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.


Dr Salik’s email: salikm115@gmail.com

Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100012883514611

Electives in UK by Dr Bilal Ahmad

My name is Dr Bilal Ahmad and I am currently doing my House Job in one of the tertiary care hospital, Islamabad Pakistan. I am writing this blog to share with you my first hand clinical electives experience in London UK.

INITIAL SEARCH AND COLLECTING INFORMATION:

It was my 4th year of medical school, when I start thinking of going abroad and gain clinical electives experience. The very first thought in my mind was USA, I applied via med clerkships company and I got electives placement in the University of Maryland School of medicine, Baltimore. I was enthusiastic and happy but unfortunately things didn’t went well, and my visa was rejected by the US embassy without letting me know why? That was the time when, I start searching for clinical attachments in UK.

At the beginning, I randomly Google different hospital and universities in the UK. I prioritize top universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Kings College, and Imperial College London. It was the start of my 5th year medical school, when I start contacting them via email. Universities like Oxford, Cambridge you have to apply at least a year ahead, because what I learned is most of the placements were booked, and I was told to apply next year in advance and moreover IELTS score of 6.5 bands is mandatory and you have to pay around 800 pounds more or less for the placement, you will get better idea by searching their academic department.

When I contacted imperial college London, I got positive response and booked 6 months ahead of my starting date of electives. However, IELTS was also mandatory for ICL and a total band of 6.5 overall was required. I took IELTS and cleared it in first attempt, after getting sponsorship letter for electives placement I applied for UK study visa and got my visa in two weeks. In brief, Google all the universities and email them, it will give you a better idea of the time frame.

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE HOSPITAL:

I landed in London UK in NOV 2019, when it took my final year exam. I started my clinical electives in bariatric surgery at Saints Marys hospital London NHS trust one of the largest hospital of ICL. Everything was very different, as it was my first traveling abroad and the new healthcare system compared to our country, Pakistan. On the very first, we got our ICL student card, biometric access card to different departments and orientation round in which we visited different departments, especially where penicillin was discovered.

During the 4 weeks, I observed many sleeve gastrectomy, gastric bypass, gastric banding and lower GI surgeries. We did ward rounds and took histories, apart from Saints Marys hospital we also visited charring cross and Hammersmith’s hospital where we observed cardiac bypass and balloon valvuloplasty. At the end of rotation we were issued official certificates of the elective placement.

TRAVELLING AROUND THE UK:

It takes some time to get use to the new environment, you will be fine in a week. On every weekend and at the end of the day, I went to many museums, recreational parks all around the London. I also went to Scotland after finishing my electives and travelled all around Edinburgh, the old streets of Edinburgh which reflects the historical rich culture is the sight-seeing places to visit. 

VISA CATEGORY:

If you are a student you would need short term study visa which is 6 months. I don’t know about other visa categories. Do prepare all the documents before applying for a visa, the utmost necessary stage.

EXPENSES:

Firstly short term visa cost me around 90£ (20k). Return Air ticket cost around 700£ (140,000). Electives placement fee was 600£. If you have family in London you don’t know to worry about food and accommodation, which in my point of view cost you the most. London is a very expensive city, it is very difficult to find a 600£ room out there. Still it depends, if you are looking for accommodation near central London it will cost you 2000£ around. But if you go for greater London, you can find a room for 1000£ or less but still it’s hard and required a lot of search.

For travelling I would say it’s very convenient in London, you don’t need a personal car, and you do need an oyster card to travel in tube and transit bus. A 3 times meal a day would cost you around 15-20£ but still I would say depend on the location where you live in London. In short I would say you do need at least an extra amount of 1,000£ in your pocket excluding traversing out of London.

END NOTE:

When you wish to do an elective abroad, money shouldn’t be a problem for you, as it can cost you more depending on your life style.

I hope you understood everything well.

Let me know if you have any query.

Thank you


Dr Bilal Ahmad’s Email: bilala925@gmail.com

Electives in UK by Dr Nenwani

My name is Munesh R. Nenwani and I am currently doing my House-job at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan. I want to share my first hand experience of doing electives in the UK that some students might be looking for.

