Pharmacy Residency: CV Formatting and Style

Pharmacy Residency Preparation Specialists

It’s vital that your residency CV is professional in terms of its format and style. Here, we will work through some core tips to ensure that your CV’s format is appropriate – remember that we cover content and the broader overview of what to write separately.

Overall format and the CV length

The first question that you need to consider is simply how long your CV should be. There’s no set answer here, and it’s unlikely that your CV will end up being too long. In general, you are better including more information on your roles and responsibilities in your APPEs, more information on your professional activities, and a sufficient amount of information on your education and educational achievements, whilst other areas can be a little shorter. It’s vital though that you do not spend too much time embellishing areas that do not require embellishment, or on trying to ‘show’ rather than ‘tell’; equally areas that are relatively older or less impressive should have rather fewer words dedicated to them. A CV will come across as much more impressive if it is shorter but packed full of relevant achievements, reflections are brief yet powerful, and educational accomplishments are immediately of interest. In contrast, if there is far too much time wasted over less-impressive areas – perhaps school-year prizes, for example, then it will run the risk of boring those who have been tasked with reading it, or seeming less professional when compared to others. In general, a CV of 3-5 pages is appropriate – any longer is likely not to be read properly, whilst any shorter might indicate that your experiences are lacking.

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Your name and personal information

You must include your full name, and your contact information at the top of the first page. You should include your phone number, your email address, and a home address. You should also include your date of birth. It’s also relatively common to now include a professional-looking headshot, in black-and-white; this is advisable if you have access to one, as it provides a little character and allows the person reading it to imagine you as they are working through.

Choice of fonts

You can choose your preferred font – within limits. In general, you should abide by the rule that it is the content of your CV, rather than how it looks, that is most important – and that therefore a ‘boring’ font is the most sensible option. Whilst either serif or san serif is acceptable, the choice must be a relatively more old-school font that will not raise eyebrows from anyone assessing your CV. Therefore, Times New Roman is perhaps the most sensible choice, although you might also consider Arial or Calibri, for example. Remember that you should have a logical way of using bolds and italics for headings or subheadings, as well as a sensible choice of larger font for headings or subheadings, if you are using a larger font for these parts. For example, you might use a size 13 font for subheadings and a size 11 font for the remainder of the CV.

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You must ensure that all formatting throughout your CV is consistent. In particular, this means paying attention not just to how you use italics and bold throughout, but also how you use indenting. Consider whether you indent paragraphs or headings, or the first line of a paragraph, for example. You should also consider whether you use underlining for headings, and keep this consistent – failure to achieve consistency will be immediately visible to the trained eye of someone who has reviewed countless CVs, and will raise question marks over both your ability to be diligent, and how much work you put into the document.

Printing your CV

If you are required to print your CV, it’s wise to use professional quality paper – off white paper with a watermark is a great idea – avoid any paper that has anything that might distract from the content (e.g. brightly coloured, lines, gradients or patterns). Ensure that you use a good printer that doesn’t leave any errors or areas which are poorly-printed. You would be advised to put your CV in a clear plastic folder simply to keep it safe and prevent any damage occurring.

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