• rss
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • linkedin

Cover Letter, Resume and Curriculum Vitae

by Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP
Director, Education and Career Development, ACP

For initial contacts with a practice representative, a cover letter accompanied by either a resume or curriculum vitae (CV) is recommended. Since the cover letter will be your first contact with the practice, keep it focused, accurate, and interesting. Research the job opportunity and tailor the contents of the letter to the job. Do not use a form letter, because it will convey ambivalence rather than interest. In the cover letter, tell your potential employer what you find interesting in the position and what you can offer. While emphasizing your best qualities, keep the letter to one page maximum-no exceptions.

A resume, as compared to a CV, is a shorter document, usually no more than a few pages. A resume will present your education and accomplishments strongly, but briefly, and can be reviewed by the employer quickly.

A CV is a more exhaustive document, intended to list all academic and professional accomplishments in detail. A CV may be several pages long, but more often is the same length as a resume at the beginning of a career.

When preparing the cover letter, resume or CV, use the follow checklist to ensure that your documents create the appropriate professional impression:

  • Print the cover letter, resume and CV on matching quality bond paper with matching envelope.
  • Print with a laser quality printer or have professionally type set.
  • Adapt the cover letter to match the employment opportunity.
  • Proofread and double proofread all documents, then have a friend proofread. Spelling or grammatical errors will create a poor first impression.
  • Sign the cover letter legibly, with blue or black ink.
  • Affix the proper postage. Have the package weighed if necessary.
  • Do not submit reference names or reference letters at this point in the process. They will be requested when needed.
  • Make sure there are no gaps of time in the education or training sequence. If gaps are present, they must be accounted for in the document.

Back to Main Menu

ACP Career Connection's
Job Search Advantage

Search for jobs that suit your internal medicine and/or specialty career path. Register as a Job Seeker for additional benefits.

  • Build, edit and store your Job Seeker Profile
  • Select Early Job Notifier to have job alerts e-mailed to you

Career Advice Videos

Got 3 minutes? Get prepared for your job search with these short videos.

Watch Videos (ACP Members Only)

Related Links

Resident/Fellow Member Benefits: ACP offers Resident/Fellow Membership for internal medicine residents and subspecialty fellows-in-training.

Join ACP: Take advantage of members only benefits by becoming a Resident/Fellow member of ACP today.

Find a Mentor

Find an experienced physician who can answer your questions about internal medicine.

Prescribe Opioids Safely

Prescribe Opioids Safely

Access this FREE online educational program to help you safely prescribe opioids and manage patients with chronic pain. Online CME is available. Find out more.

Volunteer through ACP

ACP recognizes the importance of volunteerism and community service at both the national and local levels as part of its commitment to universal access to health care. View current volunteer opportunities and network with other ACP member volunteers today.

Learn More

Inspire the Next Generation of Medicine

Inspire the Next Generation of Medicine

Contribute to the ACP Education Fund and support our profession and the young minds starting their careers.

Share your love of medicine by making a charitable donation today! All donations are tax-deductible.