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Shameless Self-Promotion – A Guide to CV’s and Personal Statements

In case you missed it a few weeks ago, I hosted a CV and Personal Statement workshop for all medical students. Not sure if I am as good of a speaker as this guy, but we had a good crowd and had some good discussions. Below is the link to the recording of the workshop as well as a summary of the highlights:

CV Tips

1) Be consistent

  • Font type, font size, spacing, timeline, wording.

2) Be descriptive

  • The benefit of a CV is being able to describe your entries. Take advantage of this.

3) Be you

  • If you have unique experiences, make sure to highlight that in your CV in someway. Consider a special section for mentoring or lectures you have given or international experiences you have had.

4) Be timely

  • You CV should be a living document. Have a way that you continually update it.

Personal Statement Tips

1) Be solid

  • For most students, this is not the time to write the best story every written or be super creative. You don’t have to write a poem and then make it into the shape of a stethoscope or anything like that.

2) Be grammatically correct

  • One of the basic purposes of the statement is to show programs you can put together a coherent thought it English.

2) Be focused

  • Think of your Personal Statement as the opening statement to residency programs. You will have the opportunity to say more about yourself on interview day.

3) Be brief

  • Unless you have an extremely unique story or you have some bumps on your record to discuss, your statement should not be more than 1 page.


Remember to get feedback on your CV and Personal Statement from you advisor, mentors and other trusted friends. I am also happy to take a look at them and give you some feedback. Just email me: and I will check it out. I try to have a turnaround time of 2 weeks, although I have a bit of a backlog to get through. Good luck!


The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Michael McKenna

Dr. McKenna is a graduate of IU School of Medicine, where he also completed a pediatric residency. He served as chief resident and was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Associate Program Director for the pediatric residency p...