This article aims to help you better understand the recruitment process for surgical specialities and the various things you can do to improve your chances of getting into competitive surgical posts. Pathway After graduating from medical school, you will begin the Foundation Programme which consists of two years - Foundation Year 1 and Foundation Year 2. In these two years you will rotate through a wide range of specialities, each lasting 4 months. After Foundation Year 2, you will be able to apply for further training. For most surgical specialties you will need to apply for Core Surgical Training (CST), which currently lasts for two years. In these two years you will rotate between 4-6 month rotations depending on the specific training programme. If you are not in a run-through post, you will have to apply again for higher surgical training (ST3-ST8) after which you can become a consultant after obtaining a Certificate of Complete of Training (CCT). There are surgical specialities which have run-through training programmes - they include cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery and a few other pilot training schemes such as general surgery, ENT and orthopaedics. In these run-through programmes you only have to apply once for an ST1 post and you are recruited from ST1 - ST8 without having to re-apply at ST3 level. What can you do? General things include: Additional degrees - if you have the chance to intercalate during your time at medical school then this is definitely worth the extra time! Additional degrees get you extra points on your CST and ST3 application and is very difficult to achieve after university unless you plan on spending a number of years doing a PhD or other postgraduate degrees. Getting a first in your additional degree also counts for more than a 2.1. Audits and Quality Improvement (QI) projects - Audits and QI projects are very important in improving clinical practice, as well as improving your management and leadership skills. As a student, you can ask your registrars and consultants if they have any ideas of audits or QI projects, or even better you could try and come up with ideas for projects yourself! Quick audits that you can complete over a couple of months of your placement are ideal, as you can then implement change and re-audit the data, thereby completing the audit cycle which will count for more points at CST and ST3 application! Presenting your audit at a regional/national/international conference is even better! Teaching - Passing on your skills and knowledge to others can be one of the most fulfilling parts of being a medical professional and starting early at medical school will be beneficial for your teaching skills as well as helping your portfolio. There are usually a number of opportunities to get involved in teaching whilst an undergraduate. There is usually a teaching society at medical school that you could join, and if not, you could found a teaching society! Surgery specific things: Commitment to surgery - Joining your medical school’s surgical society, going to surgical conferences, doing surgical audits/research, keeping an eLogbook and undertaking a surgical elective will not only help you to develop your interest in the speciality but also demonstrate your commitment to surgery - an important part of your CV. Each surgical speciality has its own surgical society which will have an annual conference - so keep an eye out for them every year. There are also annual regional and national surgical skills competitions that you may want to enter to show off your surgical skills! Courses - Most courses are geared towards Foundation Year and above doctors, but there are some surgical courses you can attend as a medical student - these include Surgical Skills for Students and START surgery. These are Royal College of Surgeons approved courses and more information can be found here . Prizes and competitions - There are loads of opportunities to enter prize competitions whilst at medical school and arguably the most important part is knowing about it! If you don’t seek out opportunities to enter prizes or competitions then you won’t win them! There are a number of opportunities that are often run by your medical school or medical organisations eg. RCS, RSM. Most people are put off entering prize competitions because they don’t think they will be able to win, and so the number of entries can be very low. Applying for bursaries for electives also count for points at CST application so apply apply apply! The scoring criteria and guidance for CST application 2020 can be found here More information on the CST application process can be found here Upcoming prizes for medical students can be found here Thanks guy! Keep an eye out for the next post in this mini-series.