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, something medical schools value.
In this guide, we will discuss the dynamics of a pre-med resume: examples, formats, types of pre-med resumes, what to include, and much more information to help you get started on producing the best resume you can for medical school.
A pre-med student resume displays your strongest and most relevant achievements that support your candidacy for admission to your desired medical school. Some schools in the US and Canada do not require a medical school resume in your application; it is seen as your competitive edge when your application goes under review with thousands of other applications.
Like hiring managers, admission committees typically scan resumes when they review them, looking for keywords or phrases that catch their attention, amongst other components. Sometimes automated systems sort through these resumes to help pre-qualify the curriculum vitae for further review.
It is important to learn tips and tricks to make your pre-med resume stand out, from formatting style to relevant keywords and experience.
For the most part, your pre-med student resume should consist of the following main categories, each one describing what should go there to have a more effective impact.
This is the introductory section which is pretty self-explanatory. You should include your contact information in order for the school to know the best ways to reach you.
In this section, you must list all institutions you have attended after graduating high school, including the city, state, or province and years of attendance. Summer school is also preferred.
Be sure to highlight any academic achievements you have accumulated during your enrollment. You can usually list courses relevant to the medical schools’ programs.
Make sure to list the degree or certification that you obtained during your enrolment, any honors or awards you received, your GPA, and if requested, your MCAT scores.
In this section, you list your professional experience along with the organization, city, hours you have worked (if required), your role, and a brief description of your duties. The most acceptable positions to post here are:
For a pre-med resume, you can include professional experiences such as research positions at a clinic or hospital or working on a development project for pharmaceutical companies. You can also list any position as a teaching assistant or tutor. High school experiences usually are not needed, but if you have had significant experience that prolonged throughout college, it is acceptable to note that you launched that program or organization in high school.
If you have taken a gap year, or you are an international student, you should include information about any employment or experience you have done in that subsequent time.
Always make sure the description of each position helps connect to the medical school you are applying for.
As with the other sections, you must list your relevant positions by including information such as the name, city and hours worked. Relevant experience includes:
As a pre-med student, you have to prove that your dedication to servicing communities is legitimate; it gives schools a look into your virtues as both applicant and a caring individual.
When it comes to volunteering, there can be many forms based on one’s interest; ranging from being an at-risk youth program coordinator, helping the elderly at a senior citizen’s home, volunteering at clinics, or global health organizations. It is recommended that you use your best judgment when putting down certain positions, as sometimes it can overlap with your professional experiences.
This short section showcases the less formal points of your personality. It is here to allow you to list technical skills (i.e., programming languages, computer software used in medical fields, etc.). You may also list languages you speak and at what competency and proficiency in Microsoft Office.
You must include skills that fit the medical program, so connect how each skill can be helpful. For example, your multilingual skills might top you over some candidates for the program and allow you to do your residency in a certain population when you apply for it.
Sometimes pre-med resumes do not require interests or hobbies unless they are unique and appropriate.
Some appropriate honors and awards to mention include:
Please narrow this list down to more appropriate relevant information as you go further along in your training. Context and time are important as well; medical schools do not care about you winning 1st place in your 8th grade science fair or how you won your 3rd grade spelling bee by spelling “mononucleosis.”
Research and publications are possibly the most important section on your pre-med resume, as it allows the medical schools to see the most hands-on experience you have had in medicine. List any research work you were involved in.
Make sure to use correct formatting on your publications and put where your name is on the bibliography in bold.
Here are three examples of excellent pre-med student resumes, and we will highlight what was done right, how it is formatted, and some additional tips that may rise upon further observation.
Format: Functional, using most recent education and experience
What is done right: The applicant lists their most relevant education, a clear and concise objective, and professional contact information. He listed valuable volunteer experiences with their information and relevant skills he possesses that are relevant to excelling in medical school. This resume has a lot of good information listed.
Additional notes: The applicant mentions that he has won a triathlon in his extracurricular section. He talks about exercise or sports activities to help paint the idea that you are health-conscious; a plus when applying to medical school.
Format: Chronological, most recent positions listed.
What is done right: Easy to read, experience positions have brief and concise descriptions. The resume displays her GPA, MCAT score and lists relevant courses.
