Career Documents

Two of the most important documents you may ever write in your career are a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and applications to graduate programs and jobs.  The details included in these documents will change as your list of skills and accomplishments grows and should always be customized to the audience you send them to.

CVs are almost the same thing as a resume.  Resumes tend to be shorter, often only one page long.  Your CV might only be 1-2 pages long at this point in your career; however, it will be much longer when you have many presentations, publications, and successful grant applications to list.  See the course page about CVs for tips and examples.

The details and format of graduate school and job applications will vary depending on the institution and specifics of the program or job.  However, you should always expect to submit a writing sample that will be used to evaluate your ability to communicate clearly in writing.  The application may require that you provide a personal statement of interest.  If a specific prompt is included, customize your statement to the prompt.

Examples of prompts:

  • Medical school: Explain your motivation to seek a career in MEDICINE. Be sure to include the value of your experiences that prepare you to be a physician.

If a personal statement is not requested in the application, you will still need to write a letter of application to accompany your application to the program or job.  Format the letter as a formal business letter.

  • Page 1 of your file should include either the prompt you are responding from the graduate program or the posted personnel ad for the job you chose as a prompt. 
    • Don’t leave this out – peer reviewers and graders need it in order to determine how well you have customized your application documents.
    • Insert a page break so that your letter or statement begins on a new page.
    • Page 2 is the first page of your letter of application or intent or your statement of interest.  If you are submitting a letter, it should be formatted as a formal business letter which includes a heading. 
      • Your letter may be up to 2 pages long. 
      • Insert a page break at the end of your letter or statement so that your CV begins on a new page.
    • Page 3 or 4 (which ever one immediately follows your letter of application or intent) is the first page of your personal CV.  While most of you will not use more than 2 pages for your CV, some of you may have a longer list of relevant skills/experiences or work history which will require additional pages.

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