Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Difference between CV and resume for residency applicants

Resume is typically short (less than 2 pages)

Why you need a short version:

For many applicants who do not have lots of accomplishments, the difference between CV and resume is not much. However, if you are very accomplished with many abstracts, posters presented or volunteer work done, then writing all of your accomplishments in a list format can be tedious. It is very easy to lose the most important accomplishments in a sea of other not so important things you have done. Hence it is imperative that you have a document not more than 2 pages long which includes all of your important undertakings

When to use it:

The short resume version is a good version to use during your residency interview. When you are called in to interview with the program director or faculty, you can always break the ice by saying something to the effect that – “I know you have my ERAS CV and may have looked at it, but I would like to present to you an updated brief resume of my most important accomplishments”. This is a great way to make a robust impression on the interviewee and you can leave a copy with them in case, they want to get in touch with you or even help them remember you and put a face to the name.

How to make one:

This point is not as easy as it seems but usually a good resume is not more than 2 pages long. Make a list of all the things that are on your CV and then pare down the list by order of importance. Do not have any redundant data on your resume that may already be in the system or in your file, for example you do not need your USMLE step scores in there as they will already have that information. No need for any visas status or hobbies as well.

resume versus CV: residency application
CV is more in-depth, lengthy (2 pages +).

Why you need a long version:

This is the back bone of your professional life and chronicles all the things you have done, things you have accomplished and participated in. CVs of very illustrious scientists, clinicians and professors often run in 10-12 pages with type 10 font! (with a line in the end – please get in touch for full list of references, publications etc). For a newly graduated medical student the CV may be 2-4 pages long. This will include your home address, contact information, positions you have held, presentation, grants and funding source etc. Talks and posters you have presented will also be included here, including volunteering efforts. Do not hold back in writing all you have done but be careful as to not appear frivolous. Writing that you were the secretary of the local playing card club may look pretty silly

When to use a long version:

The long version is automatically made for you by the ERAS CV applet online. This CV will be sent to all programs and will also be copied to be distributed to all your interviewers. One good time to send the long version to PD or PC is in January. Giving them an updated CV will help them remember your name and get back into the memory spotlight. For this you need to have your CV that is updated, sending the same CV multiple times just looks silly. You don’t really need to send a free form CV to anyone, but it will definitely come in hand in many situations later on in life (visa applications, interviewing for jobs, 'green card' application etc).

How to make a long version:

There are 2 ways to make the long version; the first one is fairly easy with the ERAS online template the CV is actually made for you in a format that is uniform and acceptable by programs. The other one is the free form CV which you make in MS word or any other word processor software. There are several examples of long CV online but the one I prefer is linked here – see the image.

In conclusion, know the difference between a CV and a resume, Spend some time working on both, use each of them to your advantage. Also, if you applying to different specialties try and tailor your resume. For example if you have experience in both pediatrics and psychiatry, then put the pediatric experience above the psychiatry experience and vice versa. If you like this site and wish to be in touch and get the latest posts and updates, join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

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