Career Guidance & The Match

Navigating the career development process while being a full time medical student can be challenging.  Each medical student’s journey and career development experience is unique. To help provide a “one stop shop” for support and resources at your fingertips, we have created this online toolkit as a guide and roadmap for success for each step along the way.  For an overview of specific information, resources, and career development engagement activities by year, review this infographic.

Year 1: Understand Yourself

A solid understanding of your interests, values, and personality is the essential foundation for finding a career path that will bring long term rewards and satisfaction. Investing time now will be worth it to help find the specialty that will be your best fit. The following articles, videos, and online tools will help you get started.

Understand the step: Understand yourself

An article that discusses why it is important to invest time in the Understand Yourself phase and how to use assessment results in concert with advising and self-reflection to inform the process.

Building an effective advising relationship

An article that provides great tips on how to best connect with advisors and potential mentors who will be instrumental influences on your career development.

What to do during summer vacation

An article that discusses different approaches when planning how to best use your time between MS-1 and MS-2 years.

Why explore specialties early in med school?

An article that addresses the reasons why it is important to spend time on the career development process throughout medical school.

Careers in Medicine

The one-stop online resource of information, resources, and tools to help you throughout your career exploration journey.

How to apply your self-assessment results

An article that provides an overview of best practices for how to integrate assessments to help inform your career decision making process.

Overview of Physician Values in Practice Inventory: What is PVIPs and why should I take it?

A video explaining the background of this assessment available in Careers in Medicine and its benefits as a component of the career development process.

Physician Values in Practice FAQs

An article that provides information on the instrument, how it is constructed, and how to use it.

What is the MSPI and Why should I take it?

A video overview explaining the background of the MSPI (Medical Specialty Preference Inventory) and how to use it as a tool during different points in your medical school experience.

Is a career-related experience between first and second year necessary to match?

This article addresses the pros/cons of gaining career-related experience (such as research) and how to best approach what to do during your summer break.

Twin Cities Medical Society Shadowing Program

Fantastic organization that can assist MS-1 and MS-2 medical students who are interested in shadowing opportunities in the Twin Cities area.

Introduction to CVs Workshop for MS-1s

An overview of the core principles and best practices for making and updating a CV throughout your medical school experience.  The video includes the introduction and live Q&A panel.  The slides are available here.

Year 2: Explore Options

Now is the time to do a deep dive into learning more about specialties that align with your interests, values, skills, and goals.  The following resources will help you along the way towards acquiring key knowledge and experiences to help you prepare for career success.

The Undifferentiated Medical Student

Podcast and resources covering diverse medical specialties to assist in career exploration.

Informational interviewing

An article that explains the process and tips for how to use this networking approach to enhance career development.

The career advantages of pursuing a joint degree

An article that gives information on the pros and cons of joint degree programs, such as MD/MPH, MD/MBA, MD/PhD, as a path for helping some students reach their career goals.

Strategies for getting clinical experience early in medical school

Some ideas for how to approach increasing exposure to different specialties and aspects of medicine while being a full time medical student.

Do's and don'ts of shadowing doctors

An article with reminders on how to conduct yourself while shadowing physicians to make a great impression.

Academic Medicine Podcast 

Meet medical students and residents, clinicians and educators, health care thought leaders and researchers in this podcast from the journal Academic Medicine. Episodes chronicle the stories of these individuals as they experience the science and the art of medicine. Guests delve deeper into the issues shaping medical schools and teaching hospitals today. Subscribe to this podcast and listen as the conversation continues.

Developing a CV: Creating a map of your career journey 

Video featuring Maija Braaten and Luke Feuling Porter that provides a thorough overview of the CV development process and essential elements when creating a customized CV.

CV development workshop handouts and resources 

Access checklists, power verbs, examples of effective and ineffective CVs, and more!

Twin Cities Specialty Expert Panel on CV best practices, 10.22.2020

Hear expert tips on CVs directly from Dr. Nersi Nikakhtar (Lead Faculty Advisor and Internal Medicine) , Dr. Mojca Remskar (Anesthesia), and Dr. David Power (Family Medicine).

