else proof-read your resume. They may catch a mistake that you missed!

Let's Recap

Think of a resume as your foot in the door. A good resume makes a strong first impression and makes a potential future employer want to bring you in for an interview. It should be concise, yet complete and present your best qualities without inflating your experience. Each resume should be tailored to the job you are applying for, with a clear-cut objective. Make sure it includes all of the details in a format that is easy to read and well organized. Editing is key and a second set of eyes never hurt.


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