Friday, April 9, 2021

How to Answer the Medical School Question: "Tell Me About Yourself."

 “How to Answer the Medical School Question: “Tell Me About Yourself.”

Jan. 21, 2021

Brock University

At face value, it appears like a relatively manageable question to answer, but when we open the door for self reflection, it may be more difficult to determine what should be included in the response and what should be excluded in the response to, “Tell me about yourself.” Within this article, you will be advised on what information this type of interview question is seeking, as well as the insights you should offer in order to produce a reputable answer for the interviewer(s). 

Message from Co-op, Career and Experiential Education (CCEE)

Speaking with Brock University’s Med Plus Consultant Katrina Volpini, she emphasizes and reiterates the critical requirement to fuse your own narrative in the response to this resourceful inquiry. “As you prepare to answer this question, really focus on what makes you unique, and what motivated your passion for pursuing medicine,” says Volpini. By basing the responses on how you found “your own story,” you convey and explain to the interviewer(s) how you ruled out every other potential profession that also could utilize your abilities, skills and qualifications. Volpini recommends avoiding clich├ęs such as the most frequent example: “I want to help people.” She says you must dig deeper into why your journey led you into medicine. “What will you get out of practicing medicine that you won’t be able to get from any other career?” 

They Want to Understand Your Motivations

To begin, in order to encapsulate who you are, you need the ability to produce evidentiary responses that support the following:

a) How are you committed?

b) How are your motivations genuine?

c) How have you conducted sound, thorough research? This also includes recommendations and requirements from the specific medical school of interest (fun fact: there are 17 medical schools in Canada and 6 are in Ontario)?

The process of becoming a physician or surgeon is lengthy, difficult and demanding – but rewarding at scale. The interviewer(s) need to determine who you are, collectively, and if you demonstrate certain potential. This question sets the stage for your interview, so consider it the triple-base hit you needed before crossing home plate.

Interesting, Specific Information About You

An integral component of career education, exploration and development is the ability to know yourself and to know yourself well. An open-ended question such as this should be an eye-opening opportunity to express yourself in ways that go beyond your application portfolio. It is important to note that you want to keep the relativity to medical school very, very clear. Think about it: if you were to explain your best self to a stranger, who has an agenda for your aspiration to become a doctor, what would you want to say? What type of impression would you want this individual to have of you? It is vital to consider what information you plan to give to better secure your opportunity. Additionally, to the first method of self reflection, consider what you have done in the past, what you are doing in the present and what motivates you for the future. Interviewers want to know how you began, how you’ve grown and what ambitions you have moving onwards and upwards to and beyond medical school. Towards the end of your answer, complete your response with a summary who you are as well as what you uniquely bring to the table.

Tips and Insights

  • Keep your answers concise and detailed but also brief
  • Distinguish yourself from the other applicants
  • Include quick general information like age, where you grew up, etc.
  • Touch on several relevant areas but provide detail on just a few. I call this the “Mental Table of Contents” of chapters or topics for the interviewer(s) to choose from. Yes, they have an information agenda, but they also want to know where and how they can find those answers. 
  • Stay calm. This interview is meant to feel more like a conversation – much like a conversation you would have with a patient. 
  • You potentially can control the conversation based on the information you give.

Table 1: For relevant areas to draw from, consider the following:

a) Your abilities

b) Your community involvement

c) Your education

d) Your experiences and extra-curriculars

e) Your interests and passions

f) Your research

g) Your skills

h) Your volunteer works

i) Your qualifications

Table 2: Remember, apply the preceding items to the following:

  1. Your future
  2. Medical school
  3. Present time 
  4. Your past

Table 3: Steps to aid your efforts:

  1. Self-reflect
  2. Ask superiors, colleagues, etc., on how they would describe you in a professional setting
  3. Ask customers, clients, etc., on how they would describe you in a professional setting

Sample Response

Q. “So, tell me about yourself, Angela/Angelo,” says the Interviewer while passively pulling the door open. 

A. “I’m 25 and I was born and raised in the Niagara Region. I have a strong passion for mental health since my younger sibling suffers from severe anxiety and depression, so I’m interested in assisting other youth who have mental health struggles. With my spare time, I always read the newest research on mental health, which benefited me well in my previous academic setting. I also donate to the Canadian Mental Health Association on a yearly basis. When I’m not researching, studying or swimming, I can be found travelling. I have visited about 15 countries to date, which has taught me greatly about other cultures and the importance of direct communication” answers Angelo/Angela.

