Keywords: medical school, medical residency, residency application
You’ve been working hard to get into medical school, so now it’s time to do your homework on the next step: applying for residency. A solid medical residency application resume is critical for showing admission committees that you’re ready to practice medicine and have the skills needed to succeed. We’ve put together some tips and best practices to help make sure your application stands out—and gets noticed!
Statement of Interest
To begin, you will write a statement of interest. This is where you discuss why you want to be a doctor and why this specialty is in particular. It should also include a brief description of how your experience aligns with the job description. If possible, mention any personal ties or connections to the city or hospital where you are applying for residencies. Finally, don’t forget to highlight your strengths as displayed through your academic achievements and extracurricular activities.
Training & Education
This is where you will list your most recent education. For this section, you should include:
- The university or college you attended and when you graduated (with degree)
- Your GPA for all degrees earned to date, including any honors such as summa cum laude or magna cum laude
- MCAT scores if applicable. If not applicable, include any other relevant standardized test scores (GREs, LSATs).
If you have had specialty training in specific fields of interest, go ahead and list these as well. If you can, be sure to list the head of any department running these programs.
Publications & Presentations
Publications and presentations are an excellent way to demonstrate your ability to communicate complex material in a clear, concise manner. It’s also a great way for you to show that you have done more than just read about the field—you can actually contribute something new. If you have published articles or given presentations, include them in this section of your resume.
Honors & Awards
Including any awards or honors you have received is a good idea. It will demonstrate your excellence and ability to succeed. If there are no notable awards on your resume, however, it is perfectly acceptable not to include any if it doesn’t fit with the overall tone of your medical residency application.
Research experience is an excellent way to demonstrate your skills and passion for medicine. It can be in any field, and even if you don’t have a traditional research position like a clinician-scientist or lab technician, it’s possible to include relevant experience in whatever area of study you’re pursuing.
When you were a medical school student, you learned about the patient care process. You also performed it. As part of your application for an internship or residency position, you need to show that you’re comfortable with performing these same duties as a practicing physician.
The best way to do this is through experience—either from an internship at a hospital or other medical practice or from shadowing doctors while in med school and documenting their activities and interactions with patients in detail. List all of your patient care experiences here, along with any special skills or certifications that make them stand out (for example, fluency in Spanish).
Volunteering is a great way to show leadership, compassion, and teamwork skills. If the volunteer work you did was relevant to your future career, then mention it. For example, if you volunteered in an emergency room or worked with children with special needs, then include that on your resume.
Professional Organization Involvement
If you are looking for ways to stand out in the crowd and make your resume stand out, this is a great place to do so. Professional organization involvement can demonstrate leadership, community service, and organizational skills.
If you have a leadership position or committee service within an organization on your resume, be sure to mention it. Leadership roles include president, vice president (or any officer role), treasurer, and secretary. Committee service includes membership on committees such as nominating committee or bylaws committee.
Keep Your Medical Residency Resume Short, but Sweet
Your resume should be one page long. Most residency programs would rather see a concise one-page resume than a two-page resume that looks like you’ve got nothing else to say.
You should also leave out anything about hobbies or interests unless they are directly related to medicine. Residency applications should be fun and rewarding, not a chore or something that takes up all your time. They’re there to help you stand out from the crowd, so don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by how much work it seems at first glance. You’re not alone in applying for these coveted positions—and if anything else goes wrong along the way, remember that we always have your back with expert advice on writing resumes and cover letters.
At SJSM, we are a community of doctors and medical professionals helping one another grow and further their own careers. We hope these tips have helped you outline a winning resume so you can secure a fantastic medical residency position.
Dr. Beau Hightower – Why I Chose to go into Medicine