Careers and Employability Service
Services for current students

Building your career


It’s important to balance your time spent studying with focusing on your own personal and professional development. A range of activities outside of your course can develop your transferable skills, provide some relaxation time and support future applications.

Medicine is increasingly competitive and medical graduates are finding that having excellent academic and clinical skills may not be quite enough to secure the specialty of their choice.

Outcomes for Graduates 2018 sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours that new UK medical graduates must be able to show.

You have the opportunity to develop transferable skills both within your pre-clinical and clinical years, as well as through other extracurricular activities.


Opportunities within the Medical School

Pre-clinical years

This is an ideal time to explore what's available, get involved with societies and broaden your skills with work experience or summer placements.

Clinical years

As you become immersed in clinical practice you will start to get a better idea of the different areas of medicine. You will have opportunities to talk to senior doctors to gain an insight into their daily routines so you could offer to undertake an audit to gain experience of that type of work.

In Clinical Phase 2 (CP2) you will be planning for your elective placement in CP3. You can use this opportunity to gain invaluable and different experience to further develop your skills.

Making the most of your Clinical Phase.

Hear from two F2 doctors, a fourth-year student and a consultant who offer advice about the importance of the Clinical Phase - how to build your CV, develop your self-awareness, network with colleagues and understand the demands of a specialty.


Special Study Module(s)

In CP2 you will undertake four Specialist Study Modules (SSMs). These are a great opportunity to pursue your interests, develop your research and presentation skills, and explore smaller specialties that you might not have encountered in earlier years.

Pick from a list of specialties provided by the school ranging from surgery and emergency medicine to modern languages, across multiple sites.

Medical student-selected components

Final year elective

Your final year elective gives you the chance to find out more about yourself and where you’d like to be in the future.

You can choose to do your six-week elective at home or overseas; wherever you go make the most of the opportunity to develop your skills, knowledge and networks.

Choosing electivesMoodle - Planning your elective

Clinical Audits

Clinical audits help to assess whether patients are getting the best treatment from their service and compare current practice with guidelines for improved practice.

Getting involved in an audit can show your interest in a specialty and help build networks with senior colleagues.

Getting involved in clinical audits


Opportunities beyond your studies

Competition and prizes

As you progress through your medical training and career there will be numerous opportunities to compete for medical prizes and awards. Such competitions are generally held by medical research, training, specialty or associated bodies, by charities or by educational institutions with an interest in particular aspects of medicine.

Awards and prizes differ in topic and type of award, as well as in the level of work and original research required.

Some prizes will be well advertised through the Medical School, others will require more initiative to find. Also talk to tutors and use the web.

Sources of competitions and prizes


Summer jobs and part time work

Part-time work and summer jobs in any setting (not just healthcare-related) can provide you with opportunities to develop skills such as communication, organisation and leadership.

It can also provide a valuable income, but be careful not to over commit yourself during term time.

Advice from NHS Health CareersApply to Unitemps, our recruitment service


Work shadowing

Work shadowing can provide a great insight into a particular specialty including the type of work involved, how that work impacts patients and the kinds of decisions and dilemmas faced.

It may take time to organise a work shadowing opportunity, so the earlier you can start planning the better. Remember to keep a reflective log or journal that you can look back on later as this may provide useful evidence of the skills and knowledge you have gained.


Volunteering can demonstrate and build a number of skills, as well as provide a feel-good factor during your studies. There are volunteer opportunities in healthcare and non-healthcare settings for a range of different interests and courses.

The Student Volunteer Centre have a number of projects, and within MedSoc you may find other opportunities to volunteer your time and knowledge.

Student societies and committee membership

Taking part in student societies, or undertaking a committee position can develop transferable skills such as time management, leadership and event planning.

The Students' Union has more than 200 societies including MedSoc and sports clubs so there's plenty to choose from!

Go to our events and medical societies 

Participating in  Career Mentoring

Having a mentor could be useful if you would like guidance from a more experienced individual.

A mentor can be someone to discuss your future choices with, generate ideas with and explore your strengths and weaknesses with. You can either set up your own informal relationship with a mentor or be mentored by a Nottingham alumni through our Career Mentoring scheme.

Our Career Mentoring scheme


Your CV and portfolio

It is important to identify what your out-of-curriculum activities have given you in terms of skills and experience.

Capturing the value of your experiences, and being able to evidence it, is key to helping you build your self-awareness which will help with your career planning. It is also key to capture on paper for future applications.


Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
Portland Building, Level D
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679