Your medical school years are likely to be some of the busiest, most hectic ones of your life. Between classes, rotations, and applying to residency programs, med students don’t exactly have a lot of free time.
Yet when opportunities outside the normal day-to-day workload come your way, you have to take them. These are, after all, opportunities that can help you match with your top choice residency program and ultimately land your ideal job as a physician.
Here are seven ways to take advantage of career-building opportunities during medical school.
Seek Out Research Positions
Research is key in the advancement of medicine, so anytime that you can join a research team do so. This is a great way to start contributing to the world of medicine long before you ever enter a residency program, become licensed, or practice on your own.
Should your research team choose to publish their data, you might even be able to write a chapter or an essay on the findings. Having your name appear in publications is a great way to stand out from your peers and start building your career.
Find a Relevant Part-Time Job
While it may seem impossible to carve out hours for a part-time job, doing so helps to round out your resume. A part-time job in medicine can actually help pay the bills and advance your career even further.
Try to find a part-time position that relates to the type of physician you want to be. For example, if you’re going into emergency medicine, consider working as an EMT. If you’re interested in cardiology, consider working as an EKG technician. If you’re planning to pursue family medicine, consider working a few hours per week as a phlebotomist.
Some medical schools allow students to travel abroad to do international clinical rotations in their third or fourth years. If this opportunity is available to you, seize it.
International study programs offer a unique opportunity to see the world. For many med students it’s also an eye-opening look at how doctors practice medicine around the globe.
Network as Much as Possible
It’s never too early in your career to start networking. Make it a priority to build relationships with professors, advisors, alumni, and peers. Volunteer experiences and community events are an excellent way to connect with potential future colleagues in a relaxed, social setting.
The Massachusetts drug rehab centers offer a variety of treatment programs and support services to individuals struggling with substance abuse, providing them with the resources and care necessary for a successful recovery.
As you advance through your education and training, you may even have an opportunity to seek a mentor. A mentor can be an invaluable asset that can help guide you through the entire process of becoming a physician and providing patient care.
Get the Attention of Your School’s President or Dean
Take a leadership role on a research team or student committee. Lead the fundraising efforts for an upcoming alumni event. There are several things you can do to put you in close contact with the most influential figures at your school.
If you forge a relationship with the president or dean of your school you might even be able to get a great, personal letter of recommendation to send with your residency applications.
Adding volunteer experience to your residency application is an easy way to set yourself apart from the competition. Residency programs can be highly competitive, so if you’re hoping to match with a selective program, having volunteer experience behind you can help round out your resume and give the program some insight into who you are.
Volunteering in any way, in any capacity, can be beneficial to your career and to your personal growth. Volunteer opportunities offer you the chance to learn new skills, meet new people, and give back to the community, all things which can benefit you both personally and professionally.
Research Career Opportunities
By the time you begin your fourth year of medical school you’ll most likely have chosen the specialty you want to pursue. Now is a great time to research that position to learn where you’ll be most in demand, what to expect in residency, and how much salary you can earn.
For example, here is an article on how much salary orthopedic surgeons earn by region, practice and subspecialty. Here is a listing of how much the average cardiologist makes by state. A bit of online research can better prepare you for what to expect in the next phase of your career.
Medical school is the mere start of your career, but the choices you make now can have long-lasting effects. So take this time to work, research, and volunteer to build your resume. Find time to connect with new people and build your network. Research your specialty so that you can assess your future salary and job options.
Opportunities will come your way while you’re attending medical school. No matter how busy you may be, it’s best to take advantage of each and every one.