Introduction: The curriculum vitae (CV) is an essential tool that presents a person to a potential employer by documenting education, work, research, service, and other experiences and achievements. Students come to medical school with a variety of backgrounds. Many have never written a CV prior to applying to residency programs. There are limited resources on writing effective CVs and few focused on the unique perspective of medical students and their employment/training process. Writing their CVs can help students bring their experiences together and prepare their information for the residency application and interviewing processes. Developed together by the School of Medicine and the University Career Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), our students write their CVs as the final assignment for a required M2 Careers in Medicine course. Methods: This module offers an online unit that teaches medical students how to write an effective CV for a residency program and offers the facilitator tools to enlist and standardize graders if s/he desires to enlist help in the CV reviewing process. At VCU the Career Center teaches the interactive workshop based on students viewing a video first, and then the school of medicine (SOM) facilitates the review and feedback process for the student CVs in partnership with the Career Center. Results: This module is one of the sessions for a required career development course at VCU SOM. Taught since 2004, it is traditionally one of the highest rated course sessions. We have seen the quality of student CVs increase. Students tell us that while it is difficult to write a CV as an M2, they are grateful that having it completed that early makes securing recommendations easier as M3 students and facilitates their residency application process. Discussion: The curriculum vitae is an essential tool that presents a person to a potential employer. This module offers an easy to use, well-received online unit that teaches medical students how to write an effective CV for a residency program.
By the end of this session, learners will be able to:
- Understand best practices in writing a curriculum vitae (CV) as well as pitfalls to avoid.
- Acknowledge the various purposes of a CV.
- Comprehend the importance of both content and organization to an effective CV.
- Be strategic when deciding what content to include in a CV, and to think about their CV from the employer's perspective.
- Develop a rough draft of their CV, including ideas for content, how to organize the content in different sections, and which headings to use.
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