Preparing Your Curriculum Vitae

Medical Student holding books

Although your Curriculum Vitae (or CV) may be slightly different when you apply to fellowship or to a job, the basic structure of the document should be very similar. Below is an outline of the elements you should include in your CV:

  • Full Name
  • Contact Information
    This includes your phone number, email, and mailing address. Make sure you include a phone number with active voicemail AND a number that you will respond to (ideally not a line that your mom, little sister, or son that may answer instead of you). Also, be sure to check your voicemail frequently and delete messages as needed to keep your mailbox open.
  • Certification/Licensure
    If you are Board-Eligible, note the date you plan to sit for your Boards. If you have recently taken the exam or re-certified, include the dates that your certification is valid. The same goes for state medical licensure.
  • Education
    Make sure the dates of your education are easy to follow.
  • Work Experience
    Make sure the titles and dates of your employment are clear and easy to follow.
  • Publications, Posters, Research, Grants, Volunteer Experience
    You may not have information to include for each of these topics so you may not need to include separate section headers for each of these topics; just include the topics relevant to your experience.
  • Information NOT to Include:
    • Photograph of Yourself (even if you’re adorable, photos often look unprofessional, so unless your application specifically requires a photo, leave it out)
    • Marital Status – not relevant, and technically illegal for a prospective employer to ask you about.
    • Social Security Number – this seems self-explanatory, but there is no need to compromise your privacy. Do not include your SSN!

In addition to the content of your CV, make sure you don’t overlook aesthetics. These little details are important to give you an edge over others.

  • Keep your CV clean and easy-to-read… don't overcrowd your CV
  • Include bold headers for each section of your CV
  • Make sure that there are clearly labeled dates for training and experience
  • Avoid spelling mistakes and grammatical errors!

Download a Sample CV

Beyond the CV

Personal Statement and Cover Letter

Personal Statements are typically used for fellowship applications; while cover letters are sometimes used in the job application process.

What information should these documents include?

Personal Statement should focus on why you want to pursue a specific area of research.

Cover Letter should highlight interesting details about your experience that would qualify you for a position.

With either the Personal Statement or Cover Letter, remember: as with any information you submit, the personal statement is "fair game." With that in mind, be prepared to speak or answer questions about your statement.

Also, when crafting your Personal Statement or a Cover Letter – keep these documents concise and honest. Do not lie in your personal statement, and do your best to maintain your own unique voice. If you try to be something you're not, this will likely surface in your interview.


Your reference list should include the names and contact information of 3-4 individuals who can provide insights into your professional experience and/or training. In your reference list, you should include your Program Director as well as Department Chair. Even if you don't list these individuals, your prospective employer or fellowship director will probably call them anyway.