In the response, Angela/Angelo gives the Interviewer many self-disclosures to draw from. They could speak about her/his academic experience, mental health interests, research findings, future in research and/or mental health, lessons learned from travelling, and so on. These insights draw from Tables 1, 2 and 3. Lastly, Angela/Angelo referenced a personal connection that can suggest he/she is intrinsically motivated for this prestigious, rewarding role. 

Happy self-reflecting, my friend! You can do this. 

Onwards and upwards,

Lisa Brown 

Career Assistant

Social Sciences Undergraduate

Journalism Graduate

Friday, March 19, 2021

Making the Most of LinkedIn

Making the Most of LinkedIn

What is LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a social networking platform that provides individuals with the opportunity to connect with other professionals, share information and resources, explore opportunities, and promote one-self and/or brand awareness with others.

Why is LinkedIn Important?

LinkedIn gives you the chance to create and promote your online presence. It helps you build connections with people and organizations that can help you find work and get involved in your field. Having a detailed LinkedIn profile can increase your chances of getting notice from employers and can help establish your creditability as a professional in your industry.

Here are some tips on how to create a LinkedIn Profile: 

1. Understand how a LinkedIn profile is similar and different from your resume:

  • Both showcase professional highlights and individual personalities. Therefore, depicting your profile in a professional manner is important!


2. Steps in creating your LinkedIn Profile:

  • Your Headline should be short, concise and memorable. 
  • Your Photo should be professional and only you!
  • Your Summary should be short and simple, including a brief overview of your goals, qualifications, and experience.
  • Your Experience (Work, Volunteer etc.…) should be relevant and include a summary. 
  • Your Education should include any concentration/specializations and honours/awards. 
  • Your Profile should be kept relevant by updating your experiences, status and sharing captivating content on a regular basis.
  • Customize your LinkedIn URL as it is easier for people to reach you.

(Information retrieved from Brock University CareerZone)


3. LinkedIn Quick Tips for Job Search 

  • Personalize your brand. Potential recruiters seek specific job titles when looking for candidates. (Information retrieved from Brock University CareerZone)
  • Be active and maintain connections.


4. LinkedIn as a Networking Tool 

  • When you are using LinkedIn for employment purposes, networking is essential.
  • Join groups, stay active with people in your industry! 
  • Leverage the alumni feature to get connected to others in your field.
  • Reach out to people, grow your network:  
    • Seek personal endorsements of skills and parallels in school, programs and experiences.

Remember, LinkedIn should be a substitute for real-world networking. As such, it is not a replacement!


Career Zone is happy to assist! Use our Career Zone portal, where LinkedIn resources are available in the Student Resources Section of the Career Zone website. 

Follow us on our social media to stay up to date with all our upcoming events and workshops!

Twitter: @BrockCareerZone 

Instagram: @brockcareerzone

Written By: Mikaela Sifflet

Friday, March 5, 2021

Exploring Co-op Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL)

March is Co-op and Work Integrated Learning month and this year’s theme is Innovative Work Integrated Learning #InnovativeWIL.  

Many of you may have heard the term CEWIL before, but what exactly is it?

