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Curriculum Vitae and Personal Statement

You will upload your curriculum vitae and personal statement through your MyUpstate account. You will receive an email prompting you do this. The Residency Advisor will review your C.V. and personal statement and make suggestions.

It is also wise to show your personal statement and C.V. to your letter of recommendation (LOR) writers. They may choose to include some of this information in their letter. Links to sample C.V.s and personal statements are included on this page.

Curriculum Vitae

The C.V. is one of the most important parts of your application to residency. It is a snapshot of your accomplishments and gives the applicant selection committees a better idea of who you are. Basically, "What have you been doing with yourself for the past few years?" You should invest enough time to make sure you are “selling yourself” to the best of your ability. Putting a C.V. together helps you organize your thoughts about your college and medical school years, which will help during an interview. Make an effort to tailor the information to your specialty.

Some general rules to follow when writing curriculum vitae:

  1. Emphasize your strengths. Put them toward the beginning of the C.V.
  2. Be clear, concise, and accurate. Keep your C.V. to two pages or less.
  3. Make it pleasant to the eye and appealing. Organization is the key. You want it to attract the attention of your audience. The formatting will not survive in ERAS, but will make an impressive handout at interviews.
  4. Use action words wherever possible
  5. General categories to include:
    Heading: Name, Address, Telephone number, Email address. (Include all addresses and phone numbers where you can be reached during the application and interview process.)
    Education: Medical School, Graduate School, and Undergraduate
    Honors / Awards
    Research / Publications/Presentations
    Work experience
    Extracurricular Activities
    Professional Memberships
    Personal /Interests
    Optional information to include: language skills, licenses & certifications, and military information
  6. Do not put "Curriculum Vitae" at the top of the document. Whoever is reading it will know what it is.
  7. Triple check your spelling and grammar. Read it backwards!
  8. Be consistent throughout your C.V.
  9. Get objective feedback from your advisor, dean, friends, and family. You will revise your C.V. many times. But it will be worth it in the long run.

Sample CVs

Personal Statement

Many applicants spend a great deal of time working on and worrying about their personal statement. However, this is probably not necessary. Application selection committees do not expect personal statements to be literary masterpieces. They only expect you to emphasize your good qualities, be honest about your accomplishments, and be yourself. Most personal statements are relatively similar in style and this traditional style is probably the easiest to use, unless you are an unusually gifted writer. It is acceptable to be general and your remarks can be tailored somewhat to the interest of the individual programs to which you are applying. To make the personal statement more relevant to the PGY-1 programs, you can simple add a sentence or two near the end of the statement about what you hope to gain from your PGY-1 experience.

You can create and upload to ERAS as many personal statements as you wish. This will allow you to tailor your personal statement to each program. However, this is by no means necessary. You may use the same personal statement for all programs. If you are applying for a PGY-2 specialty, you do not need to write a second and different personal statement slanted to your Preliminary program. They understand that you are simply "passing through" your internship on your way to the Specialty.

Topics to include in your personal statement:

  1. Reasons for specialty selection. You may wish to discuss a salient event that helped you choose your specialty, if there was such an event.
  2. What about the specialty interests you?
  3. Skills and abilities you have which are valued by your specialty.
  4. Relevant experience (a balance of medical and personal examples), coursework, research activity.
  5. Personal and practice goals and objectives (long term, commitments). Many people like to talk about their long range goals in the specialty.
  6. Qualities you are seeking or desire in a residency program (some examples: outpatient care, elective time, teaching and research opportunities).
  7. Your Uniqueness. Personal interests, achievements, life experiences which make you unique. However, there is no need to reiterate everything that is in your curriculum vitae.

How to write your personal statement:

  1. Write clearly. Use simple rather than long and involved sentences. Vary your sentence length.
  2. Length: One or one and a half (double spaced) typewritten pages, short, well-developed paragraphs (3 to 6 paragraphs).
  3. Skills and abilities you have which are valued by your specialty.
  4. Avoid overuse of "I" statements. You should seldom, if ever, start your sentences with "I".
  5. Avoid mentioning lifestyle or monetary rewards as your major reason for choosing a specialty.
  6. Save your acting ability for the interview. Write to be understood not to impress.
  7. End with a positive, "upbeat" statement.
  8. Have someone critique your personal statement for grammar, spelling, and composition. The deans will help you with this. (Yes, you will write it more than once!)
  9. Revise and rewrite. Sharpen your skills; improvement is always possible.
  10. Avoid starting a paragraph about how you struggled through three years trying to figure out your chosen specialty. Everyone has this experience.

Sample Personal Statement