The ERAS CV matters.
The ERAS CV is a very important document for your residency applications. Too often, we see candidates spend hundreds of hours on their personal statement but only 2-3 hours on their ERAS CV. The secret is that many residency programs actually don’t even bother reading your personal statement.
Personal Statement or ERAS CV?
Many programs may have target board scores. But, they will also scan ERAS applications for candidates who just miss their cut-offs. The reason? Programs don’t want to miss anyone really special just because they missed the USMLE Step 1 cut-off by 3 points.
Here are some tips to strength your ERAS right now.
- Before you start working in ERAS, write down every single accomplishment you’ve had no matter how big or small since high school. This is important because so often interesting hobbies, or work experiences are left out simply because you don’t think about them. When you’re filling out ERAS, you’re in ‘medical training’ mode and may forget interesting summer jobs or even meaningful hobbies.
- For each of the experiences for work, volunteering, or research you’d like to include, we highly recommend creating a structured paragraph. Remember, this is a CV not an essay. Your job is to be very informational driven and clear. Beautiful writing or unnecessary exaggeration is not necessary.
- This is another example of successful paragraph structure.
- Sentence 1: Discuss your primary role and responsibilities in the work / volunteer / research experience. “I was the lead research coordinator responsible for organizing all research studies in the department.”
- Sentence 2: Describe your main accomplishments with an emphasis on specifics. “I managed a total of 6 separate studies ensuring regulatory compliance, and adequate patient safety.”
- Sentence 3: Describe any specific outcomes such as publications or special recognition.
- Sentence 4: Talk about how this experience has impacted the future.
4. Be detailed and objective in describing your accomplishments. Really strong resumes and CVs are able to be specific. For example, if someone wrote “helped people in need by constructing temporary housing” is nice. But, “within a 3 month period, helped construct 400 temporary housing buildings for a community of 100 needy families.” The numbers add power and impact.
5. Don’t be shy to provide more details about hobbies or interests. If you’re a stamp collector, put that in there! If you know morse code, put that in there! Try to create personal connections by sharing quirky, fun details about you.
6. Proofread! Grammar or spelling errors in ERAS reflects poorly on your entire application.
7. Boost your descriptions of other awards and achievements. Often times, a faculty member will not be familiar with a particular award or achievement. Help them by providing some more details.
Below is an example of a poor and a strong way to write the Other Awards/Achievements section of your ERAS
Other Awards / Achievements:
1-Top scorer in senior class for annual department exam
2-Appreciation letter from Medicine Chairman for my efforts in delivering patient care in the academic year (2013-2014)
3-Received first place in college physics competition 2010
Other Awards / Achievements:
1. 2014 – Top scorer annual in-service exam, ____ Hospital Internal Medicine
During the senior year of my residency at ____ Hospital, I was recognized as having received the top score in my annual in-service exam among of my 25 peers. To prepare for the exam, I had extensive reviewed and sought feedback from prior top scorers and was proud to receive the highest score.
2. 2013-2014 – Department of Medicine Chairman’s Appreciation Letter for Excellent Patient Care
I was recognized by the Department of Medicine’s Chairman for my excellent patient care. Only one member of my residency class was awarded this. During the year, I worked hard to deliver the highest level of patient-centered care.
3. 2010 – ____ College Physics Competition First Place
In college, I won the First Place prize in a knowledge-based physics competition amongst 10 contestants.