Creating a College Resume
We checked in with Pam Cohen at the Center for Career Development – she encourages you to make an appointment or bring your resume to drop-in hours, but here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Consider your “target audience” – the people reading your resume – and what you want them to know about you for a particular role/industry.
- Don’t devalue resume content just because it’s from high school. A strong resume showcases relevant roles from a variety of experiences.
- Emphasize demonstrable skills. This may mean listing fewer activities, but writing more about the ones you keep to show a prospective employer what you have accomplished.
- Review the resume guide online for more formatting and content tips!
Fall Break Suggestions
Good question! There are always things that you could do with a few free hours:
- Borrow a book from the HPA library to read, and get some insight about being a doctor, applying to medical school, or learning about other health careers. We lend books for two-week periods. A list of titles we have is available on our website.
- Contact some alumni physicians near your home by searching by location in the Tigernet Directory and LinkedIn using Career Services’ Networking Tips for best results. See if they are available to shadow, or just take them out to coffee and learn about their experiences as physicians.
- Surf through some websites for medical schools in your home state (links to each of them are available here).
- Start looking into internships and other summer experiences. We have a list of clinical opportunities and research opportunities in which past Princeton students have participated. Other good places to look include the AAMC list of Summer Undergrad Research Programs at med schools; Career Development, and in Vitals.
- The most important thing is to take some time to just relax! The second half of the fall can feel even faster and more stressful than the first, so come back refreshed and ready to work.
This is a great time to take stock of where are you and what to do next, and that’s going to be different for every student.
- First-years – consider how midterms went, get caught up in classes if you need to, think about your study skills and time management, read through some of the McGraw Study Strategy Tip Sheets for ideas on how to improve, reach out to some physicians you know and do some shadowing.
- Sophomores – start looking at summer opportunities including IIP international internships, clinical opportunities and research internships, apply for Princeternships if you want an in-depth short-term shadowing experience, come by HPA and borrow a library book or two to read up on medicine over the break.
- Pre-Applicants – familiarize yourself with the health professions school application process on our website, start to consider letters of recommendation, touch base with friends who are currently applying and talk to them about the process, or friends who have recently started medical school and see if they’ll take you on a tour of their school or let you sit in on a class with them. If you need to keep raising your GPA before applying, look into post-bac record enhancer options and start working on your application materials.
- Current Applicants – fill out interview reports, stay active in your work and volunteer endeavors, keep sending us updates.
Journaling and Self-Reflection
When you apply to medical school, the expectation will be that you’ve done some “soul searching” to understand why you’re pursuing a career full of sacrifice and challenge, and you’ll have to articulate how you came to the decision to become a doctor to others. Practicing this means of communication before you reach the application stage can be helpful, and journaling is a way to capture your thought process as your understanding of and motivation for medicine evolves with your experience. Journaling isn’t a natural skill for many people, so don’t worry if you have trouble getting started!
Here are a few ideas as you get started:
1. Read others’ reflections for inspiration – jot down ideas based on their writing. Aspiring Docs Diaries is a good place to start – these blog entries are written by current premeds, med students, and residents: AspiringDocsDiaries.org
2. Identify experiences or influences—special events, service projects, shadowing experiences, conversations, books—that inform, inspire, or challenge you. Record significant details about these moments, and then describe your impressions, feelings, and thoughts.
3. Use a format that helps you – some people prefer to type, some to handwrite, some to dictate into their phone as an audio journal. Some people blog online because they’re inspired by having an online audience, some want to keep their thoughts private, some do a mix of both. Doodling and illustration are also encouraged!
Before you apply, you should have a sense of your values, your motivations, what brings you satisfaction in life, what led you to make the choices you made, what you learned from those choices, and how it all comes together to create a cohesive narrative that speaks to your interest in your future profession. Many pre-health students are very focused on doing as much as possible, but it’s just as important to take time to make meaning of what you’re doing. Being able to share your personal narrative in writing (in your personal statement, activities section entries, and secondary essays) and in-person (in your interview) will ultimately help you gain acceptance to your professional school. By reflecting along the way, you’ll also be able to tell where you may need to gain more experience in order to better shape your narrative. Journaling, taking discussion-based courses that require reflection, working through medical school interview questions with friends or mentors, attending the Center for Career Development Design Your Future workshop, reading others’ stories and thinking about how they relate to your life, and meeting with an adviser at the end of the semester to take stock of the term are a few ways to build reflection into your life. Here’s a Harvard Business Review article with more thoughts on reflection.
There are some other useful areas to hone along the way—ability to follow directions and meet deadlines, organizational skills, professionalism—that will also help you thrive in actually preparing and submitting your application, but reflection is definitely key!