When you are applying for a regular job, the potential employer reads your resume to determine if you have the experience and skills necessary to perform the job well. The medical school application process is the same idea, the schools are looking to “hire” the candidate with the best potential in the medical field.
Let’s say you are the owner of a shiny new Starbucks. You are looking to hire your first barista and as soon as you advertise the position, you receive two resumes.
The first resume is of a young student who has never made a latee in their life, but they know they are passionate about coffee and really really want to work for you.
The second resume is of a young student who has been working at various coffee shops for a few years, they know how to handle coffee, they know they love it, and they know they can do a great job for you.
Who would you hire?
This might seem like an obvious answer, but a lot of students forget that Medical Schools think the same way as an employer. A lot of students show up with a CV that shows no experience in the medical field and no indication that they understand what it means to be a physician, but they are passionate about medicine and really really want to get in! And when they don’t get an interview, they complain because they don’t understand that students think like employers and to get into Medical School, you need to showcase your suitability for the job!
Being a doctor is a bit more complex than being a barista (you are basically applying for a 60hr/week job with no pay, how fun!). So on that note, it becomes a bit more difficult to determine what makes up the “right” experience that you should have to be considered an excellent candidate for medical school. Because there are so many different skills that make up a great physician (which we cover more in depth in The Weekly MMI Series), this means you have many more ways to showcase your experience in your CV. Having said that, there is a way to express the experiences that you have had on paper to show that you understand what it means to be a physician and that you are ready to take on the challenge. The CVs which show insight into a medical career, that are not generic, that are detailed, as well as that show experience in the medical field are the CVs that are moved from the “rejected” pile to the “interview/accepted” pile.
Over the next few modules, we will learn what makes up a great Medical School Resume. When you are going through the exercises and working on your CV, I want you to ask yourself: “If I were in charge of hiring candidates for a position in medical school, would I hire myself?”
On average, less than half of med school applicants are accepted, and most students will have a prestigious internship. Even if you only had one internship, be sure to get the most out of it on your resume. Instead of “worked close with doctors, nurses and patients,” say something along the lines of “administered medical injections for more effective patient support. Analyzed blood samples for more sophisticated data entry.” Remember that almost all interns are required to do some kind of administrative work, but that doesn’t sound impressive on a resume and colleges really won’t care who the fastest filer in the class will be – so leave it out.
Key Points to Keep in Mind:
- Stay away from generic – Make sure your resume stands out! If your resume is the same as the last 50 resumes that the admissions officer has read – not good! Be specific and explain your extra curricular in an interesting and unique way!
- Share the details – The question in the admission officers mind at the end of reading a description should not be “what did you do?”. If that is the question they have in mind, then you didn’t do your job. Your descriptions should be so impressive that the examiner asks “wow, how did you manage to do that?”.
- Showcase the scores – If you have strong scores, put them in your resume!
- Don’t lie – Embellishing your skills is ok, but lying will get you into trouble. Stay away.