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Securing a Consultant post is what you have spent years to train for. In order to get the right job, you should start efforts much earlier.

It requires long term planning, bit of knack to complete the application form and go through the motions of the process of search and apply for the job, do pre interview visit and finally the interview.

When we say long term planning, we do not mean the day one of your ST3 job. Spend first 2 years of your specialist training in building your CV, develop the skills you chose the speciality and gain experience. Use this time to identify what are your expectations when you compete your training.  

Think about:

  • Sub specialist training or to have a wider approach in your speciality? For example, as a trainee in ENT, would you like to provide general ENT service or develop a narrower field/subspecialty i.e. ear surgery only?
  • Assess the job opportunity in your expertise? To selective or broad ?
  • What else you can do to have an attractive portfolio to make an organisation want you? Sports, drama, IT skills?
  • Consider doing some out of programme research/fellowship
  • Think about where would you like to take up the consultant posts and what openings are likely around the time you are nearing end of your training?
  • Understand what the organisation is looking for in the new appointee? This could be more than just the clinical work.

Review your training

Look at your CV at regular intervals to see that you are meeting all the ticks required to complete your training without risking extension. Considering that as a consultant you are doing more than “just being a clinician” look at all aspect of the job that consultant do. Look at your consultant you are working with and see what their schedule is like? You should have all these covered to make your application wholesome.

Broadly speaking you should have experience and evidence in your CV to demonstrate following:

  • Clinical work: do highlight your unique selling point.
  • Academia: Research and publication
  • Teaching: medical student, foundation trainees and IMTs
  • Leadership
  • Audit/QIP: Which one is close to your heart? Why?
  • Post graduate qualification: MSc, MD, PhD etc
  • Fellowship

Application

There is plenty of information on various sites so that you already know how to search for the job. If you have played your cards right and develop skills that make you stand out, you should be able to get a job quickly. You may even be approached by a department. Do take those coffee shop conversations seriously. They department may be exploring your needs, interest and if you are keen to take the job in that organisation. You can approach a department directly to see if a job is coming up and the timescale of it? Having done some acting up or a locum experience would add extra brownies.

Once you have decided on which job to apply, look at the application pack (most is online). Completing the application form is simple. Please complete all sections and if asked “Would you like to share xxx to demonstrate xxx?” Please do not write “No” Such questions are meant to assess different skill sets you have and you are marked in the short listing process.

Be very attentive to details in the [person specification. This document actually tells you what they are looking for in the new appointee. Try to get as much tick as you can in all sections. This also helps you in identifying if you should not apply for a particular job. Anything mentioned in the essential is what you must have to be appointed. No point applying for a Consultant Surgeon post when the organisation need a experience in Oncology surgery but your CV is all about colorectal surgery experience. In most likelihood, you won’t get shortlisted and have wasted time submitting an application (as well as the feeling of not wanted”). Avoid cut and paste approach and tailor your application to the job.

Make sure you do a good typo and grammar check in your application. Seek help and guidance from your consultant/colleague/educational supervisor.

Pre Interview Visit

The job advert gives details of date of confirmation of short listing/invite for interview. Be aware that you need to organise pre interview visit anticipating that you are going to be invited for the interview. This way, you are not making last minute clinic cancellation/on-call swaps as well have better success in meeting the panel. In the worst case scenario of you not being shortlisted, you can cancel the meetings and panel would understand.

If you are invited for the interview, make sure you put your best foot forward. Remember that whilst the pre interview visit is for you suss out information and you should not be asked questions but you are being judged too so be careful, professional and avoid over-familiarity. Your mannerism should show that you are going to be a good colleague (swaps would be easy with you).

Avoid visiting hospital before short listing is available.

Selling Non Clinical Skills

A consultant has many responsibilities. You need to sell all your skills that you have besides being an excellent clinician that would step in easily and get clinical work done without problem. 

You need to demonstrate at every opportunity (application, pre interview visit/interview) that you are a good fit “like a glove to a hand” and you are hard working person. Show eagerly that you would take the service forward by either stepping in the vacant shoes (continued revenue for the trust) or develop new service (generate income).

Interview Preparation

There is plenty of information available to get you started. Whilst you can read a lot and learn from various resources, you need to know if you are able to weave this in your answers. Remember you won’t be asked about a burning hot NHS topic. You need to bring that in in your responses. Doing that is the key to success sin your interview.

An example is to bring in EWTD when talking about service development (as new service need people to run service) or drop in GIRFT when discussing QIP or service mapping. This shows a mature approach.

Interview

On the day, appear confident and believe in yourself. Answer questions with confidence making sure that you have a start (introducing the response), a body (main response where you give your views and or give pros and cons if the question is asking for an opinion) and finally sum your view or end without cliff hanger.

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FIRST IMPRESSIONS

4 STEPS TO SUCCESS

MYTHS AND FACTS

7 WEEKS TO SUCCESS

WHEN TO START PREPARING

WORDS TO USE AND AVOID

APPLICATION FORM TIPS

WRITING THE PERFECT CV

SECURE THE CONSULTANT POST

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