Saturday 27 July 2013

How To Address The Question Of Gap In CV For Residency Application

There is a distinct effect of gap on the interview chances for residency applicants. This has been covered before in depth. The next question is if a gap exists what can be done to mitigate the adverse effects of the gap?

 Disregard gaps less than 6-9 months:
Applicants often ask me, how would a gap of 6 months affect my chances of residency. Honestly, a small gap like this is considered a normal break from professional activity. It is thought that approximately six to eight months are acceptable time duration for folks to be in between jobs. So if have a gap of six months or less after graduating from medical school before you begin the next activity, it is perfectly acceptable. Even if gap is during your medical school training provided there is a personal or health reason that can be explained it will be okay. The instances when gaps even short ones are not acceptable when applicant has been on probation or faces disciplinary action.

Be direct in explaining the reason for hiatus:
There is no place for deceit and lies on your application. Sooner or later, the truth will be out and you will be in a worse position. You could face disciplinary action, personal fines, penalties and termination of employment or even criminal action. Be direct in your approach when dealing with gaps.
-       State it in your personal statement if it is an obvious gap: if the break is pretty big and will be picked up by the academic committee or residency selection team, then it may be just better to be clear about it up front. State the nature of the gap and why you had it in the first place. Avoid dramatic descriptions; keep the tone matter of fact and professional. State your reason in 2 or 3 sentences whether it is personal reason or health reason or other.
-       Bring it up in conversation if topic comes up in interview: It may be an excellent opportunity for you to show that you are capable of overcoming adversity and becoming a better person. Don’t dwell on it though, mention it in passing, give your reasons and move on to the next topic.

Keep busy – volunteer, enhance skills:
If you do anticipate that you are going to be in between professional appointments, then go ahead and keep your self busy. Look for volunteer opportunities and things to keep your CV rolling. Sign up for personal and professional development courses. Look for continuing medical education (CME) courses that you can document on your CV.

Make the gap count
If you are going to have a large gap anyways plan your career such that the reward at the end is bigger than the drawback caused by the gap. This is especially true for folks who are thinking of masters or doctoral level graduate studies and research.

In conclusion, do not be afraid of the gap. Though it does make it difficult for applicants with gap to have a fighting chance for residency, if you deal with the gap in straightforward and direct manner, you can improve your chances.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much for sharing your experience. May I ask you a question?
    I graduated from medical school in China this year and I'm now involve in a phd program for hematology, which is also in China. It will last for at lears 5 years. I plan to try to match after I get the PhD degree. Will this big gap be a big problem? Or it won't since it's still related to medicine? Thank you very much!


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