CEWIL stands for Co-operative Education and Work-Integrated Learning and provides students with the opportunity to apply their academic knowledge to hands-on, real life experiences in the community or within a classroom setting.  The most well-known forms of work integrated learning are Co-op Work Terms or Internships that are embedded into an academic program.  Most Co-op positions are paid employment positions that are 4, 8 or 12 months in duration.  Some internships follow a similar structure and can be as little as two weeks in duration.  These opportunities could be paid or unpaid depending on how the internship is coordinated through an academic program.  Other forms of work integrated learning include experiential learning or service-learning activities embedded in specific courses and can look and feel different from one course to the next.  No matter what form it takes, the idea is to help students gain meaningful experience and develop skills that are transferrable to the workplace.

In the spirit of Co-op and Work Integrated Learning month, we encourage you to reflect on how you have been engaged in #InnovativeWIL.  Check out Brock’s WILMonth campaign for more information, upcoming events and social media contests!

Other resources to check out:

1. Events Calendar

Getting involved is a good way to learn how to use Careerzone’s resources. See what is happening this month by visiting our events calendar and staying up to date.

2. Workshops

Explore upcoming workshops to help you with your cover letter, resume and co-op job search! Attending these events will set you on the right path to gaining experience in your field and making connections to future careers.

3. Appointments

Don’t forget about our 1 on 1 appointment services! Sign up for an appointment for career advising, document review, job search strategies, mock interviews, and more! We are here to help you!

4. Job Postings

Don’t miss out on opportunities! Stay up to date with our job board on Careerzone where employers post all kinds of positions for students and graduating students. 

Careerzone is here to help! We look forward to seeing you at our March events for WIL Month. Careerzone also offers many other student resources for students on our portal and can be contacted through our email at Our email can also be used to get feedback on your resume and cover letter so don’t forget to send us your documents before applying for jobs. We are here to support you so don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Friday, February 19, 2021

Finding Remote Opportunities

The idea of ‘working from home’ is quickly moving from a luxury to an expectation for many employers. COVID-19 has changed the look of the workforce forever. Many organizations are switching to a remote online focus. Below are some tips to keep in mind when looking for remote work. 


1. Make Sure You Look Within Yourself First 

Ask yourself questions, learn more about who you are! Before you can know what you want and how to market yourself it is crucial to know yourself. 

Ask yourself:  

  • Does working from home align with my personality?  
  • Will I be productive at home, am I comfortable with technology being the forefront of my work experience? 
  • Will this help my mental health? 
  • How long do I want to work remotely? 

As students working virtually for this year this has given us an amazing look into the world of working remotely, so reflect on this year and how it made you feel. This will help give you a better understanding for the future. 

Career Zone also offers many tools for you to get a better understanding of your interests and skills, through programs like CareerCruisingColour Code, and many more! Take a look at the portal for tools to help with your self-discovery. 


2. Set Daily and Weekly Goals 

Set aside time to devote to your job search and preparation.  Set short term goals and celebrate successes. For example, “I want to apply to 5 jobs by the end of this week!” This will keep you on track and your spirits high Remember to take breaks and schedule time for yourself; your job search should not consume you!  

 3. Leverage Your Social Media  

Make sure you stay up to date with your LinkedIn profile and be active. Connect with people and build relationships. This helps showcase your skills and experiences to employers. 


4. Tailor Your Job Search  

Search terms ‘remote’ or ‘virtual’ in job search engines to help find virtual friendly industries. Furthermore, take a look at job boards specifically for remote work such as RemoteOk or FlexJobs (Links offered on Career Zone). 

5. Utilize Your Network  

Did you know that 80% of jobs come from the hidden market? Talk to family, friends, employers, and coworkers about your goals and seek help. Take time to build relationships even when at home. 


6. Track Your Search 

Working from home can make every day seem like the next. Keep an excel file with your job search log including the date applied, title, company, and any notes to help you stay on track and organized. 

Career Zone is here to help your remote job search. Through our portal you can access many student resources focused on remote work and preparing you for your job search. Furthermore, you can receive help by emailing to ask your questions and receive resume and cover letter help. You can also attend virtual drop in and CareerZone Cafe workshops that are scheduled on the events calendar on Career Zone. You are not alone in this search, don't be afraid to seek help and get support. We are here for you!