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Making Sense of your Medical Career
Maximise your time at Medical school - Distinguish yourself from the crowd - beat the competition and get the job you want - A MUST READ BOOK FOR ALL MEDICAL STUDENTS
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Less than two years after qualifying from medical school, you will make one of the most important applications of your life.....

Riaz Agha
Final Year Medical Student, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas', London.
Founder and Managing Editor, International Journal of Surgery

Less than two years after qualifying from medical school, you will make one of the most important applications of your life: that for a basic specialist training post. Such posts attract fierce competition, with the Royal College of Surgeons of England stating that up to 200 candidates apply for a single post. Certain specialties and locations are more competitive than others but in general competition is set to increase. According to the Department of Health, the number of medical students in England increased by 57% between 1997-2001 and then by 28% from 2000-2003. According to the BMA, there are now 22,500 medical students in 30 medical schools across the UK.

This increase has not been matched by a proportionate increase in training posts with many specialties having 5-10 eligible candidates for each post nationally (Galasko, 1999). Invariably, this situation means that many people either have to wait years for an opening to come along or switch careers and specialties in order to make progress – dreams fade out and ambitions go unrealized. In any high-flying professional career track, some people will succeed and some will fail to fulfil their ambitions and potential – this is par for the course in the modern world. However, lack of insight, preparation and drive can set you up for failure even before you have started. To get the job, you need to reach a position where you have fulfilled certain criteria and you have distinguished yourself significantly from the competition.

What you achieve in 5 or 6 years of medical school can potentially take you much closer to this position than that you could hope to achieve in the one and half years of life as a house officer prior to sending in your application. What you do at medical school really matters – a lot. By maximizing your time at medical school, you can put yourself in a strong position for such competitive posts even before you graduate. This book tells you exactly how do to so, what you need and how to get it, as well as the knowledge, skills and attitude required for success.

Currently there is great disparity; the level of competition is fierce and yet medical students often do not receive the structured careers advice, mentoring or support they need to deal with it. Students thus seek advice from individual consultants or more senior students. Such advice is inherently biased and does not provide the student with a balanced portfolio of information from which they can make informed decisions. Rather, a rushed opinion is provided which is vague, lacking in detail and which can be to the detriment of the student’s future. Your career and your life are worth more than fleeting comments in corridors or ‘snap’ e-mails.

Must read book

for all Medical Students

It continually astonishes me how much time university careers centers devote to providing information, lectures and workshops on how to get a job at a blue chip or fortune 500 company, how to land a job in investment banking, an established accountancy, legal or marketing firm and so on. In choosing medicine as a degree course, you have stated your intention from the outset to be a doctor, however your needs and requirements for careers advice are just as important as those of non-medics, and landing a job in most specialties is just as competitive, if not more so, than most non-medical jobs.

To date, books and conferences on medical careers have focused mainly on what it's like to work in a particular specialty - the case load, the hours and whether you have to wear a white coat or not. Such information can easily be gathered during the course of clinical rotations and by consulting others whilst at medical school. However, there is no single resource which specifically deals with how to actually maximize your chances of getting into a particular specialty in the first place. Many of the things you need in order to gain a competitive edge are generic and applicable to all specialties. Furthermore, they can be achieved whilst you are at medical school.

This book breaks new ground, with 200 pages of comprehensive knowledge provided by top careers advisers, over one hundred articles from the literature and my own personal knowledge and experiences. This book aims to help you make the most of your time at medical school, providing you with the high-quality information you need to build a successful career in the specialty that you want to pursue. This book will tell you what potential employers are looking for on your CV, how you can go about fulfilling their criteria and ultimately how to get shortlisted and then selected for competitive posts. Additionally, the book will guide you through the most important decisions you will make whilst at medical school, such as whether do to an intercalated BSc? Where to go on elective? How to get funded for both of these? You will also learn how to get the relevant skills you need to become a well-rounded professional, so you can be a more effective 21st century clinician. This book is also fully supported by an accompanying website at

Riaz Agha
Final Year Medical Student, Guy's, King's and St. Thomas', London.
Founder and Managing Editor, International Journal of Surgery

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