Tips for residency matching CaRMS and ERAS

Tips for a winning personal statement
  • Start as early as possible, it takes a lot of time and effort to talk about your interest in your chosen field, how it began, how it is part of your present, and how you envision your future medical career in a page
  • Create and outline and then crystallize your ideas in a draft
  • Chose a few experiences and achievements that will make it interesting to stand out from the crowd and to have higher impact
  • Give personal examples-tell an interesting story and make a case for yourself
  • Minimize any “red flags”  such as age indication, too much referral to your previous country, a difficult family situation, hardship to settle in Canada, etc.
  • Write the best introductory sentence you can and then describe how your clinical, research, teaching experience, your expertise and skills will help you to become a  resident in the program of your choice
  • Describe your residency  and long term career goals
  • Use active verbs,  the essay will be stronger
  • Use smooth transitions between paragraphs
  • Write concise, logical, clear, well organized essays
  • Do not use the same sentence pattern and clichés
The ideal reference letter should:
  • be written by someone who knows you extremely well and can write a glowing letter for you
  • your referee endorsement should come from the most renowned and respected doctor you have worked with
  • be written by someone who has been involved and is interested in mentoring you and in your professional development
  • ideally should be written by Canadian or US program directors, professor clinicians, local doctors with whom you worked or did observerships, or research
  • the letter should state clearly your high ranking among your peers
  • should be a detailed and personalized letter and not a template letter
  • should comment on the specific areas CARMS requests
  • not all great doctors or professors are also great writers so the quality of the letter can vary despite the great intentions of the writer
Tips for additional questions about location, program, barriers, etc.
  • To show that you are a good fit at a specific school research the school website you are interested to apply, join their Facebook page, LinkedIn groups, read articles about the schools, famous alumni to learn as much as possible about them
  • Know both the kind of resident they accept so you can find the best fit and write the best essay
  • Mention you match their ideal candidate profile and that you have the skills or particular focus of their school as major interests
  • Give examples of abilities you have, demonstrate specific interests in subject matter and include some research experience in that field
  • It should complement your personal statement and not be a repetition of your CV


Follow this roadmap to create a powerful and dynamic CV:
  • Have a personal folder in which you gather all relevant documents about any activity you do
  • Brainstorm all activities, experiences and accomplishments you have since last two years of high school
  • Create a template that includes all 25 categories of a winning CV (e.g. summary of qualifications, educations, dissertations, theses, awards, various experiences (clinical, research, teaching/tutoring), publications, conferences, patents, professional licenses and certifications, memberships, volunteer activities, computer skills, languages, hobbies, etc., etc.) and add them in each category
  • Write in bullet form job descriptions, achievements, and impact (in average 3-4 bullet points per activity)
  • Make it stand out
  • Edit style and grammar
  • Proofread and edit format
  • Keep your CV updated every time you join a new activity or have an accomplishment
  • Review it with us
  • Create a similar LinkedIn profile
  • Research and learn as much as possible about the school you apply to and customize your CV to reflect your experiences, skills and accomplishments that best match their mission
  • Decide whether a traditional chronological resume, a functional resume, or a mixed format best highlights you
  • Include a summary of qualification in bullet points that will draw attention to your most impressive qualifications, skills and achievements and differentiate yourself from the crowds
  • Emphasize leadership, team work, communication skills
  • Quantify the impact of your activities and contribution using figures, percentage, rankings
  • Include unique backgrounds, interests, hobbies, skills that make you memorable
  • Use verbs to start each bullet point
  • Each bullet point should be at most two lines long
  • Number pages and long lists
  • Stick with a conservative style; avoid strange fonts and embellishments
  • Use ample of white space and 11 or 12 fonts with 1 inch margins
  • Use design elements to enhance your resume (diamond- and arrow-shaped bullet, kerning, shading)
  • Check for grammatical and spelling errors
Tips for residency application:
  • Apply widely ​
  • Customize your application for each program/University
  • Organize your application and acquire experiences and skills in the competencies of an effective physician established by the Royal College of Physicians and surgeons: Medical Expert, Professional, Communicator, Collaborator, Manager, Health Advocate, Scholar
  • Get involved in research, teaching, volunteer activities
  • Fill all sections of the application, empty sections, or one time activities in each category are clear indications that you are unlikely to contribute much to the residency program or your community
  • If you start to prepare methodically as soon as you get in med school you will have a better control on your career progression and you will maximize your potential for a successful residency application.
  • Network extensively, meet Program Directors,
  • Do electives, rotations, even a week visit in the programs, universities, and hospital where you most hope to match
  • Show interest during your core rotation and let your preceptor(s) know that you are interested in that particular field and cultivate the relationships to get a great reference letter
  • Get the highest possible scores by enrolling in preparation courses with many opportunities to practice cases and extensive feed-back
  • Obtain an outstanding NAC OSCE score
  • Have the best reference letters you can get from Canadian physicians, Canadian Program Directors, and from academic staff
  • Improve your English (and French) and communication skills
  • Get familiar with ethics in Canada
  • Learn as much as possible about Canadian Health Care system and Canadian culture
  • Participate in conferences, workshops, lectures, seminars in your area of intended specialization
  • Get memberships in specialty-related associations and affiliations with professional associations
  • Apply for administrative/ executive positions
  • Get involved in advocacy campaigns
Tips for residency matching in Canada and USA for Canadians studying abroad
Our alumni share their tips for successful residency matching in Canada and USA. If you have your own tips share them with us!
  • Make friends with students from previous years. They have been there done that!
  • Study each day of the week the material taught that day
  • Take a longer break once a week and do something fun!
  • Eat well, exercise, or swim each day!
  • Come 5 days before the school starts to arrange your place, learn about banking, shopping, utilities, entertainment, car rental, familiarize with the infrastructure, and explore the island
  • Go and meet people administration staff
  • Buy books ahead of time and start reading a few chapters in advance
  • Take Canadian exams (MCCEE and NACOSCE) back to back with USMLEs
  • Buy US dollars when they are cheap to save on exchange rate
  • Go for help from education services
  • Speak to professors if you have difficult time with a subject
  • Research earlier deadlines and requirements for electives
  • Dedicate the first two years to study to get great USMLEI scores
  • Get great reference letters
  • Do research in the summer months