Career Planning Steps

Planning your medical career can seem like an overwhelming task, which is why it is helpful to break that task down into smaller steps. There are several years before you need to make a decision and pick your specific career path.

Over the next four years in medical school, it is your job to:

(1) engage in self-reflection;
(2) research different career choices;
(3) choose a career path and to apply to residency programs.

Student Affairs at the Faculty of Medicine can help you with this by providing career resources. Our website is designed to guide you through these steps of career planning and to provide you with resources at every step of the way. Student Affairs also provides you with: contact information for joining student interest groups; career luncheon seminars on different medical specialties; and is available to meet with students for personal career counseling if you're having difficultY in making a career decision.

The University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine’s career resources program follows the AAMC’s Careers In Medicine (CIM) Program. All undergraduate medical students are given log-in information and are encouraged to visit the CIM site and complete the self-assessments and review the career information. This career planning page will follow the template of the CIM site and provide additional resources at every step that are meant to complement the CIM resources. 

  • Self-Understanding – Step 1
  • Career Exploration – Step 2
  • Choosing a Specialty – Step 3
  • Applying for Residency – Step 4

4-Step Career Planning Guide (sign-in required)

Self-understanding - Step 1:
An important first step in choosing a medical specialty, is becoming self-aware and realizing how one’s personality, temperament and interests can guide a decision on which medical specialty to pursue.

AAMC’s Careers In Medicine has individual and password-protected links to self-assessments. Self-assessment tools include: Specialty Indecision Scale, Medical Specialty Preference Inventory, Physician Values in Practice Scale, and Skills Assessment.

Keirsey Temperament Sorter II  (Career Temperament Report) A temperament and personality assessment that helps you understand your work patterns and preferences, especially as it relates to selecting a medical specialty. It is a free online 70 question personality instrument that helps individuals discover their personality type.
Explanation of Personality Type Test Results – Center for Applications of Personality Type. This link provides a short description of each of the 16 personality types as measured by the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  

University of Virginia’s Medical Specialty Aptitude Test - This free online questionnaire can be completed in approximately 15 minutes. The results will provide you with a list of specialties that appear to complement your personality and working style, which may guide you in terms of specific career paths to research.

Duke University and GlaxoSmithKline’s Pathway Evaluation Program - This free online self-assessment provides you with a ranked list of how compatible you may be with several different medical specialties.

Career Exploration – Step 2:
Once you have a better understanding of your own strengths, weaknesses and expectations of a career, it is time to explore your options.


AAMC’s Careers In Medicine has specialty profiles available to view for free, without requiring a log-in or password. Major specialties are profiled and information includes: career overview, which personality types are often found in the specialty, what personal characteristics specialists in the field possess, American income information and links to specialty-specific societies and journals.
Canadian Medical Association has specialty profiles available to view for free. There are 36 specialty profiles and information includes: career overview, residency requirements, practice demographics, income and satisfaction levels.  

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has specialty profiles available to view for free. Information includes: detailed residency training objectives, accredited residency programs and contact information.

National Physician Survey – available to view for free, contains Canadian physician responses on career questions by specialty. Includes information on physician demographics, practice setting, and professional satisfaction.

Specialties at the University of Manitoba - Provides information on residency programs at the University of Manitoba.

University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine Student Affairs - Career Lunch Schedule is posted in OPAL as programs book their presentations.  Students receive e-mail notification to sign-up ONLINE for each session prior to the event. Lunch is provided to students who sign-up on/before the sign-up deadlline. Students who have missed the advance sign-up are welcome and encouraged to bring their bag lunch with them to the session. has an online database to search for physician job opportunities throughout Canada and the United States.

Choosing a Specialty – Step 3: 
After you have learned more about yourself and researched your options for different medical specialties, it is time to make an informed decision regarding your choice of specialty.


has tools for decision making which includes: a guideline for decision making, an approach to decision making and problem solving and a decision making exercise specific to medical career choices. (Login)

Medscape from WebMD – provides free registration to a personalized homepage (according to your specialty of interest) with full-length medical articles, medical news, USMLE prep quizzes and case study challenges. This site can be helpful for becoming more knowledgeable about a specialty in which you are interested.

American Medical Association – provides the links of National (American) Medical Specialty Society Webpages. These sites will be of interest to you once you have a specialty of interest in mind, and you can search for information on student memberships to specialty societies as well as specialty society conferences.  

Still finding it hard to decide?

  • You may want to re-take the self-assessments. Over time and as you go through your medical education, your answers to self-assessments may change. You may have different viewpoints on working with others, patient contact, etc., and re-taking the self-assessments may point you in a different career direction.
  • You may want to seek out a physician in the department(s) in which you are interested in order to discuss your reservations/questions.
  • You may want to make an appointment with

Applying for Residency – Step 4:
In Canada, the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) is responsible for matching medical students to residency programs.


The Residency Info Guide is a web page from Student Affairs that provides a CaRMS application timeline, links to Canadian postgraduate medical education programs, and a listing of direct entry and subspecialty residency programs in Canada. 

CaRMS and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students have compiled a free downloadable booklet regarding the role of CaRMS, important deadlines in application, how the match works and specialty-specific success rates for previous years. Once on their site enter "Match Book " in their search engine to pull up various annual reports.
McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine provides a comprehensive checklist and website for gaining admission into a residency program (including how to obtain a U.S residency).
CV, Resume and Interview Tips – When applying for residency programs, you will need to submit a CV, which is a summary of your past education, employment, volunteerism and research activities. CaRMS residency interviews may be the first interview you have attended since starting medical school, and you will need to practice your interviewing skills. The following links provide information on CV and personal statement writing, as well as interview tips.

Interview Tips from Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Faculty of Medicine

Resume writing tips from Manitoba Government: Training and Employment Services

BMJ provides interview advice, tips on CV and personal statement writing, as well as a sample CV.

Revised January 25, 2017