How things started:

I was in 4th year of MBBS and it was during summer vacations(June, 2018) when I started searching for electives abroad. Luckily, I found a website named “The Electives Network” (https://www.electives.net/splash) where I signed up and it had myriad of NHS hospitals which provide you electives for a specific period of the year. You will have to write emails to the HR and wait for their response.

The other way is, you just randomly google different hospitals in the UK and open their websites, find a department of your choice and email their consultants to supervise you for 4 weeks. You have to be relentless as well as patient. The process isn’t as easy as it sounds. Some hospitals may not give you any response at all.

Moreover, not all hospitals ask you to pay any amount. I chose the one which offered me free electives. As far as English language proof is concerned, I got a letter from my university, which stated that our course is entirely taught in English and that sufficed.

My experience at the Hospital:

I landed in the UK in May, 2019 when I was in Final year and having my summer vacations. I started my clinical attachment in Cardiothoracic Surgery at New Cross Hospital, The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust. I have my relatives living in there and chose this hospital by virtue of this as it was near to their residence. If you have no kith and kin in the UK, you can opt for any hospital and city depending on your choice.

During those 4 weeks, I attended a battery of heart and lung surgeries in the OT, scrubbed quite a few times, did ward rounds with my consultant, attended his clinic on every Wednesday, took active part in an audit on post-surgical patients, met various people from different cultures and countries and eventually got my Letter of Recommendation(LOR) which will decidedly reinforce my CV for future endeavours. Needless to say, doing electives abroad will certainly spur you to chase your ambition, know the NHS before you actually start working in there.

Travelling around in UK:

At the outset, it will take some time to acclimatize to the entirely new environment. You’ll be fine in a week.

On every weekend, I’d carry my rucksack and embark on a journey to a new city. I went to Birmingham, London, Manchester, Brighton, all these are in England. I also went to Wales which is another country in the UK and and was gobsmacked by its calmness and also the enthralling mountains. You must carry an umbrella in your bag every time you step out because you don’t know when it will start pouring. Apart from that, I am a Cricket fan and fortunately got ticket of a world cup match b/w England and Westindies at Rose Bowl Stadium, Southampton. I was supporting England btw.

Which visa category to apply for?

If you are a medical student, you’d need Short-term-student-visa(6 months). If you have graduated, you might need a Visitor Visa. STSV is for undergraduates. Getting a visa is more crucial than anything. Do all things immaculately.

Expenses:

First, STSV costed me around 90£(20K PKR). It is the airfare ticket which costs you an arm and a leg. Return ticket was more or less 550£ (1 lac PKR). If you have any relatives in the UK like I had, you don’t need to worry about your accommodation and meals. Some hospitals also provide you accommodation. However, if they don’t, you’d need to rent a room/house near your hospital which would roughly cost you 300-500£ and 3 meals a day would cost you approx. 12-15£/day. Big cities like London are pretty expensive and there is no getting around it. Keep in mind a sum of 2.5 – 3.5 lacs PKR for whole trip.

Bottom line is, when you wish to do an elective abroad, money shouldn’t be a problem for you.

I hope things are quite explicit to you now. Let me know if I could be of any more help.

Thank you!


Dr Munesh R. Nenwani email: nenwani.munesh@yahoo.com

Electives in United Kingdom for International Medical Students

MEDICAL ELECTIVE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM – A PERSPECTIVE FROM A PAKISTANI MEDICAL STUDENT

Hey, My name is Muhammad Hamza and I am a final year medical student in Pakistan, stuck at home due to covid-19 pandemic. I wanted to share my experience of obtaining medical elective in the UK as a Pakistani international medical graduate (IMG).

Initial Search

I began looking for medical electives in the UK last year during June- July. I was looking for experience in an acute setting (emergency medicine, acute medicine, etc.) because I felt that it would be more hands on and I would be better able to learn and get a letter of recommendation (LOR) in an ER. I think that it is imperative that you set your own goals and reasons for choosing a specialty for your elective.

