AAMC Careers in Medicine Four Step Process


Step One : Understanding Yourself

Self-assessment or “understanding yourself” is the process of gathering and interpreting a variety of information. Ultimately, the knowledge you gain can help you get much more out of your clerkship experiences and allow you to present yourself more confidently in residency interviews. Understanding yourself is the first critical step in the career development process. During this phase, it’s important to evaluate your interests, values, environmental factors and practice needs, your personality type, and your educational experiences.

Contact Melva Landrum to request a ‘token/key’ which will give you full access to the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine website. You will discover a variety of online self-assessment exercises including: Interests (MSPI-R), Values (PVIPS), Roadblocks (SIS), Personal Influences, plus other influences that affect career decisions that are designed to help you better understand yourself.

Step Two : Exploring Options

Conducting thorough career research requires you to seek out information from a variety of sources. Your career exploration will be much more meaningful and useful if you compare your likes and dislikes, your personality and personal values to more than 120 specialties.

  • Understand the nature of the work
  • Assess residency requirements
  • Gauge your competitiveness
  • Compare salaries of specialties
  • Find additional information


Use your clerkships as valuable sources of information; collect contact names and take every opportunity to interact with physicians and residents in the specialty areas that you are considering. These individuals will provide you with valuable inside information. The human element always plays an integral role in the residency application and selection process!

Step Three : Choosing A Specialty

Choosing a specialty that is right for you involves comparing your self-assessment results with the information you’ve collected about different specialties. People have a variety of strategies for making important decisions. Some use a systematic approach such as weighing the pros and cons, while others use a spontaneous approach by choosing whatever intuitively feels right at the time. If you’re having a difficult time making your decision, consider utilizing the Specialty Indecision Scale; it can help you move closer to making a specialty decision. Just make sure you’re being realistic. At this point, you can:

Start developing your curriculum vitae (CV) — you will continue to add items throughout the year
-Ask for recommendation letters from those physicians you have a good rapport with / have worked with perviously

Talk to Melva Landrum, TCOM’s CiM Liaison or one of our CiM Specialty Advisors for ideas you hadn’t thought of. They can make sure you are thinking realistically about your choices and are competitive in the specialty you’ve selected. Click here to explore a variety of medical specialties.

Step Four : Getting Into Residency

To begin, you will need to create a curriculum vitae, as well as a personal statement that outlines your career goals. Make sure that you inquire directly of each program about its application process, as well as its health and technical standards. Maintain good records and remain as organized as possible as your prepare your application materials. You will need to consider your finances, licensure, family situation…and possible relocation. In planning your fourth year and preparing for residency, you have several important things to do including:


The AAMC website contains a variety of helpful tools including CV and personal statement samples, a match time line, residency interview basics, frequently asked questions, a residency program evaluation guide, a budgeting worksheet, and much more! Contact Melva Landrum to request your Careers in Medicine token to unlock these free resources!