Here is a hidden method for getting interviews that you may not hear much about. Each year different medical speciality organizations hold conferences and the respected doctors, residents, and medical students come to attend them. Some of the doctors are residency directors that stay within their program booth to present some kind of research project. You can use the conferences as a medium to get an interview and take the time to show them who you are.
American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP)
The AAFP represents Family Medicine speciality and it has the most powerful lobby in Congress. Their yearly convention is the largest out of all the medical specialties in North America. Over 400 Family Medicine residency programs are represented in the convention. The AAFP national convention also has residency programs you will not find in ERAS, as in their are just starting out and waiting for approval by the ACGME. So if you were to show your face and get to know the staff of the new residency program then you are one step closer to getting in.
It’s not free though, you have to pay for registration and you have to go pay for travel and stay there. When I went before, it was held in Kansas City, MO and it was a fun trip. Not only will you see the gigantic size of the convention but you will appreciate how important Family Medicine is. With over 400 residency programs there you can just image the money that is involved in the organization.
The convention has Continued Medical Education (CME) courses for licensed doctors and seminars for medical students such as interviewing for residency programs. They also have breakfast and lunch, which I thought was worthless because it was all vegetarian and snacks.
The convention is where you have the ability to shine without them looking at your credentials. You may be disheartened as some programs will directly tell you that they will not accept IMGs, but you just say thank you and move on to the next booth. The great part of the convention is you can talk to directors without any worries or trying to impress them if they will rank you or not, because it’s NOT an official interview. At the end of the day they just want to get to know you and they want to tell you about their program. Most of the rural Family Medicine programs are more friendly than city programs. Another thing to note is that even though it’s unofficial, you have to still be careful of what to say because the interview starts there. When they leave the convention you want them to remember you in some way for interview season.
Here are some things you should take into consideration if you plan to go to the AAFP convention:
- Dress up and dress to impress. Don’t go all out, don’t wear a suit but wear something that is business casual.
- Take 10 resumes with you each day, and trust me 10 is enough because you will tired after talking to 10 different residency programs.
- Always be on the look out to talk to the residency director because you want to talk to him/her the most but also don’t deny the residents or the other staff.
- If they invite you to dinner say YES. If they invite you that means they like you so make sure you do so.
- Do not approach any of the booth with another friend because you want the spotlight to yourself and you do not want to share that with anyone else.
- Don’t be fake. Be yourself and stay positive.
- If you are going, then volunteer somewhere medically related before so you’ll have something to talk about
- ***IMPORTANT: Register with ERAS before going to the convention because each booth may have a sign-in list of who they talk to, make it easy for them to look you up during interview season so put your AAMC ID# on your resume and also write it down next to your name on their sign in sheet.***
Keep in mind that you should go to this convention only if you really want to get into this speciality. These program directors have interviewed hundreds of candidates so they know who’s acting and who’s genuine. So if you are acting then they will see right through your BS.
However, let say you want to get into Family Medicine but it’s not your first choice. By going to this convention you are showing to these program directors that you are committed to the speciality because you are investing the time, money, and energy. In order to increase your chances of getting into a residency, you should always apply to Family Medicine.
If you have the time and money then you should go to local conferences. When you go to conferences and show your face multiple time to residency directors you will gain more of a momentum for your application to be seen. Local conferences are usually more expensive than the national convention but you have little to no competition because medical students rarely come. Also in local conferences the atmosphere is more relaxed.