8 Tips to Create a Better Resume When Applying to Med School

August 22, 2016

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, med school applicants and enrollments improved at a record pace in 2014. This means more competition for you as a potential med school applicant.

With this in mind, you’re going to need to dazzle admissions if you’re going to be accepted to the program of your choice. One of the best ways to do so is to create a stellar, flawless resume – here are eight ways to do so.

  1. Include Academic Achievements
    Remember, this is a med school resume, not one for a job. Therefore, you need to highlight your academic achievements. Include details regarding high scores and grades in medical-related classes, any specific academic awards you won related to the field of medicine, and your overall GPA. If you tutored others for certain classes centered on medicine, mention that as well. Med school is study-intensive, and the applications department wants to see that you went above and beyond the call in any relevant area.
  2. Mention All Extracurricular Activities
    Med school admissions departments also want to see balance, along with leadership. Therefore, the extracurricular activities you should include on your resume do not necessarily have to be related to medicine. If you headed an intramural sports team, that shows leadership. If you were in charge of an informal study group, that displays supervision skills. Focus on anything that puts you in a positive light, whether related to the medical field or not.
  3. Participate in Research
    Research is going to be part of your med school time, and if you can get some of it under your belt beforehand, you’ll up your chances of success. You might participate in a research group over the summer when there’s no class – check with your school counselor for opportunities.

When you engage in research, participate with vigor until the project is complete. You’ll have an advantage over the competition, as admissions departments love to see such experience, especially if you can detail the results. Mention the lab by name, the professor you worked under, a summary of the scope of the research, and any key results.

  1. Volunteer
    Volunteer during your free time – that experience looks great on a resume. If you do so abroad, the impact might be even more compelling. No matter your volunteer efforts, do your best to quantify your results. If you participated in a hygiene campaign in Africa and it resulted in a 20% reduction in certain diseases, say so. Admissions officers like to see quantifiable results.
  2. Include Transferable Skills
    Be sure to mention the skills you gained during earlier education. If you gained skills in personal computers, mention that. It’s a big part of succeeding as a medical practitioner. Picked up a foreign language? Say that as well. You might be able to eventually score a job overseas, and a med school admissions department will take note. Even if you excel in public speaking, that’s a transferable skill that’s likely to sit well with anyone viewing your med school application.
  3. Mention Grants and Scholarships
    If you received a grant or scholarship based on your educational abilities as a student, be sure to mention it, as admissions folks want to see that you have excelled in education (whether it was premed or not).
  4. Make Your Work History Complete
    When listing your work history, be sure that it’s complete. Mention the title you held, the name of the organization, where it’s located, the dates when you worked there, the type of experience, and the projects you helped with. Again, admissions officers want details, so don’t neglect them.
  5. Identify Potential Red Flags and Prepare
    If it took you five years to complete your bachelor’s degree instead of four, be prepared to answer why that happened. Maybe you were caring for a child or an elderly person in your family. If your work experience has a six-month gap because of the birth of a child, be prepared to answer that question. There are plenty of red flags that can come up on a resume – and the problem is not that they exist, but how you respond to them.

Final Thoughts
Remember, grammar and presentation count, so don’t forget to proofread your resume, and don’t fail to solicit the opinions of others, especially former teachers. That person could be a valuable resource to review your resume and increase your chances of getting into med school. Always be detail-oriented and thorough, and you are sure to impress.

Do you know of any other resume creation tips for folks applying to med school?

Carly Sherman shares her best tips related to careers, interviewing, and personal development.