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5 Top Tips for Genetic Counseling Grad School CVs

Today on my YouTube channel, I share five tips to help you nail your CV for genetic counseling graduate school. Keep in mind that some advice for CVs boils down to personal preference.


Check out the video here: https://youtu.be/Jy1vPZgGivE


Here are my five top tips for writing the perfect grad school CV:


1- TRACK EVERYTHING

One way to be sure that you are keeping tabs on every activity preparing you for graduate school is to track everything that you are doing professionally and academically. I recommend starting a spreadsheet on google sheets or excel where you make multiple tabs and include all of the information that is relevant (location, dates, contact information) to help you to remember when you come to writing your CV. Check out my YouTube video to see an example GoogleSheet.


Consider organizing your sheet with tabs that include:

  • Genetic counseling exposure

  • Work experience

  • Volunteer experience

  • Webinars, podcasts and books related to genetics/genetic counseling

Within each category you can include:

  • What the experience was

  • Your supervisor and their contact information

  • Start date and end date

  • Total hours accumulated

  • Salary or hourly pay if relevant

Creating a spreadsheet is an easy way to keep everything in one place so you can build your CV quickly when the time comes.


2- HOW LONG IS TOO LONG?

In my opinion, a 2-page CV is plenty l to highlight your experiences without putting application reviewers to sleep. If you are an applicant pursing genetic counseling as a second career, perhaps your CV may spill on to a third page.


Keep in mind that some GC programs have clear criteria for length of CVs and what to include or not to include. Be sure to check each program’s website and meet their criteria. If criteria on length or what to include is not provided to a program, I would stick with two pages of your most relevant experiences and academic achievements.


3- TO INCLUDE OR NOT TO INCLUDE

When thinking about what to include on your CV, ask yourself:

Does this experience make me a better genetic counseling graduate school applicant?

  • If the answer is yes than include the experience and be sure you can verbally explain how the experience has prepared you for grad school or a career in genetic counseling.

What should I include in the genetic counseling exposure section:

  • If you have shadowed a genetic counselor, completed informational interviews, or held a genetic counseling internship highlight those experiences and include bullet points about each experience. If you have a fair amount of direct exposure from these one-on-one experiences, I would not also list out podcasts, books, or webinars.

  • If you have not shadowed a genetic counselor, completed informational interviews, or held a genetic counseling internship (this is okay!), you should highlight podcasts, books, or webinars you have attended that enhance your understanding of a career in genetic counseling.

Should I include high school experiences?

  • Do not include anything from high school or earlier unless it is a very significant achievement.

4- USE A TEMPLATE

There are so many free CV templates available online and I recommend utilizing them rather than reinventing the wheel yourself. You can find free CV templates for:

  • Google Docs

  • Microsoft Word or Microsoft Publisher

  • Canva

You can even purchase a fancy CV template on Etsy for a few dollars. Using a template will help you save time as fonts, colors, and organization are complete and all you need to do is add your information.


5- MAKE A MASTER CV AND WORK OFF OF IT

If you are applying to multiple programs, I recommend creating a master CV that includes everything you would ever want on a CV regardless of the program.. After reviewing each program’s requirements for the CV, you can use the master CV as a template and edit the information on the CV depending on the school’s requirements of what to include and what you want to highlight. For example, you may remove certain webinars or open houses, except for those hosted by the program of interest. You may remove the list of each pre-requisite course and grade if it is not required by a specific program. Save each unique CV with the name of the program and keep them stored in a folder on your drive. In the unfortunate event that you apply a second time, you will be well-prepared and save hours of work.


This technique can also be utilized when it comes time for job applications and it will save you hours. I have one master CV with all of my experiences and a long list of bullet points for each position I have held. When I apply for a new job, I edit the master CV and cater it to the position and job responsibilities, taking into account how much detail to include for past positions, keywords, and more. This has allowed me to apply to many jobs with a targeted CV quickly and secure four positions during my six year career as a genetic counselor.


I hope you find these tips helpful! I am rooting for each of you as you work on your application materials. Let me know in the comments below if you find these tips useful and what questions you have about your genetic counseling grad school applications.






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