Career Planning Advice

Understand Yourself

Understanding yourself better is an important step in career development. It consists in giving you the means to increase your self-awareness. Did you know that all the beliefs you have about yourself influence your well-being, and your identity, in addition to having an impact on your academic and professional performance as well as on your job satisfaction?

Recognizing your personal characteristics includes:

  • your interests;
  • your values;
  • your personality;
  • and your skills.

These characteristics are part of the discoveries you will make in the various personal, academic, and professional activities, such as observerships, clinical rotations, extracurricular activities, and internships.

You have probably already started to discover some of your preferences, skills, and values. Consider what you've enjoyed most in some of the following contexts:

  • roles held in a group (founder, leader, contributing member, ad hoc helper);
  • tasks performed (technical, intellectual, creative);
  • types of patients encountered and their state of health (older, younger, more/less complex? etc);
  • relationships with your peers, and your colleagues;
  • type of workspaces and time management techniques;
  • etc.

Self Assessment Exercises

Taking the time in your early years of medical school to reflect on your experiences will help you form a stronger picture of who you are and what you want out of your career and your life, and thereby find the best fit. There are many self-assessment strategies you can try out:

  1. Try the 1st year self-reflection exercise at the beginning and the end of the year, which can help you establish realistic goals for yourself.
  2. The Careers in Medicine Self Assessments can help you to take a step back, reflect, and make connections between your experiences in the clinical setting and in your extracurriculars and your true preferences and values. You can take the quizzes more than once to set realistic goals and track your progress.
  3. Regularly keeping a journal of your discoveries and experience during the four years of training can be beneficial, as it can be easy for it to all blur together. Journaling on a regular basis (for example, noting the positive and negative highlights of each rotation) will help you as you look back over your experiences and remember how you really felt in various contexts.

Discussing with trusted people; Seeking Advice

Discussing your discoveries with your peers, relatives, mentors, and professors, or even with the help of a career planning meeting promotes understanding and growth.

These strategies will be useful for updating your resume, writing personal letters and marking your accomplishments, presenting your intentions, and your pride and explaining your career transitions in order to showcase yourself. Understanding yourself better will also improve the quality of what you say in your interviews with recruiters.

Finally, professional identity is a process of recognizing your achievements, your strengths, and a broader perspective of your options to exercise your ability to orient yourself towards optimal targets, that is to say, projects and environments. in which you will be at your best, whether it be internships, research projects, professional development activities or a residency.

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