Ask yourself the following questions and see how many you can answer well:

  • Can you define your skills, values, motivations and personality so that you could quickly and easily sell these to a prospective employer?
  • Can you define your strengths so that you could promote these to an employer?
  • Can you identify areas for your own personal and career development? What are your main qualities that make you a good doctor?
  • What will be the biggest challenge for you in this role/speciality?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What aspects of the jobs might you find difficult?

Your career planning should take into account the match between you as a person, what sort of role you want, your work environment as well as the skills, attributes and behaviours required in a post.

Self-assessment is a vital and often overlooked step in planning your career path. In order to evaluate the suitability of certain specialty options, it is important to know who you are as a person. This process involves taking a careful inventory of your current values, interests, skills and personal qualities.

The accompanying resources and associated activities will help you answer the above questions, where necessary, and help you prepare yourself to make effective applications.

The following are some of the online tools that have been designed to support individuals through the process of career development and change. They will help you explore your interests, skills and motivations and will provide an opportunity for you to look realistically at your personal situation.


Health Careers Website

NHS Medical Careers is a four-step career planning guide designed to assist you in understanding your options for choosing your future career as a doctor in the NHS. While doctors in training can work through the four stages of career planning outlined in NHS Medical Careers, support from career advisers, educational supervisors, mentors and colleagues might also help with the decision making process.


Sci 59

This is an interest explorer designed to help you generate ideas for specialty choice. You will be asked a series of questions resulting in the generation of your top 10 specialties and your bottom 10 specialties. If you are a member of the BMA you can access the tool via their website FREE.


Medical Specialty Aptitute Test

This site is designed to help medical students choose a medical specialty. You will be asked to rate your tendencies compared to the tendencies of physicians in each specialty. The higher your score for a given specialty, the more similar you are to the physicians in that specialty: It’s US based so be aware that as the health systems are different it may not give a similar match to a UK based system.


Myers Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI)

The careers team are trained to administer this personality assessment tool. The MBTI aims to measure your personal attributes which can help you to assess your motivation, interests and values.  A similar on-line version, MMDI can be accessed here, but it would be more useful for you to undertake the full version and receive feedback from a qualified person. You can access the on-line tool at, but there is a cost involved.


I–resilience Report

Once we reach adulthood, our personalities remain relatively stable. However, our levels of resilience can vary considerably. Fortunately, everyone has the ability to build and maintain their levels of resilience. The i-resilience report and online resources are tools that are available free to use. You will complete a personality questionnaire and based on the responses, the i-resilience report reveals which of the four key components you naturally draw on for resilience: confidence, adaptability, purposefulness or the need for social support.


Windmills Career Planning Programme

As part of your career management training you may have a ‘Windmills’ training session. ‘Windmills’ is the brand name for a company who have a  long history of developing and delivering career planning activities and courses to a number of different groups of professionals including doctors. Their philosophy is ‘When the wind blows, some people build walls.... others build Windmills’ – to harness the winds of change to help them develop and move their career forward, and don't allow change to become a barrier to their progression. You can find out more about Windmills here


Recommended Activity

Prepare an "elevator pitch": Suppose you have two minutes to ‘brand’ yourself, to convince an employer of why you are suitable for a particular specialty. In particular, you may want to answer the question: What is the added value I can offer this specialty?



  • Know Yourself – The Individual’s Guide to Career Development in Healthcare. Houghton, A. Radcliffe Publishing 2005
  • The Roads to Success – A practical approach to career planning for medical students, foundation trainees (and their supervisors). Elton, C and Reid, J. Scribe Publications 2009, please click here for more information.
  • Prescription for Change: For Doctors Who Want a Life. Susan E Kersley. Radcliffe Publishing 2006
  • Build Your Own Rainbow: Workbook for Career and Life Management. Hopson, B and Scally, M. Kogan Page 2000
  • The Art of Building Windmills: Career Tactics for the 21st Century. Dr Peter Hawkins (Graduate Employment Unit)
  • What Colour is your Parachute? Richard Nelson Bolles. Ten Speed Press 2000