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The Medical School Resume – Part I: Overview

Crafting your resume for medical school is no different than personalizing it for any other role. You simply follow the same principles as normal, and make a handful of medicine-specific tweaks. This is the first part in a series with a deep-dive approach to how to put real polish on your resume. The series should be useful advice for writing a resume in general, aimed at transitioning veterans who have little experience writing a civilian CV. We advise you read it all if you are at all uncertain about your resume at present. This advice should be useful to you whether you’re applying to a post bacc, special masters program, research position, or medical school. If you feel you already have a strong document in hand, feel free to skip to the last part of the series, Medical School Specifics (once it’s published). Otherwise, read on!

General Advice

The average corporate hiring manager spends less than thirty seconds reading each resume in a stack. Stop and consider that – less than thirty seconds to summarize everything you’ve ever accomplished, from high school to terminal military assignment, before deciding whether to investigate you further or drop you in the “discard” pile. That means you need your resume to be near-perfect. If you’re extremely fortunate, someone on an academic committee evaluating the hundreds to thousands of applications their school receives each year might spend a whole minute reading what you wrote. So it’s understandable if you’re a little nervous about crafting your resume. In fact, writing and editing this document is one of the most dread-inducing, anxiety-inspiring steps in the medical school process. It’s easy to understand why, given how much is riding on each one you send out.

With that enormous caveat, keep this in mind – as a military veteran you’ve accomplished far more in just a handful of years than the vast majority of your peers applying to medical school. Now, don’t get cocky on me – after all, these future doctors are without a doubt some of the most talented young people of their generation, and some of them will have been working on research projects for NASA and the NIH since high school. However, none of them have had the sort of responsibility handed to every O-1 in the service, whether you were a Navy SEAL, Air Force fighter pilot, or Army logistician. If you’re reading this, you have the potential to bring a much-needed dose of the real world to medical school. Your perspective will be invaluable in countless classes and group settings, whether you’re learning how to empathize with a primary care patient, speak through an interpreter to a panicked mother of a vastly different culture, or remain calm during a mass casualty event. So let’s translate all the experiences you’ve gone through over the past few years and get this little document right!

Continued in Part II: Point of View

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