How to Build an Outstanding Pre-Med Resume

December 14, 2022


Reviewed by:

Jonathan Preminger

Former Admissions Committee Member, Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine

Reviewed: 12/13/22

Need to build a pre-med resume to apply to your dream school? Read on to learn more about building the ultimate med school resume!

Usually, a medical school would specify if you need to submit a pre-med resume with your application. A resume can help organize your timeline and showcase your academic progress and experiences.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the dynamics of a great resume: examples, formats, what to include, and much more to help you create the best medical school resume possible.

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Why Your Pre-Med Resume Matters

A pre-med student resume displays your most relevant achievements to show why you’re an excellent med school candidate. Think of your resume as a summary of your accomplishments in one convenient place for admissions committees to evaluate. Some schools don’t require a medical school resume in your application, whereas others do. 

Like hiring managers, admission committees typically scan resumes to look for keywords or phrases that catch their attention, amongst other components. Sometimes automated systems sort through these resumes to help pre-qualify the CV for further review.

Pre-Med Resume Sections

Your pre-med student resume should consist of the following main categories:


This introductory section is pretty self-explanatory. You should include your contact information, so the school knows the best ways to reach you, such as your: 

  • Full name at the top
  • The best number to contact you
  • Your professional/academic email address 
  • Your mailing address (this is optional – usually, it’s not needed as your information is available under other files) 

Remember to use an email that’s some variation of your name! 


You must list all institutions you’ve attended after graduating high school, including the city, state, and years of attendance. Be sure to highlight any academic achievements you’ve accumulated during your enrollment. 

Ensure you list the degree or certification you obtained during your enrollment, any honors or awards you received, your GPA, and MCAT scores.

Professional Experience 

You can list your professional experience along with the organization, city, hours you’ve worked, your role, and a brief description of your duties. Positions you can list here include: 

  • Internships
  • Research opportunities (seasonal, on-residence, etc.)
  • Clinical observations
  • Any professional programs

You can also list any position where you acted as a teaching assistant or tutor. High school experiences usually aren’t relevant here, but if you’ve had a significant experience/engagement that persisted throughout college, it’s acceptable to note that you began your journey in high school.

If you’ve taken a gap year or are an international student, you should include information about any employment or experience you’ve done during that time. Ensure the description of each position helps connect your values, goals, and experiences to the medical school you’re applying to.

Volunteer Experience/Community Service 

Volunteer experience and community service activities are unpaid work. Some examples include: 

  • Volunteering at a hospital
  • Reading to children weekly at the local library
  • Volunteering at a shelter
  • Handing out food at food banks

As a pre-med student, you must show your dedication to servicing communities; it gives schools a look into your virtues as both an applicant and a caring individual. 

When it comes to volunteering, the possibilities are endless; depending on your interests, volunteer activities can range from being an at-risk youth program coordinator to working with global health organizations. 

Skills and Interests

This section allows you to list your technical skills (i.e., programming languages, computer software used in medical fields, etc.) and other interesting things about you, like if you speak more than one language.

Honors and Awards 

Some appropriate honors and awards to mention can include:

  • Dean’s list
  • Scholarships
  • Recognitions
  • Competitions

Context and time are important here; awards/honors from high school are much less impactful than including your achievements from college. 


This is your opportunity to list any research work you were involved in, including: 

  • Published papers
  • Clinical studies
  • Research programs
  • Abstracts
  • Conferences
  • Presentations

Ensure you use correct formatting on your publications and put where your name in bold.

Pre-Med Resume Format

Your resume’s format ensures information is clear and easy to digest. Keep these elements in mind to format a compelling resume: 

  • Your resume shouldn’t be longer than one or two pages. 
  • Use a legible, standard font (using something outlandish or too small can distract your reader). 
  • Leave white space in the margins: it may be tempting to cram your resume with as many words as possible, but you don’t want it to be overwhelming for the reader.
  • After you’ve listed your personal information, always begin with educational experience followed by work, activities, etc. The sections that are most impactful should appear higher in your resume. 
  • Follow a reverse chronological order in each section – you always want your most recent or current activities to be the first item.
  • Don’t use graphic resumes or distracting visual elements – a clean look is always best! 
  • Don’t use bright colors in your resume. If you want to draw attention to something, consider bolding or using a deep color that isn’t too distracting. 
  • Ensure your grammar and punctuation remains consistent. 

Remember to save your resume as a PDF to preserve its format. You can also find pre-med resume templates online to use as inspiration. 

Pre-Med Resume Examples

Here are three examples of excellent pre-med student resumes. We’ll evaluate each to see what was done right, how they’re formatted, and more helpful tips for you to use. 

Example 1

This is a straightforward way to write your pre-med student resume: 

Medical Student Resume Example
Source: Resume Resource

Format: Functional, using the most recent education and experience.

What’s done right: The applicant lists their most relevant education, a clear and concise objective, and professional contact information. He listed valuable volunteer experiences with the information and relevant skills he possesses.

Additional notes: The applicant mentions he’s won a triathlon in his extracurricular section. This shows determination and is a great way to showcase a non-medical-related extracurricular, helping round out his profile. 