Additional notes: Under her experience, she also lists some achievements she made during her work, which spares an Achievement section. Under voluntary work, however, she does not list her duties for her role as a volunteer. Maybe 2-3 duties are favorable to list. She also has a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is a great network to help find professional connections instead of most social media.
Format: Chronological, also lists her level of competency for skills. All sections are listed by date.
What is done right: She lists her MCAT score and when she took the MCAT. She talks about relevant courses and her research experience and publications.
Additional notes: She only lists her work and volunteer experience. This is usually preferred if you have been out of school for a while, either working or taking a few gap years. However, she lists her MCAT score twice. There is no need to repeat scores.
It does not hurt to share more information that you feel will help your application to medical school on your pre-med resume, even if those things do not fit in any of the standard categories. Extra sections can be added to better explain your expertise, including:
Research groups: seeing as they are a large part of studying medicine, showcasing that you have worked in research groups tell schools you are capable of a medical school workload
Extracurricular activities: Admissions favor students who are more than just book smart. It is ideal to have a well-rounded background of extracurricular activities to help you stand out. That includes sports, community service, and local groups you participate with.
Please always look over your resume before submitting it, so you can see any errors or cautionary signs that may result in a rejection. Some common ones are:
Education takes 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.
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 or list any other education you may have done during those gaps.
Below average test scores/GPA – you may want to retake tests to boost your scores before posting them on your resume. But if that is unobtainable, focus more on other sections of your pre-med resume to help build a stronger application for you. That includes awards, honor societies, Dean’s Lists, etc.
Most pre-med students believe they must make their resume cushy and reserved to give it a more informational dignified look. But the truth is, less is more. A clean, concise, and streamlined pre-med resume is in your best interest. Your resume should be 1-2 pages most, so try to convince yourself by stating the important aspects of your qualifications. For experience, aim for four bullet points maximum, with each bullet containing only 1-2 lines of text
In your pre-med resume, you want to show how much you’ve grown within your different positions and how your contributions went unnoticed. Things like this include any promotions you got at work, trained any 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 have had (ex. Raised employment by 25%).
Formatting - Be consistent with layout, including how you list dates and hours. If you italicize the names of titles and positions, make sure to do it every time. If you align the dates to the left margin, do it every time. When starting bullets with action verbs (recommended), do it every time. Be consistent with font style and size. Leave enough space between the information on the page, so it doesn’t appear as one huge block of text.
Grammar - The two biggest grammatical mistakes people make in their resumes are tense and parallelism. Put all your bullets in past tense if the activity is finished, present tense if it’s ongoing. Make sure you stay consistent within that activity. Parallelism means making sure all items in a list are the same:
Still have questions about building an outstanding pre-med resume? We’ve got you covered.
The first thing they are looking for is your educational background, that is, to see if you can handle medical school work, shown in your academic record, GPA, and MCAT score. The additional things they seek are any relevant professional, clinical, or research experiences, including but not limited to: jobs, volunteer work, internships, and community involvement.
You would think so since cover letters help build your application for jobs. Yet, for medical school, they view your personal statement as well as additional essays as the ‘cover letter’ of your pre-med resume.
Well, the must-have sections have already been listed in this guide. Still, some optional sections that wouldn’t hurt to include would be a professional objective, skills, and interests, teaching activities, publications, or research groups. You are not required to list all these sections, just the ones you have experience in and would make a good addition. Never lie or embellish your credentials on your pre-med resume (or any resume).
At least the following:
Admissions favor your transcript to see how you performed academically in your undergraduate studies. This indicates how you might perform in medical school. If your school is lower than your dream school’s GPA requirements, it could be more difficult for you to get admitted. A tip would be to focus on professional experience and achievements you’ve made instead.
List your professional experience in reverse-chronological order (from the most recent to the oldest), with job title, company name, and dates worked. Below that, add in bullet points both your duties and achievements. Use approximately 3-5 bullets and start each one with a powerful action verb.
Your resume is your chance to put your best foot forward and showcase your experience and accomplishments. Usually, asking about your weaknesses or limitations is reserved for medical school interviews. So, you should worry more about that when preparing for the next step in admission: the interview.
A pre-med resume is designed to display your strongest and connected accomplishments to make you the right candidate for the medical school of your choice. While the pre-med resume is not always a requirement, this guide helps inform you on what to include to give you the best possible chance when under review by admissions officers. Take this advice with a grain of salt so you can start your journey!