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CV Preparation Tips

Questions for Preparing a Curriculum Vitae For Residency Applications

We will request a CV from you in your third year for our use during the MSPE process. The Office of Student Affairs will collect these and will be available for consultation in their preparation. ERAS will request much of this data, but it will not be a straight upload of your CV. However, it will be great to have it completed and reviewed to use as a reference. This document should be as long as you need it to be; especially if you have a previous career, a number of publications or extensive volunteering etc. You should avoid unnecessary padding. 

An academic CV differs from a commercial resumé in a number of ways: they are more conservative and fonts are of a standard type, such as Times New Roman, and consistent in size, normally 10 -12 point. You may want to occasionally use bold or italics for headings, etc., but don’t overdo it. Avoid a glitzy appearance. The CV needn’t state a purpose, as the residency program will be well aware of that. In general, do not include long paragraphs describing the nature of prior employment that may be clinically irrelevant. It is not necessary to refer to letters of reference (e.g., "References available on request") since you will include them anyway with your application. Keep margins to one inch on all sides, and leave enough white space that the material is easily read.

After a heading containing your name (without degrees), address, phone, and e-mail address, there are a number of sections, generally ordered and named as follows: Education, Medical Education, Current & Prior Training, Certifications, Military Service, Work History, Research Activities, Volunteer Experience, Publications, Hobbies and Interests, Medical School Awards, Other Awards and Accomplishments, Membership in Honorary/Professional Societies. These are the same headings that ERAS uses so it should be easy for you to transfer information to your residency application when the time comes.

For medical school, indicate that your degree is "expected (date of graduation)." People look for holes in your life, and there should be no extended period of time unaccounted for. It is better to say that you worked at McDonald’s for a year (and what’s wrong with that?) than to have them wonder where you might have been during that time. Include activities in which you participated before medical school, including your college years. Even certain pre-college achievements (e.g., high school valedictorian, Eagle Scout) may be relevant. Programs are likely to be interested in any evidence of organizational activity, athletics, leadership, community service, medically related activities (whether paid or volunteer), research (whether or not you published) and extended travel for any reason. If your activities were done under the auspices of an institution (e.g., your college) include that.

If you list publications, include complete bibliographies in an accepted journal style, including all authors with last names followed by first initials, year of publication, title, the name of publication, and, as necessary, volume and pagination. For this purpose, it is appropriate to list papers as "submitted for publication" if that is, in fact, the case, but any stage before that (e.g., "in preparation") should not be included, as that may be seen as an empty promise.

We are here to help whenever you’d like us to look at a draft!


  • Omitting information (dates, teaching details, grant details, service details, pending grants)
  • Not putting items in chronological or reverse chronological order
  • Not separating information into subheadings
  • Using University of Maryland Medical School instead of University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Including license numbers (these are confidential and should NOT be included)
  • Listing the expiration date instead of the date issued for licenses
  • Pagination errors - heading at the bottom of one page, the section beginning on the next page
  • Not underlining or putting name in bold in publications
  • Not being consistent in formatting, font and font size
  • Not spell checking and proof-reading to catch these and other mistakes
  • Not including leadership, volunteering and sports activities from undergraduate years
  • Listing hobbies that would show a Program Director that you may be distracted (ie. playing video games, fantasy football, etc.)

Sample CV