Preparing your Portfolio for interviews –
Many specialty interviews now have a portfolio station. It’s a
good idea to prepare your portfolio early, as this can refresh your
memory and give you ideas for your application. Preparing your
portfolio is a very time-consuming process.
Many thanks go to Dr Ben
Wildblood, an F2 in 2011/12, for reviewing the following article
and for making suggestions.
10 tips for preparing your
- Add to your portfolio every week; don’t leave
it to the last minute.
- Look at the requirements from the college and
the local education and training board (LETB) to which
you are applying. These will be published a month or so before the
recruitment round opens and will usually give you instructions on
layout and order.
- Be organised, make sure everything is in the
right section. Organise a paper copy of your portfolio:
- Buy a quality
- Consider using clear plastic
pockets – put the pages in back to back – this looks nice and it is
easy for the interview panel members to thumb through. The panel
should not need to take any sheets out of the pockets.
- Use a contents page with a
tab system, using dividers which are wider than the main content,
so that the panel can speedily get to the relevant pages
4. If there are
no guidelines from the college or LETB that is leading on the
recruitment here are two suggested ways to organise your
- using sections in the order
that they were mentioned in your application (this could look like
an expanded CV)
- using the headings from the
N.B. Very important first to check
and follow any LETB/Royal College instructions (as per point 2
reflective language (for more detail see above heading
your CV and a copy of your application form; make this the first
section of your portfolio after your contents page.
Development Plan – Make this a section of your portfolio and make
sure your goals have a specific timescale. Use SMART goals.
portfolio is a way of displaying evidence for courses/exams/audits
etc that you have claimed during the application. You need to
present evidence for everything you have claimed in the white-space
area of the application. Therefore it is best to concentrate
on this evidence, and then add additional achievements as desired.
Also bear in mind the person specification for the specialty.
Types of items to include in
- teaching sessions with
- certificates of courses
other relevant courses.
- documents you have
used to record your foundation competencies e.g. your DOPs,
mini-cex etc. N.B. It is a good idea to have done more than the
minimum. That way you can include those that you are especially
proud of and that indicate an improvement over time.
- printouts of audits,
presentations and publications. Include reflections and
- emails of impending
audits and publications
- feedback, thank you letters
and emails of praise from your colleagues or patients.
- your achievements from medical
school. Allow time to chase letters of recommendation and evidence,
if you do not have these to hand.
N.B. Don’t overfill your
portfolio, the selection centre panel should be able to absorb the
contents rapidly and easily.
9. If you
are applying for more than one specialty you should have different
portfolios for different applications. They will need to contain
different material and may need to be ordered distinctly.
10. Make sure you know
your portfolio inside out. You should be prepared to answer
questions such as:
- What does your portfolio say
- How does your portfolio show
your key skills and strengths?
- How does your portfolio show
your commitment to this specialty?
Adapted from: Lim, D (2011). How
to get a Specialty Training Post: the insider’s guide,
Published by Oxford University Press