You’ve completed 5 years of intense medical training, survived the 60% medical student drop-out rate and worked harder than you thought was possible, well congratulations, you’re now ready to apply for your first post!
As you’d expect, applying for your first post as a doctor is notoriously difficult. All applicants are provided with an application form containing a series of long and complex questions. The application form you’re given will depend on the NHS trust you’re applying for, so if you’re applying for numerous posts throughout the country say farewell to your free time.
However although the application forms can be rigorous, try not to get daunted as essentially employers are only looking to see if you’re the right candidate for the job. By carefully researching the post in question and fully understanding the requirements of the role, you can identify what kind of candidate the hospital or practice is looking for. Carefully targeting your application to fit the requirements of the role can help you maximise your chances of success.
All NHS jobs provide a full job description and person specification. The person specification is particularly useful as it highlights the skills and capabilities the trust wants the successful candidate to possess. When completing your application form it’s worth referring back to the person specification and making sure you demonstrate these desirable skills in your answers. At first this might feel contrived, but with practice you’ll become a dab hand at incorporating NHS jargon into your answers.
Use the experience you’ve gained throughout your training to provide competency based examples, tailoring your answers to suit the post you’re applying for.
It’s important to choose a specialty to appeal to your interests and skill base. The job description will tell you more about the role in question, detailing your typical activities, hours and any further information surrounding the post. In this section you’ll also find the contact details for the hiring manager, who you can contact for further information.
NHS managers often complain that candidates fail to tailor their applications to the specific job on offer. By carefully reading the job description you’ll get a clear idea of what the employer is after. Keep the answers in your application form relevant to the needs of the post you’re applying for. By carefully relating your answers back to the job in question the recruiter can see you’ve read the job description and know what role you’re applying for.
Check, re-check and check again!
Before submitting your application form, ensure you check for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. Go back to the job description and person specification to check you’ve included everything, making amendments as necessary. It might sound pedantic, but you’d be amazed at the number of completed application forms that contain mistakes.
Finally, when you feel you’re all done, ask a friend or partner to read though your completed form and offer feedback.
Practice makes perfect
Take advantage of any opportunity you can to get advice or feedback on your application. Many universities offer students the opportunity to attend a mock interview or give application form advice. If your application has been unsuccessful be proactive in finding out where you went wrong, don’t see this as a knockback and instead use it as a learning experience to help you succeed in the future.