Interview by Marika Jackson.
Dr. Brill studied podiatry at Barry University’s School of Podiatric Medicine and completed her residency at Cedars Medical Center in Miami, FL. She is now a professor and member of the clinical faculty at Barry University’s School of Podiatric Medicine.
Dr. MacGill studied at the Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine & Science and completed his residency at Florida Hospital East in Orlando, FL. Now, Dr. MacGill is the medical director of the Northwest Medical Center residency program and a clinical instructor at Barry University’s School of Podiatric Medicine. He is also a foot and ankle surgeon at the Spine and Orthopedic Center in Coral Springs, FL and serves on the board of directors for the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.
Q1. As a resident, residency director or administrator, is there a particular section on an applicant’s CV that holds more weight for you than others?
Each program is different, and each residency director has different ideals in their candidates. For example, Dr. Brill of the Barry University Foot & Ankle Institute in Miami, FL, believes that Participation and organization of community service events and involvement with student organizations and clubs with a focus on leadership positions. Dr. Alan MacGill of the Northwest Medical Center initially looks at a student’s GPA with detailed transcripts. He is also interested in education history, participation in research, and student organization involvement.
Q2. Is there a common mistake you see on an applicant’s CV? If so, how can this mistake be avoided or improved?
Both Dr. Brill and Dr. MacGill agree that having a longer CV is not necessarily better. Dr. Brill warns that if a CV is too lengthy, the reader will often lose interest. Dr. MacGill advises to include pertinent details about education history and experience but keep it concise. Dr. MacGill also says to explain any time gaps that may be presence.
Q3. Do you consider a CV’s with a plethora of community service, honors/awards and work experience impressive? Why or why not?
For Dr. Brill, having a focused area(s) of interest within podiatry in their community service events. Honors and awards should be organized in a precise and clear manner. When she sees a plethora of information, she tends to think the student is “beefing” it up and some of the information may be misrepresentative.
Dr. MacGill, on the other hand, finds this to be an indication about a resident’s ability to multitask and manage their time. He believes it demonstrates that this person has been going above and beyond to get ready for the next chapter.
Q4. As far as CV preparation, what advice would you give to someone who may be lacking in awards/honors during podiatry school?
If there are certain areas lacking in the CV, both residency directors’ advice to focus on your strengths and positives. Maybe provide more information about things you are involved in, family life, things outside of school, etc.
Q5. In your opinion, is non-medical work experience beneficial to place on a CV?
Both attendings see a benefit of adding non-medical experience to a CV. Dr. Brill notes that this should be added if it demonstrates leadership skills. Dr. MacGill notes that a lot of non-medical experiences have allowed for residents to develop skills that translated into residency. For example, diligence, attention to detail, manual dexterity, and the ability to work cohesively with a team are just some of the things that can be sharpened outside of the medical world.
Q6. If an applicant has no work experience, should he/she share medical shadowing experience in lieu of work experience?
Both attendings agree that putting these experiences on your CV can be helpful. However, Dr. MacGill added the cavoite that these experiences depend on the length of time. He says, “there is a difference between a student spending 5 days shadowing a DPM versus spending 5 months. The longer the better as it demonstrates commitment and immersion in the field.”
Q7. Do you think that there is truly a time frame on the information given in a CV, or are you of the opinion that all relevant experience is worth sharing despite the time frame?
Both attendings believe that the time limit is dependent on the amount items on your CV. Dr. Brill recommends keeping the length of the CV at two pages. If there were enough noteworthy experiences from undergraduate and graduate school, this is sufficient for a CV. Dr. MacGill states that some students can have too much information from too far back, leaving the CV long and diluted.
Q8. Are there any particular community service activities that you think would help applicants stand out more?
Dr. Brill and Dr. MacGill acknowledge that community service events are always held in high regard. This can be community clinics, homeless shelters, or even medical missions. However, this can vary from program to program.
Q9. Should applicants provide a brief summary explaining the community service, award, or previous work experience on the CV or will a simple list suffice?
Both physicians recommend keeping the CV simple. While it can be helpful to provide a brief explanation, long paragraphs are not recommended. They both even suggest that this can provide opportunities for talking points in an interview.
Q10. If you were to give a pep talk to yourself just before your 4th year of Podiatry school, what would you share concerning your CV presentation and residency interviews?
Dr. Brill states:
I would tell myself that both your CV and interview performances are less important than you may think! Clerkships and demonstrating a good work ethic are by far the most important thing! Communicate with residents of programs you are unable to visit and express your interest in the program directly to the program director and residents!
Dr. MacGill states:
The CV is a living document that you’ll constantly need to update. Stay on top of it! Look for things that not only build your CV but also add valuable experience. Seek out mentors to provide advice and listen well! When it comes to interviews, be comfortable and show poise. The externship is your best shot at showing the program how strong of a candidate you are. If you’re interested in a program, communicate that to the program and keep in touch! It helps to visit when you can, especially if you did not have the opportunity to extern.
Interview by Marika Jackson
School: Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine.
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