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Download "How To Answer Questions In An Interview" Guide
Download "How To Answer Questions In An Interview" Guide

Navigating the competitive landscape of medical specialties

Applying for prevocational training programs continues to be a source of frustration and stress for junior doctors across the country.

Doctors spend years gaining experience in a particular specialty and then face the challenge of applying for one of the limited spots in the specialty training program. Competition is high for many specialties, so it is worth taking the time to research what is available and how often the training colleges take applications.

Lately, I’ve been working with clients trying to get into some of the most competitive specialties: Critical Care (Emergency, ICU and Anaesthetics); Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, ENT Surgery, Dermatology, and O&G.

Unfortunately, just because doctors gain work experience in a particular specialty, it won’t guarantee them a position in that specialty training program. Understanding this is important to help manage expectations and possible disappointment at not being accepted. Having a backup plan for a different specialty is always a good idea. We’ve spoken in previous articles about having a Plan B, which we recommend every doctor has in place. This is because the number of applicants for most training programs will be much higher than the actual number of positions available.

Whether you’ve already tried to get into a specialty training program or you’re getting ready to take that step, read on for information on what to avoid and how you can get support from my personalised coaching programs to stand out in your applications and at interviews.

Common pitfalls in specialty training program applications

Although we’ve covered interview techniques in other articles, it’s worth reiterating how important it is to prepare thoroughly. Just like a job application, applying for entry to a specialty training program is just as rigorous.

First, your application needs to meet the training colleges’ requirements. If selected, you then advance to the interview stage. The best chance of getting to this stage will be due to careful preparation and attention to detail. For example, here are some common mistakes I see on CVs that you should avoid:

When you’ve completed writing your CV, it’s essential to get someone with experience to review and edit the document.

Another mistake I see often is a lack of preparation for interviews. Many doctors need help talking about their achievements in the right way so they can adequately showcase their expertise and suitability for the training program. This can be attributed to a confidence issue. When doctors lack confidence, their communication skills suffer.

Considering how many years doctors spend in training and on the job, getting support from a medical career coach who is invested in their career pathways and, ultimately, career satisfaction makes sense.

With my passion for helping doctors achieve success in their chosen career path, I’ve coached hundreds of doctors on CV preparation, interview skills, and confidence. All the elements that provide a foundation to stand out from other applicants.

Mastering the specialty training program application process: A personalised approach

My coaching program is personalised for each client and involves:

  1. Working 1-on-1. The process I follow makes sure you get dedicated time with me and, in turn, get the best outcomes
  2. Initial consult: free 15-minute chat to confirm your needs
  3. Proposal: using the information from the initial call to identify the
    service(s), price, scope and outcomes
  4. Discovery Session: meeting to kick off our work together

My Interview Focus Package and Application and Interview Preparation Package are popular choices among aspiring trainees. The latter involves CV Overhaul and assistance with application documents, as well as interview preparation and practice.

Next steps

Please don’t leave it to chance. Making mistakes on your application will likely mean you won’t get an interview and, ultimately, miss out on the specialty training. I can help you avoid those mistakes and ensure you are fully prepared when applying for a specialty training program.

You only have one chance to make a great first impression.

To discuss which personalised coaching program is suited to your needs, call me on (+61) 437 527 597 for a confidential chat or email for more information.

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