If your dream is to become a physician, it’s important to create a medical school resume for the admission application process. This document is a personal record of what you’ve done to prepare for medical school. Your hard work and preparation will be evident in each of the categories that are included on your medical school resume. The admission committee will evaluate this CV along with other required application materials to determine if you’re an ideal candidate for medical school.
Take a Personal Inventory
Begin by taking stock of all that you’ve done during high school and college to prepare for medical school. Start this process early so that you’ll have time to do more if need be. You don’t have to fill each possible category, but you’ll be more competitive if you have substantive experience on your medical school resume. If you took time off between college and applying for medical school, your resume may be a little longer to accommodate your accomplishments.
Write a Pre-Med Resume Objective
Your pre-med resume objective should convey your passion for working in the medical field. Combine your interest in helping others with something that you feel sets you apart. You don’t need to know your desired specialization, but consider what drives you to become a physician. Select a focus area for your pre-med resume objective, like research, problem solving or patient education.
Highlight Academic Accomplishments
A college transcript will be required as a component of your medical school application, but it’s important to showcase how academic pursuits are an interest and the mainstay of your time in college. Include a category on your medical school resume to emphasize your scholarly accomplishments.
Use this section to brag about exemplary scores in classes that focus on the hard sciences or pre-med topics. If you served as a tutor, be sure to include this as further evidence of your academic abilities. Finally, list any academic honors or awards that you received even if they’re not related to the medical field.
Highlight the Research You’ve Done
If you’ve participated in research projects or served as a research assistant for a professor, include a section in your medical school resume that highlights these experiences. You can even list research projects that you completed for classes in college. A medical school admission committee will look favorably upon research experience as evidence of your scholarly aptitude.
Showcase Your Extracurricular Involvement
When you look at a pre-medical school resume example, you’ll see that extracurricular involvement is key. Getting involved on campus demonstrates your ability to multitask, manage your time and serve as a leader. If you’ve held specific leadership roles, be sure to bold these experiences. Serving in leadership roles is further confirmation that you have the attributes needed to be successful in medical school.
Mention Certifications and Licenses
Don’t forget to mention any earned certifications or licenses that are related to the medical field. If you are a licensed EMT/paramedic, are CPR certified or have served as a certified nursing assistant, highlight these experiences on your medical school resume.
These experiences will show a medical school admission committee that you’ve explored the medical field and continued to pursue opportunities to learn more about what it takes to be successful. You can expand on these experiences when you write your admission essay or cover letter.
Underscore Honors and Awards
A section about honors and awards is an impressive way to showcase how you’re a leader who is recognized for excellence. Don’t leave anything out, even if it’s not directly related to the medical field. Awards related to service to the community, student involvement or academic achievement are important to highlight on your medical school resume.
This section will signal the admission committee that you’re someone who is destined to make a difference in all that you do. It’s also a way to set you apart from other applicants.
Underscore Your Volunteer Activities
It’s important to volunteer in the community and state this clearly on your medical school resume. You can list individual community service projects, but long-term service to a community agency is a testament to your interest in serving others. Volunteering abroad is even more impressive, so be sure to highlight any work that you may have done on a study abroad trip.
It’s ideal to have volunteer experience that’s related to the medical field. This can include serving in a nursing home, assisted-living facility, medical clinic or hospital.
Emphasize Your Special Skills
Don’t hesitate to add a special section on your medical school resume that describes your unique skills that may not be included in another category. The admission committee is looking for students who are well rounded and have the ability to think critically about a variety of situations. Here are some skills that you may want to highlight:
- Computer or technical skills
- Fluent in a foreign language
- Public speaking
- Program planning
- Overcoming adversity
- Athletic ability
- Teaching experience
- Crisis management
- Critical thinking
Include Scholarships and Grants
A list of scholarships and grants is an impressive addition to a medical school resume. If you’ve been recognized for your academic abilities or achievement as a leader, the medical school admission team will take note. The amount of the scholarship or grant doesn’t need to be included unless it’s particularly impressive. Similarly, scholarships and grants don’t have to be related to the medical field.
Don’t Forget Your Employment History
Your work history tells a medical admission committee that you’re willing to work hard and that you can manage multiple responsibilities while achieving academically. List each job along with leadership roles or significant accomplishments. Working in the medical field is a plus but not a requirement. Put your current job or most recent work role first and list the others in descending order.
Consider What’s Missing
As you write your medical school resume, consider what’s missing. You can use the process as a way to assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you start organizing your resume early, you’ll still have time to work with some of the missing categories. Compare your resume to a pre-medical school resume example to determine how you compare to other candidates.
Proofread and Show Your Resume to Others
It’s hard work to write a resume, and sometimes it’s easy to miss simple errors. In addition to proofreading your resume, ask other people to read it too. Specifically, show your resume to a mentor or professor to gain insight about what you might be missing.
You can also seek the help of your college career center. Try attending a resume-writing workshop or scheduling a meeting with a career adviser to gain some valuable insight about your medical school resume.
Write a Cover Letter
In addition to a medical school resume, you may also need to submit a letter of intent or a cover letter. This letter can fill in the gaps or missing pieces of your resume. Tell a personal story in your cover letter about why you want to be a medical student.
Use this as an opportunity to show your passion and share experiences that may not fit into traditional resume categories. In some cases, an essay may be considered as a substitute for a cover letter, but you can use the information from the cover letter for your essay.
- University of Southern California Career Center: Write a Resume & Cover Letter
- Harvard University Office of Career Services: Resumes, CVs, Cover Letters
- University of California Berkeley Career Center: Resume and Letter Writing
- American Medical Student Association: 8 Tips to Create a Better Resume When Applying to Med School
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.