Blog Archives: August 2012

Gain the insider insight you need to enter your medical residency program of choice.

Mistakes That Can Cost You

Mistakes That Can Cost You

The common pitfalls of a residency application

Applying for a residency is a nerve-wracking process for a doctor in the making. Of course, you want to land a great residency position that’s within your field of study. But with all the competition out there today, med students aren’t even guaranteed a residency placement at all—much less their program of choice.

You can improve your chances of matching into a good residency by avoiding these common mistakes in your residency application.

Turning in less than letter-perfect material

Although you’re not applying for a position in a college English department, spelling and grammar still count. Attention to detail is an important quality for your future demanding career, and sending out a sloppy application suggests to residency program directors that you don’t sweat the small stuff as much as you should.

If grammar and spelling aren’t among your strengths, consider getting a professional review of your application packet before sending it out. One note here: Avoid hiring a ghostwriter. Program directors can tell the difference, and they’re not interested in candidates who don’t do their own work.

Using letters of recommendation that recycle your CV

When it comes to recommendations from people you know or have worked with, the last thing a residency program director wants to see is a summary of your good grades or accomplishments. This adds nothing new to your application. Letters of recommendation should include personal opinions and observations of you, from professional and experienced people.

If your letters sound distant or stilted, consider asking the person recommending you to rework the contents—or solicit recommendations from other sources.

Not making your personal statement personal

Many residency program directors consider the personal statement to be one of the most important documents in your application. Like your letters of recommendation, the statement should complement, rather than rehash, your application.

Don’t talk about how great or prestigious your medical school was, or how your grades are in the top 1 percent of your class. Your transcripts will reflect that information. Also, avoid saying things like, “My mother was a doctor, so I decided to become a doctor, too.” By now, you should be familiar with your own reasons for pursuing this career path—your personal reasons. Outside inspiration can be viewed as pressure, rather than a true desire to enter medicine.

Failing to prepare for interviews

Going into a residency interview cold is like sitting down in front of a piano at Carnegie Hall without having ever played a single note before. Okay, it might not be that extreme, but it’s still a bad idea.

Professional mock interviews can mean the difference between sounding like a confident professional who’s ready to enter the challenging world of medicine, or a soft-spoken bundle of nerves who just might faint under pressure. The first time you try anything is likely to be a rough experience—so save the most important interviews for at least the second time around.

Need help? At Residency Pro, we offer comprehensive services to make sure your residency applications are in the best possible shape, and that you’re ready to take on the challenging of residency matching. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you!

Donald T. Morrish, MD

Residency Pro

888 549 8111

Beyond Words


Why residency programs read between the lines of your application process

It isn’t easy to apply for residency programs. You have to pull together a lot of written material and make it look fantastic. Then, you have to pull yourself together into an irresistible package for residency interviews. The stakes are high, because there are more applicants than open residency positions, so everything counts.

You may have learned that presentation is everything—but did you know that residency program directors will often see more than you intend to present?

Starting with the basics

When applying for a residency, you’ll provide an application and a personal statement along with your transcripts, evaluations, and recommendations. This package has to look good at first glance, and beyond. Applications with simple spelling and grammar mistakes are common, so you’ll gain an advantage over the competition by ensuring that your paperwork is letter-perfect.

There are some basic essentials for the interview process, too. A professional appearance is a must—no black pants and white socks! You should also have some solid groundwork in place, including experienced professional advice.

However, with the fierce competition for residency positions, you need to exceed the standard expectations.

Digging deeper: Crucial elements for success

There’s more to landing a residency position than good grammar and fashion sense. Of course, you’ll want to make sure to have the strongest possible application, with solid recommendations, a good track record, and the required skill set and knowledge base. However, even an impeccable set of credentials might not be enough—because every medical student is reaching for the same heights.

Residency program directors will definitely consider your accomplishments on paper, but they’re also looking for factors that can’t be conveyed by your application. One of the keys is your personal statement, and what it says about you both directly and indirectly.

The interview is equally critical. You have to be a good fit for a residency program not only as a professional, but also as a person. With so many qualified people to choose from, residency program directors can afford to be picky.

The good news is, there are six crucial elements you can work into every aspect of your ERAS® application, personal statement, and residency interview that will exponentially increase your chances of success.

Gain the advantage you need

If you know what residency program directors are looking for in a candidate, you can tailor your applications, personal statement and interviews to highlight your strengths and give yourself an edge. Instead of settling for the first program that ranks you, you’ll be able to land a position in the program and specialty of your choice.

With the Comprehensive Residency Pro package, you’ll learn the crucial elements that can elevate you from a solid candidate to the best choice for the residency program you want. This package includes editing and review of your ERAS® application and personal statement, a one-hour mock interview, and a strategic planning session to help you become irresistible to residency program directors.

Visit Residency Pro today for more information about how our services for medical students and graduates can assist you. Send me a message or contact me at 1-888-549-8111.

Donald T. Morrish, MD

Residency Pro

‘Pick me!”

Residency Applications

How to write a personal statement that says, ‘Pick me!’

For today’s medical student, the residency application process is tougher than ever. There are far more candidates than there are open residency positions, and many count themselves lucky just to get accepted into a program, let alone the one they want.

Your application itself is important, as are your transcripts and recommendations. However, don’t underestimate the powerful influence of your personal statement in the selection process.

What exactly is a personal statement?

This single-page document complements your ERAS application, adding another dimension to your credentials. Residency program directors place a fairly heavy emphasis on the personal statement, as it’s the only part of your application that sheds light on you as a person. They’re looking for someone who is a good fit for the program—not just in terms of knowledge, but in personality and temperament.

Personal, yet professional

While “personal” is a key word for a personal statement, you still have to keep it professional. A casual, rambling, or cutesy statement will not impress residency program directors—though you’ll only submit a single page of material, it’s not something you can dash off in a few minutes.

Your personal statement should be a well-written, uniform presentation with good flow, high readability, and flawless spelling and grammar. The opening should grab attention, and the closing should tie into the beginning. Every word of your statement requires careful consideration.

There’s another important p-word here, too: passion. You have strong reasons for going into medicine—otherwise, you never would have undertaken the grueling years of medical school. That passion needs to be transmitted through your personal statement.

The big mistake residency applicants make

With all the effort that goes into applying for a residency, it’s tempting to look for as many shortcuts as possible. Some medical students will look into hiring a ghostwriter to draft their personal statements, especially if writing isn’t their strong suit—usually with the rationale of, “I’m going to be a doctor, not a writer.”

This is a mistake. Residency program directors can tell if you don’t write your own personal statement, because the writing style in your application will be completely different. Your entire ERAS application packet must be consistent. Having someone else write what is supposed to come from you indicates to program directors that you won’t be fully invested in a residency—and the position will go to someone else.

Make your residency application shine

With a comprehensive package from Residency Pro, you’ll receive thorough, professional review and editing—not ghostwriting—for your ERAS application and personal statement. We’ll work with you to get your personal statement right the first time, in your own words, so you can land your residency program of choice.

Contact us for more information on our all-inclusive residency application packages.

Donald T. Morrish, MD

Residency Pro