Example 2

This sample CV for pre-med students is courtesy of UCSF: 

Medical Student Resume Example 2
Source: UCSF

Format: Chronological, most recent positions listed in education and all other headings. 

What’s done right: It’s easy to read, with many leadership positions to show; this resume shows the breadth of the student’s activities and passions. 

Additional notes: This sample also includes honors and achievements toward the bottom of the page. You can opt to include academic achievements and awards in the education section of your resume (especially if you don’t have a long list to share). 

Example 3

This example is more visual than the others so far: 

Medical Student Resume Example 3
Source: Resume Lab 

Format: The format is chronological, with more visual elements. All sections are listed by date.

What’s done right: She lists her MCAT score and when she took the MCAT. She mentions relevant courses and her research experience and publications.

Additional notes: She only lists her work and volunteer experience. This is usually preferred if you’ve been out of school for a while. Although there are many pre-med resume templates floating around the internet, the best resumes are to the point with minimal visual elements (as such, the competency levels on the side can be removed).

Tips for Improving Your Pre-Med Student Resume

Here are more tips to help improve your pre-med resume. 

Add Extra Sections to Help You Stand Out

It doesn’t hurt to share more information you feel will help your med school application, even if those things don’t fit in any standard categories. Extra sections can be added to better explain your expertise, including teaching experience, skills and interests, and others. 

Identify and Correct Caution Signals

Review your resume before submitting it to see any errors and correct red flags. Some common ones are:

  • Your education took longer than expected: If you completed a three or four-year program in five years, you should explain why it took you longer than usual somewhere in your application. 
  • A gap in work or education: Any gaps in your professional experience or education history should have an explanation. You should include what you did during that time.
  • Below average test scores/GPA: You may want to retake tests to boost your scores before posting them on your resume. But if that’s unobtainable, focus on other sections to help build a stronger application. That includes awards, honor societies, Dean’s Lists, etc.

Remember, you can address any gaps in your application elsewhere through additional information sections. 

Cut the Fluff

Most pre-med students believe they must make their resume cushy and reserved to give it a more informational and dignified look. But the truth is, less is more. A clean, concise, and streamlined resume is in your best interest. 

Your resume should be one or two pages long, so try to state the important aspects of your qualifications. For experiences, aim for four bullet points maximum, with each bullet containing only one or two lines of text.

Show Your Trackable Progress

You want to show how much you’ve grown within your positions. You can include promotions, training recent hires, creating campaigns or orientations that helped the organization, updating any protocols, etc. 

If you can, use quantitative and statistical evidence to show the impact your contributions had (ex. “Increased productivity by 25%”).

Be Clear

Ensure your layout is consistent in terms of font, titles, position, punctuation, bullet points, and any other elements. Also, check your grammar; ensure you use the correct tense (if the activity is finished or ongoing) and make sure all items in a list are parallel. 

For example, “He loves baking, running, and to write,” is better written as “He loves baking, running, and writing.”

Pre-Med Resume FAQs 

Still have questions about building an outstanding pre-med resume? We’ve got you covered. 

1. What Do Medical School Admissions Committees Look for in a Resume?

The first thing they look for is your educational background. The additional things they seek are relevant professional, clinical, or research experiences, including but not limited to: jobs, volunteer work, internships, and community involvement.

2. Should I Include a Cover Letter With My Resume?

You don’t need a cover letter with your resume. Med schools view your personal statement and essays as your “cover letter.” 

3. What Should I Include in My Resume?

You should include the must-have sections listed in this guide. You can also add optional sections, such as professional objective, skills and interests, teaching activities, publications, or research groups. You aren’t required to list all these sections, but you can add them if they’re relevant. 

4. What Information Should I Add to the Education Section?

Consider adding these elements to your education section: 

  • Your degree/certificate 
  • Major/minor
  • School name and location
  • Graduation year
  • GPA
  • Awards
  • Honors
  • Achievements

Honors and achievements can be broken into their own section if you wish. 

5.  What Information Should I Add to the Professional Experience Section?

List your professional experience in reverse-chronological order (starting with the most recent), with your job title, company name, and dates worked. Below that, add bullet points to describe your duties and achievements. 

6. Should I Address Any Weaknesses in My Resume?

Your resume helps you put your best foot forward and showcase your experience and accomplishments. Usually, discussing your weaknesses or limitations is reserved for medical school interviews or essays.

7. Should You Put a Fraternity/Sorority on a Resume? 

You can, especially if you’ve taken over some type of leadership role within your fraternity/sorority. If you haven’t, consider mentioning it briefly in your education section and saving your precious real estate for other meaningful experiences. 

8. What Looks Good on a Resume for Medical School? 

All of your relevant, meaningful experiences (especially medical-related)  look good on your resume. Remember, only use your authentic experiences, and don’t fudge anything! 

9. Do I Need a CV or Resume for Medical School? 

Some medical schools require resumes, whereas others don’t. Check program requirements to determine if you need one or not for the schools you apply to.

Final Thoughts

A medical school resume displays your strongest accomplishments to show you’re an excellent candidate for medical school. While a pre-med resume isn’t always a requirement, knowing how to craft a compelling resume can help boost your candidacy. Good luck! 

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