The next bit was location and I was pretty much open to almost the entire UK but this could be different for you and therefore harder to find an elective. I wasn’t too keen on giving IELTS or paying for my electives so I crossed out almost every major university hospital. This too is dependent upon you and your preferences. Personally I felt large hospitals have too many moving parts and complexities and I could easily be lost in there without gaining any actual experience or personalized letter of recommendations. So, I preferred district general hospitals (DGHs) for my elective.

I narrowed down my search to almost 20-30 places in acute psychiatry, emergency medicine and acute medicine. After this, I began the arduous process of applying for these places. I made a good CV with different sections highlighting my achievements in research, quality improvement, academics, and leadership and presentation skills. I also added a section to list my clinical skills as well. I got quite a few acceptances from many good DGHs but it was the Bangor Hospital of Betsi Cadwaldar University health board (one of the seven Welsh health boards) that sealed the deal.

Experiences

Bangor hospital is located in a quaint welsh university town – Bangor a few hundred miles from Manchester and Liverpool. It was actually surprisingly accessible from many international airports thanks to direct rail connection. I worked for two weeks in emergency department after my induction. I did all the things F1s were doing like taking histories, examinations, taking bloods, taking cultures, sending bloods and cultures, ordering X-rays, chaperoning my patients to X-rays and so forth. I did the next two weeks in acute medicine because emergency department was deemed too risky for me due to covid-19 pandemic.

I did most of the above mentioned things along with learning a lot of acute medicine. I was involved in managing acute MI, sepsis, delirium, diabetic ketoacidosis etc. in the resuscitation bay of the Emergency department. In acute medicine, we had patients who were a little bit more medically stable than Emergency department and it was sort of a gateway to other medical specialties as well. I saw patients with cirrhosis, renal dysfunction, acute cholecystitis etc. In the rest of my two weeks I was involved in research with my consultant due to the corona virus pandemic.

I think my bets paid off as I was given adequate time and learning at Bangor hospital. I also got adequate practice of getting bloods and obtaining I/V access. I think that was because I chose a DGH and I am really happy that I got to do so much.

I roamed quite a bit in Bangor, visiting the pier and local shops but my explorer within didn’t get its fair share of sightseeing because of the coronavirus pandemic. But, Bangor was lovely to visit and explore. It was quiet, full of beauty and nature which I think was exactly like my temperament and I hope that I get to visit it again pretty soon.

Summary

Be proactive and early in your application process

Try to find out your preferences in location and hospital early on

Make a presentable CV and apply in all the places that fit your criteria

Enjoy!


Hamza’s email: goodoldhamza@gmail.com

Get paid articles free; books too

Perhaps the only stealth that is still not unethical is the stealth of knowledge, and SciHub is sure about this. It just so frequently happens that you need to get an article, but the article is paid. SciHub is made to break these paywalls. The following are the steps to get an article free on SciHub.

Step 1:
Find and Copy the DOI or PMID (See below) of the article.

Step 2:
Go to SciHub.tw and paste your PMID or DOI then click Open.

Step 3:
Download it.

Disclaimer: I do not encourage you to violate any copyright laws. Please respect your local laws; you are responsible for that.

Software to help you with Research

If you have already learnt some research methods and want to improve your research skills further, the following are some free and/or paid software that can help you extend your skills.

EndNote

EndNote is perhaps the most versatile software to help you with referencing. It saves you time by giving you the power to download and store citation files in a library—that you can organise and share with up to 100 colleagues. You can insert any of the citation into a word document within 5 seconds. EndNote can auto-formate your citations and bibliography in any output style of your choice, e.g. Vanocur, APA, AMA, etc. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, EndNote can do you a lot more than that. But all of that comes at the cost of—ahem—250 USDs.

Get it here

Mendely

Mendeley is a great free referencing software from Elsevier, which is a decent alternative to EndNote for basic referencing. It can get most of the jobs done. In addition, there is a Mendeley plugin for chrome that can help you easily import references from the pages you visit. The only problem is that editing output styles can be a headache, because you need to know some coding. This is not always a problem, but in case, for example, your journal needs from you a custom version of Vancouver, then you might need to spend some time figuring it out.

