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Curriculum Vitae: Your Course of Life

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As some of you know, I’m one of the older guys here. I have a long history of applying for school positions and jobs. When I attended the ASDA NLC in Chicago, I thought it was important to brush up on my CV writing skills, especially since the CV format may be different than in my native country of Germany. Colleen Greene’s CV writing lecture taught me a few new things. Although there is no exact way to write one, Dr. Greene gave some useful tips and tricks to mastering the CV.

Think about the situation: You apply for a residency, and you know your application will be one of hundreds of others – that your paperwork is in a huge pile of other applications. How will you be the ONE that stands out? Do you think your great GPA alone will get you there? It might, but what happens when your CV looks like a lame pizza flyer… one that you transfer directly out of your mailbox into the trash can without reading?

A good CV should have a structure with clear categories. Why not give the category names a different color? This will give your CV a nice touch, and it will look more interesting than other applications.

The CV begins with your name and address in the header. Include your email address, but be careful. Don’t use your “supertoothdoc” or “cutemolarmouse” Gmail address that you created as a student. You need a “professional” email! If you don’t already have one, create one.

Next, list your EDUCATION clearly. Include the name and location of each school, the dates attended, what you studied, and your grade point average. Leave some space between the information to make things more readable.

The second block should be about your RESEARCH/EXPERIENCE. Tailor this section to the program for which you are applying (residency, associateship, GPR, etc.). List your projects, presentations, and teaching experiences here. Did you receive any awards in your school life? This is the perfect place to write them down.

Do you have any LEADERSHIP or COMMUNITY SERVICE? This information should come next on your CV. Use concrete details about your leadership, specifically your responsibilities…this will make your achievements stand out. If you helped coordinate a service event, include the details.

If you have any existing PUBLICATIONS & PRESENTATIONS, put them in a separate section by journal, title, and year. If you’re submitting your CV electronically consider including links in your publication list, and only write down the important ones. A lengthy list looks like a scrapbook and will expand your CV unnecessarily.

Next, place PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS, such as memberships of ASDA, ADA, etc.  To what extent were you involved with these organizations?

OPTIONAL SECTIONS can be placed now. These may include things like military service, conferences/meetings you have attended, and personal interests. Here is your chance to discuss your hobbies like home brewing, outdoor activities, or painting. Remember that you want your CV to be clean and concise. Introduce these activities in the CV, but expand on them in your interview.   Don’t forget other SKILLS like speaking, reading, or writing fluently in another language. Be honest, and never overstate your abilities. You never know when your interviewer speaks the same language fluently and may test your skills!

Finally, you may give a PERSONAL STATEMENT. I would personally skip this part in a CV and put it on a separate page, but some people like to include it in the CV. This should be a short statement that clearly states your career or school goals. Use action verbs and power words. Make this an interesting reflection of yourself. You want the reader to recognize that you stand out among the other candidates.

If you use some of these little hints in your next CV, you may be the ONE in the huge pile of applications! Most importantly, treat your CV with great care. You have accomplished many things in your life, so shine! Also, please proofread carefully for misspelled words and incorrect grammar.

You can find more information on www.ASDAnet.org/cv, or simply send me an email. I am more than happy to help you with additional resources on how to write an effective CV.

~Michael Nery Schulte, ISP 2015, Colorado ASDA ISP Representative

Michael Schulte

Michael comes to the University of Colorado as an orthodontist and beer/pretzel aficionado from Germany. He loves to ski and loves microbrews, so Colorado seemed like the perfect option! He attends the International Student Program (because teeth are different in Germany). He tries to make life better for the other ISPs by serving as the one and only ISP-ASDA representative in the U.S.A. In his free time... WAIT a dental student has no free time. Prost, Folks!

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