JOB HUNT for IMGs – Dr Muhammad Salik

Post by: Dr Muhammad Salik

Hey everyone,

My name is Muhammad Salik. I’m a 2018 graduate of King Edward Medical University, Lahore Pakistan. I like music, discussions and ping pong.

So today I’m writing this post to share my Job Hunting experience but before we begin I just want to mention that I know how difficult it is to see all those rejection emails and I know how disheartened one gets when you don’t get a reply even after hundreds of job applications but I just want to tell you to keep moving, keep sending those applications and keep improving your NHS profile, just keep reminding yourself that you don’t need a dozen interviews to land a job, you just need one, and if that means applying for a thousand jobs just to get that one interview than fine, we’ll apply for a thousand jobs just to get that one interview. So it’s alright, I know it’s hard, but trust me, keep going, keep believing, and I know you’ll get that email that you’ve been waiting for so long, and soon you’ll get the job that you’re so anxious about right now, and then you’ll be sitting in front of your laptop and writing this post, encouraging others and guiding other get their first jobs.

Now, let us begin. For one I just want to tell you guys that I only got 2 interviews in total, and my first interview was very disappointing as in I waited on skype for quite some time and due to some technical issues I was unable to attend the interview at the last moment. Unfortunate, I know, but that’s part of the game, due to that technical issue maybe someone else waiting for a longer time than me got the job. My second interview went really well, and I got the job. Did not have the energy to apply to anymore jobs by that time, so despite everyone telling me to keep applying for jobs as everything was getting cancelled due to COVID, I could not apply for any more jobs. Plus, the HR of my hospital was very very helpful and very kind, they waited for my documents and were very nice. So, I thought I will just stick with what I have got now and if things fall apart, because of COVID and everything, I’ll start reapplying again. Not the best thing to do but the pandemic was very stressful initially and I did not have any energy left. So, it is alright, you can see what suits you and flow according to that.

So finally, now I am in the UK and hopefully will be starting my new job soon. In this whole story I should add that I applied for about 400-500 job applications. Initially my Profile was very poor, then after 100 applications I revamped it, made it ‘pretty’ and well organized. Then slowly I realized how to add the “sparkles and glitter”. I kept adding little things that I had done but initially did not think were worth mentioning. I must tell you, anything that you have done is worth mentioning, the trick is to know how and where to mention it properly. And that comes with practice. You will get better at setting up your profile if you spend half your designated time each day on sending applications and other half on improving your profile. I have discussed it with my friends and believe me, it’s the same with everyone, most of my friends (5-6) got an interview after about 400 applications and most of them got a job on their first or second or third interview. Most got the job on the first interview, others on the second and some on the third. Plus once you get the first interview call, keep polishing your profile and you will soon get another one and then another one and then another one, but remember, you only need that one interview. And it is waiting for you, just keep applying, every day, even when you don’t feel like it.

So, what I did to improve my chances of getting an interview. Basically, all the information on writing a good profile and a good application is already present on multiple blogs. I would just mention the things that helped me the most.

  1. Subscribing to job alerts. NHS Jobs, Trac Jobs, LinkedIn, all offer job alerts and sometimes some jobs are only present on one forum or sometimes some jobs appear early on one forum. My observation, Trac Jobs adverts for junior level jobs appear early as compared to NHS Jobs and these adverts have limited number of applications and so these close early. So, I would advise to apply to those on the same day. Meaning apply on the same day to jobs of your desired level (FY2 or ST1 or CT1)
  2. Attending Conferences online or live and adding those to the CV/ NHS profile.
  3. I made my application in a paragraph format, with each paragraph being short concise and focusing on a single aspect. Use the Bold and underline feature and I used headings where appropriate.
  4. Discussing the specialty: So basically, junior level people like us try to apply to as many jobs as possible into as many specialties as possible. But in terms of goals, you should consider your long term and short-term goals. So, apply for all the jobs and all the specialties and find out what is it that honestly attracts you to work in the said specialty that you are applying to. And it can be a lot of things, opportunity to improve communication skills, dealing with diverse patient groups from different specialties, wholistic approach, educational opportunities, teaching opportunitiesetc etc. Carefully look up the job and the institute and see what you are most excited to learn from this job and mention that in your application.Being true to yourself is important, it will make your path clearer for you as well as give you the ability to defend what you write in the profile once you land that interview.
  5. Location: Sometimes you can find that the location is interesting and if you can show that you have researched the location it might give a good impression that you are genuinely interested in the job. I read this somewhere, I am not sure about this objectively, but it is just my opinion that it helps. Plus writing two line about the location would not hurt the application.
  6. The Sparkles and Glitter:So, the NHS profiles page is full of little boxes you need to fill. At first it seems like I don’t have any experience in any of those categories but if you search you mind, throughout school, college, university/ med school, we all have done stuff as part of curriculum or extra-curricular that can be added to those boxes. Playing football, being in a band, arranging a trip, being the class rep, going on a volunteer work, going on awareness walks, attending seminars, organizing bake sales, being part of a university society/ varsity club (literary, welfare, debates, dramatics, music, photography, sports, arts, poetry) there are just so many things and each of those little things can add up to a team building or management or leadership experience. Think it through, chose good words, be honest and write about it. Maybe you’ll find that you have even done an informal Quality Improvement Project and you just couldn’t see it before.
  7. Consistency and Prioritization: This is probably the most important one. So, if you do not do any of the above and have not looked at any online guide on writing a good profile. Just looking at job adverts and tweaking you profile and sending job applications everyday can improve your profile greatly. So, once you understand the process better all the online guides and blogs will start making more sense.

Prioritization means that you apply for the good jobs that are more suitable to your portfolio first, then to medium level difficulty jobs and then in the very end to the hard to land high level jobs. This way even if you lose your energy for the day midway, you would have applied for the best jobs already and will only miss out on jobs that were already hard to get. You categorize the jobs by looking at their person specifications.

  • Review:At the end if still you are unsure, ask someone (particularly seniors and/or a friend) to review your application. Maybe a little change of words and expression would do the magic. Plus, it will help you achieve peace of mind. Different perspective can usually make way for improvements.

In the end I would just like to mention that I am not an expert and I did not land a lot of interviews. So, all I can share is what I thought I did right. Maybe some of it will help someone. Again,a better approach to applying for jobs is practically present on all the well-known blogs and that is where I learned most about writing a job application. I want to thank all these blogs too; they all are a HUGE help. Plus, my friends and seniors who helped me a lot.

I hope all of you who have come this far and worked this hard get a job soon. Your hard work is a testament that you all are great and so I am sure you will all land a job sooner than later, it is just a matter of time and a maybe trial of perseverance as well.

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Published by Raja Adnan Ahmed

I am a Consultant Psychiatrist working in South Wales. I am interested in raising awareness of mental illness, fighting the stigma around mental health and also medical education. I am passionate about supporting junior doctors & IMGs.

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