Whether you are in medical school applying for residency or in any other professional field looking for a job, your CV plays a huge role. Like a resume, a CV (curriculum vitae) is essentially a list of your experiences and accomplishments. CVs are longer and go into more detail on your academic background. A resume is more of a snapshot and is typically only one page long.
There is SO much pressure to have an impressive CV. Towards the end of my second year, we had to create (if we hadn’t already created) a CV to submit for an assignment for one of our classes. We were given examples of CVs which caused an immediate sense of inferiority. On top of that, its med school… so the comparisons and competition (and thus panic) between classmates arose (check out more real med school experiences here). Right away you begin to research volunteer opportunities, research opportunities and internships to squeeze in your already impossible schedule.
I definitely understand the importance and what an impressive CV can correlate with. If you have a lot of experience to bring to the table, you are more likely to excel at your job. But when is enough enough? Having a lot of volunteer experience used to be valuable because it exemplified a caring attitude. But does it really mean the same thing when you are volunteering to boost your CV? Volunteering is still volunteering, and I am sure that putting it on your CV is not the ONLY reason that most people decide to do it.
That being said, there are definitely right and wrong ways (in my opinion) to build an impressive CV. In this day and age, building your CV is going to be a big motivator to decide to do something or not. However, you CAN do things that you enjoy. And you will be doing them for more reasons than just to get a job. Check out my latest post on the Merck Manuals Med Student Stories to learn more!