Sep 21, 2023

How to Write a Resume for a U.S. Clinical Clerkship


Resumes are an essential and necessary step in applying for all jobs. By creating a quick and easily digested portrait of your skills and experience (both professional and educational), you are able to give yourself a much needed boost when seeking a position in medical rotation. In order to give themselves a leg up for applying for a U.S. clinical clerkship, candidates must know how to write a resume and produce a CV(which is translated from curriculum vitae, meaning “the course of life” in Latin).

A CV is similar to a resume in every way. However, it's more comprehensive and compounds information no older than the undergraduate education of the applicant.

What do They Look for in Resumes and Cover Letters?

When it comes to applying for clinical clerkships, resumes and cover letters play a significant role in catching the attention of program directors and selection committees. These documents should highlight a medical student's academic achievements, clinical experiences, and extracurricular activities, which help demonstrate their potential as future physicians.

One essential component of a medical student's resume is their MCAT score, as it is often used as a benchmark to measure academic excellence. It is also crucial to include any research projects the student has participated in, along with any published work or presentations made at conferences.

Community service is another important aspect that selection committees look for in applicants. Students who have volunteered at clinics or participated in medical mission trips may have an advantage over others. Furthermore, extracurricular activities such as leadership positions in student organizations, athletic achievements, or artistic endeavors can also be included to demonstrate well-roundedness.

Work experience is also valuable, especially if it is related to healthcare. For example, a medical student who has worked as a medical assistant or scribe may have an advantage over someone who has not had any direct patient care experience.

When drafting a medical student CV, it is important to follow a standard format and include sections such as education, work experience, research, community service, and extracurricular activities. A well-organized and easy-to-read CV can make a significant impact on the selection committee.

Selection committees for clinical clerkships look for well-rounded applicants with excellent academic records, relevant work experience, and a strong commitment to community service. By highlighting these attributes in their resumes and cover letters, medical students can increase their chances of being selected for a clinical clerkship program.

What Goes on a CV?

Typically, the process of compiling a CV starts during a candidate’s first year of medical school. It begins with their undergraduate and graduate education and moves on to any relevant experience. This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Research papers and credits.
  2. Work and volunteer experience.
  3. Academic honors.
  4. Any relevant featured publications.

We highly recommend you finish the CV within your first year and continue to update it with pertinent information as time goes on so as to create the best representation of your skills when applying for a U.S. clinical clerkship.

Keep in mind that all time gaps in a student's history, including those with a non-traditional schooling background, should be accounted for on their CV. During an interview for a potential job or clerkship, many supervisors will ask you to account for any gaps in employment or education. Learn how to deal with difficult clerkship interview questions for IMGs.As in typical resume writing, it's important to focus on your strengths and experiences, as a candidate applying for a U.S. clinical clerkship. This will better your chances at achieving the desired results in a competitive environment.

man tossing resumes up in air

What Are the Rules?

When compiling your CV, keep in mind these four universally accepted rules for presentation:

  1. Include Dates. The CV timeline should be in reverse chronological order, with the most recent achievements listed first.
  2. Keep it Professional. We recommend you avoid listing personal things which are not relevant to a professional setting on your CV, such as marital status, the number of children you have, you age, and political or religious leanings. The reason for this is simple: Listing such things on a CV opens up an opportunity for prospective employers to question you about those personal aspects. However, you may include certain personal listings such as hobbies or extracurricular activities.
  3. Consistency is Key. Use white, cream, or light gray colored paper with a conservative font. Make sure that all of your sections and headers match and remain in the same font size and style.
  4. Add Some Creativity. Although it's important to make sure that your CV is professional and clean, with no excess information or irrelevant points present, it's also equally crucial that the CV reflects your personality and style. You want to stand out from the group in a pile of resumes, not become apart of it.

At the end of this article are two different CV example templates you can download and use to help build your CV/resume. These templates are designed to help you quickly create a successful medical resume.

Don't be afraid to take some creative liberty with these templates. As mentioned in Rule 4, you don't have to follow these templates exactly as they are written. Instead, use them as a guideline when creating your CV. The downloadable CVs are created so you can edit them and tailor them to your needs.

What Else Should I Know?

Not all applications are the same. Be sure to read the requirements for each program that you’re applying to, as some are quite specific. Leaving off certain details will automatically exclude your CV from consideration. So long as the requirements and stipulations of a program are read and understood, there should be no issues with a candidate’s application for a U.S. clinical clerkship.We strongly suggest you constantly update your resume, and if necessary, tailor it to specifically fit the agency you are applying to. You may end up with many different CVs that are almost exactly the same but have just a few differences that meet the needs of each agency you are applying to.

Resume/CV Templates You Can Download

If you are applying for a U.S. clinical clerkship and need help building your CV/resume, below are two downloadable Word documents that are examples of a medical CV. The two examples are actual templates used by medical schools for prospective students when applying for their clerkships.All you have to do is click on the links below, and the Word document will automatically download. Then you can use these templates to build your successful CV!

  1. CVSample1
  2. CVSample2

Now that you know how to write a resume, are you ready to begin your U.S. clinical clerkship? Fill out the simple form below to start the application process for a medical rotation. Apply now, and let's start making your dream of being a doctor a reality!

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