Get it here https://www.mendeley.com/

Jamovi

If you love both Money and SPSS, then Jamovi is for you (and me). SPSS has established itself as the gold-standard statistical analysis software among medical researchers, but not all free things are worthless — some are just priceless, and Jamovi is one of them. If you have purchased SPSS for thousands of dollars, you will definitely slap yourself for doing so, if you just download and check what Jamovi offers you for free.

More great softwares to come. Stay tuned and let me know your thoughts.

Add these Skills to your CV to Standout

Digital Technology for Clinicians

As a medical students and psychiatry trainees, we all have one thing in common—we suck at the use of technology. That’s an opportunity. If you learn and master some digital skills, you can easily standout from the crowd. You may polish your PowerPoint Skills to impress your audience during your presentations, or data-analytical softwares and skills to help with researchers, learn other softwares meant for researchers, or even the skills of searching PubMed like a Pro (which is no less than learning SPSS), or learn diagram making softwares to elaborate mental ideas for your students or audience, etc. And then some teacher tech—like Moodle. And so on.

Professional Soft-Skills

How to deliver a presentation? How to manage your anxiety while presenting? How to resolve conflict? How to practice mindfulness? How to manage anger? How to write like a pro (unlike me)? How to communicate with empathy? How to discover your hidden biases?

In short—how to manage yourself and get better. These are the skills that we as psychiatrists think we are best at, but trust me, that’s not the case. There is a lot of room for improvement. Check out LinkedIn learning for these free courses to begin to see how much we still lack and how much there is to improve.

Master In-Demand Professional Soft-Skills

This collection of courses is free for a limited time, get it done in 2020 before it becomes paid again. LinkedIn Learning is your best university to improve your skills further.

Research Methods and Biostatistics

Ever wonder why you feel difficulty getting your research article completed? You are not alone. To publish an article, you need many, many skills. Literature search, authorship skills, Microsoft Word, referencing, choosing the right study design, and methods, statistical analysis, sample size calculation, and so on. Finally, you are required to plan your study according to the requirement of your target journal. So you can understand why you are stuck at getting your first few studies into publication. Unchain yourself by first spending some time learning these methods. Then see how it goes. There are courses online; Coursera, edX, CDC Train, and as you may have already felt, my favorite, LinkedIn Learning.

CDC Train

TRAIN is a national learning network that provides thousands of quality training opportunities to more than 2 million professionals who protect and improve the public’s health. Powered by the Public Health Foundation (PHF), the TRAIN Learning Network brings together agencies and organizations in the public health, healthcare, and preparedness sectors to disseminate, track, and share trainings for the health workforce on a centralized training platform. Anyone can register as a learner on TRAIN at no cost and access thousands of openly available course offerings, the majority of which are free.

Sign up here

Anger Management

“There are two kinds of people in the world; people who have anger and people who don’t admit they have anger.” Marlene Chism.

The following is a wonderful course on Anger Management from her, the best so far I have watched. PS, you get an industry-standard certificate of completion and credit hours once you do.

https://www.linkedin.com/learning/anger-management

Pro Tip: If you want to get it for free, follow me on LinkedIn and scroll down to my activity. I have made it free for my connections on LinkedIn; Or try this link (I can’t be sure if it will work).

Anger can cause destruction, ruin relationships, and cause irreparable damage. But believe it or not, anger is not always disruptive. In fact, anger can become a catalyst for self-awareness, change, and healthier relationships once you learn how to manage and channel anger properly. In this video series, consultant and author, Marlene Chism helps you make sense of anger. You’ll learn how to identify your triggers, how to get to the root of your anger, and how to channel anger to your highest good. Marlene shows you how anger can be a tool for your personal and professional growth, and a catalyst for improving both your relationships and your results.

Search PubMed Like a Pro

PubMed is the National Library of Medicine’s platform that delivers access to over 30 million biomedical citations. Learners will be able to create an NCBI account, define the difference between a Medical Subject Heading and a keyword, execute an effective search using both Medical Subject Headings and keywords, employ field tags, set up a search alert, and navigate basic and advanced searches.

 

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