Curriculum Vitae

The CV, biosketch and résumé are different formats for communicating personal information to an audience. Each is appropriate in particular situations and for particular audiences.

Overview

The CV is a comprehensive record of biographical information. “Curriculum vitae” is Latin for “course of life.” It should be exactly the length it needs to be — essentially unlimited. It’s widely used in academia for multiple purposes, including application for academic positions

The curriculum vitae replaces the resume in your professional life. CVs are appropriate for academic or medical careers, and far more comprehensive. Its purpose is to elaborate on your education and a comprehensive listing of your professional history.

As a medical student, your CV should not include any information older than graduate and/or undergraduate education. As you progress to your fellowship, the CV would then include information no older than medical school. Your medical school data will stay on your CV for the rest of your career.

Try to refrain from using templates or paying someone to create it for you. Putting yourself into your CV is vital when trying to communicate who you are to a potential employer. There is no set style, to to a CV — much like a resume, it should reflect who you are while remaining professional.

Anything you mention on your CV (e.g., number of children, marital status, age, etc) gives a prospective employer the legal right to ask you questions about it. Hence the need to keep it professional.

It is essential that you keep your CV up to date. You should be able to generate a current CV on immediate request. Maintain an electronic file (with backups!), kept on your computer desktop. Add new items immediately as they occur (papers published, talks, etc.).

Most importantly, be honest and accurate. Your information can be easily checked, and misrepresentations can have serious consequences. Be aware of “résumé fraud” by others, specifically potential employees — 17-40 percent of résumés may be exaggerated.

Current medical students can find some excellent tips at the AAMC CV website.

Formatting/Structure

The CV contains everything relevant to your professional life, including contact information, education, grant funding, professional experience, teaching, outreach, publications and service & outreach.

Possible sections include:

  1. Personal data
  2. Education
  3. Organizations (indicate leadership positions)
  4. Employment experiences (when pertinent)
  5. Extracurricular experiences (significant)
  6. Honors and awards
  7. Publications and presentations

Your contact information must be accurate and complete. Your name at the top is sufficient, followed by your complete professional contact information (personal details are discouraged). Make sure you use an academic email address. For example,

Susan A. Jones, MD, PHD
Department of Family and Community Medicine
Penn State University College of Medicine
Mailcode H500
500 University Drive
Hershey, PA 17033
Phone: 717-555-1212
Fax: 717-555-2121
sajones@psu.edu

Education

List your education and training in reverse chronological order, including any professional training or certification. Make sure there are no time gaps. For your thesis, be sure to include the title of the name of your adviser.

Example:

Education

Residency in Family Medicine, Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster, PA 2000-2003
MD, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 2000
PhD (Neuroscience), Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
Thesis: “The function of dopamine in regulating cerebral blood flow”
Advisor: Dudley Cook, PhD
2000
BS in Psychology (magna cum laude), Allegheny University, Pittsburgh, PA 1993

Professional experience

Only list appointments that are relevant to your professional activities, in reverse chronological order. Make sure you separate academic and non-academic appointments.

Example:

Appointments

Associate Medical Director, Cocoa Avenue Health Center, Hershey, PA 2009-Present
Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Department of Genetics, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA 2007-Present
Postdoctoral Scholar, Department of Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. Supervisor: Lucinda Earle, PhD 2004-2006


Other Positions and Employment

Staff Physician, Franklin Health Clinic, Lancaster, PA 2003-2004

Research

Be sure to document your research interests with additional information. Including invited presentations and meeting abstracts, as well as journal and grant reviews.

Example:

Presentations & Abstracts

Invited Presentations

Voles: Models of Cerebrovascular Disease. Department of Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA. April 1, 2004.
Flobotin: What’s the buzz? Plenary lecture, FASEB Conference on Dopamine Therapeutics. Bolton, NH. August 14, 2008.

National/International Meetings (Abstracts)

Jones SA, Earle L. & Brown E. The flobotin test in family practice. Oral presentation. Pennsylvania Academy of Family Physicians, Annual Meeting, 2008.
Jones SA, Richards K & Cook D. 5HT-receptor antagonists modify cerebral blood flow in adult meadow voles. Poster presentation. Program No. 123.45 2000 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. New Orleans, LA: Society for Neuroscience, 2000. Online.

Editorial Work

Reviewer, Brain Research 2008-present

Community Service

Be sure to include your community service activities, describing your role, organization and frequency of service.
Example:

Community Service

Mentor, Doctor2Doctor Program, Hershey Medical Center (2 evenings/month) 2008-present
Volunteer Physician, Squirrel Hill Mission (1 weekend/month) 2005-2006

Publications

Separate your publications into different categories: Refereed articles, other publications, and non-refereed articles. Number them in chronological order, put your name in bold and make sure to list all authors (do not use “et al.”).
Example:

Publications

Peer-reviewed publications

  1. Richards K, Jones SA & Cook D. Characterization of dopamine receptors in meadow voles. Brain Res. 800: 355-364 (1998).
  2. Jones SA & Cook D. Dopamine receptor antagonists modify cerebral receptors in meadow voles. J. Neurosci. 20: 9350-9362 (2001)
  3. Jones SA & Brown E. Persistent headaches in a vole-catcher. Headaches Monthly. 104: 144-150 (2003).
  4. Williams, E, Jones SA & Earle L. Design of dopamine antagonists to target cerebral receptors. Neurochem. 94: 1760-1768 (2005).

Books & Chapters

  1. Jones SA & Cook D. The cerebrovascular system of the meadow vole (Moore P & Cook D, eds) pp 69-85, Oxbridge University Press, Oxford.

Non-peer-reviewed publications

  1. Jones SA. Voles and Lyme Disease. My Family Doctor pp 67-71.

What not to include

Do not include your age (birthdate), your marital status or number of children, your social security number, any hobbies or non-scientific interests, anything before college, or most things before graduate or medical school. Remember that your CV is a record of your professional life, not a picture of you as a whole person; also, anything you mention on your CV (e.g., number of children, marital status, age, etc) gives a prospective employer the legal right to ask you questions about it.