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!
In this guide, we’ll discuss the dynamics of a great medical school resume: examples, formats, what to include, and much more to help you create the best medical school resume possible.
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.
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:
Remember to use an email that’s some variation of your name!
To help give you a visual of what this looks like, here is an example that you should follow:
123 South St, New York, NY 11771 | (123) 456-7890
firstname.lastname@example.org | www.linkedin.com/in/jane-doe
A resume objective is a short statement, usually one or two sentences, that summarizes your career goals and explains why you're choosing to attend medical school. It's a way to demonstrate why you're the perfect fit for med school. Putting your objective right below your header grabs the med school admissions team's attention fast and makes them eager to read more about you in your resume.
Some experts debate whether the objective section is necessary for a resume because it’s obvious your goal is to become a medical school student. If you choose to include the objective, here are some examples to help you write a stellar one:
1. Ambitious pre-med student eager to join Harvard Medical School. Graduated magna cum laude from UCLA with a Bachelor's degree in Biology, maintaining a GPA of 3.85. Specialized coursework in genetics. MCAT Score: 520/528.
2. Enthusiastic healthcare volunteer with extensive experience at a local hospital, applying to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from New York University, graduating with honors. GPA: 3.90. MCAT Score: 517/528.
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.
Here is an example to give you a better idea:
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Science, Biology B.S. 09/17-06/21| GPA: 3.85 | Dean’s List
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:
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.
Here are helpful examples you can take a look at:
Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program - Boston, MA
Volunteer Health Educator 01/19 - Present
Boston Children's Hospital - Boston, MA
Pediatric Volunteer 09/19 - 12/19
Ensure that this section is clearly expressed in your resume because admissions will take a good look at this portion of your resumes.
Volunteer experience and community service activities are unpaid work. It’s a good idea to do these in the summer during your pre-med years. Some examples include:
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.
This section allows you to list your technical skills (i.e., programming languages, second language, computer software used in medical fields, etc.) and other interesting things about you.
Here are examples of the most common skills and interests pre-med students include in their resumes:
These are some of the more common skill sets a pre-med student may have, keep in mind there are plenty more.
Some appropriate honors and awards to mention can include:
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:
Ensure you use correct formatting on your publications and put where your name in bold.
Your resume’s format ensures information is clear and easy to digest. Keep these elements in mind to format a compelling resume:
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.
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.
This is a straightforward way to write your pre-med student resume:
Format: Functional, using the most recent education and experience.
What’s done right: In this medical school resume example, 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.
This sample CV for pre-med students is courtesy of UCSF:
Format: Chronological, most recent positions listed in education and all other headings.
What’s done right: This medical school resume is 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 for medical school (especially if you don’t have a long list to share).
This example is more visual than the others so far:
Format: The format is chronological, with more visual elements. All sections are listed by date.
What’s done right: On a positive note, the candidate in this resume for med school 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).
Here are more tips to help improve your pre-med resume.
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.
Review your resume before submitting it to see any errors and correct red flags. Some common ones are:
Remember, you can address any gaps in your application elsewhere through additional information sections.
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 the best approach.
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.
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%”).
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.”
Still have questions about building an outstanding pre-med resume? We’ve got you covered.
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.
You don’t need a cover letter with your resume. Med schools view your personal statement and essays as your “cover letter.”
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.
Consider adding these elements to your education section:
Honors and achievements can be broken into their own section if you wish.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A pre-med resume is typically no longer than one page in length. Make sure to only include relevant information and experience on your resume.
Your resume is a key piece of your medical school application. 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!