Duluth Specialty Expert Panel on CV Best Practices - 10.28.2020

Hear expert tips on CVs from Dr. Jennifer Pearson (Faculty Advisor and Family Medicine), Dr. Peter Nalin (Chair of Family Medicine Department for the Duluth Campus) and Dr. Amy Greminger (Faculty Advisor and Internal Medicine).

The All LIC Canvas Page 

Source of up-to-date information on Longitudinal Integrated Clerkship programs that are an option during the MS-3 year. They provide unique opportunities to support clinical preparation and career development exploration.


An article that shares tips and recommendations for how to approach networking to enhance career exploration and success.

What is the MSPI and Why should I take it?

A video overview explaining the background of the MSPI (Medical Specialty Preference Inventory) and how to use it as a tool during your career development process.

Twin Cities Medical Society Shadowing Program

Fantastic organization that can assist MS-1 and MS-2 medical students who are interested in shadowing opportunities in the Twin Cities area.

Specialty Stories Podcast: Helping you choose a medical career

Specialty Stories is a podcast to help premed and medical students choose a career. What would you do if you started your career and realized that it wasn't what you expected? Specialty Stories will talk to physicians and residency program directors from every specialty to help you make the most informed decision possible

Exploring Options:  Alumni Networking Workshop 2.12.21

This workshop includes an introduction to the UMN Alumni Relations Office, review of key career discernement and information resources available in Careers in Medicine, and feautred a panel of UMN Alumni that addressed questions related to networking and career discernment/development topics.  Perspectives from Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Psychiatry, and General Surgery were shared.  Slides for the presentation that include links are here.

Year 3: Choose Your Specialty

After all of the investment in researching specialties and increasing self-knowledge, it is time to make decisions about what path you will pursue. This is an easy task for some students, and for others it requires more intentional effort and time. Some students are somewhere in between. Either way, use these resources to help make the most informed decision and plan for a successful match.

A Very Short Guide to the Match, Class of 2021

This Guide is designed to provide you with a very broad understanding of the process and its requirements. In the spring we will have a required Residency Workshop with your class where we will provide you more details on the process. 

The five thinking hats 

Based on the work of Edward de Bono, this article highlights ways to approach your thinking when choosing a specialty or residency options from multiple angles and perspectives.

Letters of Recommendation tips and suggestions

An overview of how to approach the critical task of obtaining strong Letters of Recommendation (LORs) to help inform your intentional process of obtaining them.

Finding the right specialty

An article that addresses core aspects of how to choose the right specialty and reminders of different resources available through Careers in Medicine as well as your advisors.

At a Glance Program Director Survey from the NRMP

A new tool that can be used to learn how programs select applicants to interview and rank applicants, board scores, and other information.

What is the MSPI and Why should I take it?

A video overview explaining the background of the MSPI (Medical Specialty Preference Inventory) and how to use it as a tool during your career development process.

Creating a parallel plan

An article describing the rationale, factors to consider, and the process of developing a parallel plan with a specialty that is in line with your interests, goals, and competitiveness.

Compare Specialties Tool in Careers in Medicine

Use this interactive tool available by logging in to Careers in Medicine to easily compare 3 specialties at once in the areas of Training, Lifestyle, Salary, and Competitiveness. Login using your AMCAS credentials or contact if you have difficulty logging in to the platform.

Residency Explorer

A reliable online tool that is endorsed by AAMC, AMA, NBME, NRMP, and other medical organizations to research outcomes data on 21 different specialties and programs to help inform your specialty selection process.

2020 AAMC Report on Residents

The AAMC Report on Residents is an online collection of data tables that provide information on certain characteristics of residency applicants and residents, as well as information on postresidency professional activities. The 2020 edition of this annual report pulls data from multiple sources to create tables that focus on issues across states, specialties, and phases of the GME continuum. 

Year 4: Prepare for Residency

The final year of medical school is the culmination of all of your efforts to reach the point of navigating the Match.  Medical Student Affairs, your Faculty Advisors, and mentors are here to guide you through this homestretch of your career development in medical school. Visit the Residency Match Page for specific resources for applying to residency.

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