What is the ERAS Experience Section?
Medical Residency Application & Interview Preparation Specialists
The Experience Section in ERAS is one component of your greater ERAS Residency CV. It’s designed to allow you to share the experiences and activities that have had the most significant impact and effects on your desire to follow a career in the medical specialty that you have chosen. It should be seen as equivalent to the Work and Activities Section of AMCAS, the employment and activities section of the TMDSAS, etc. Equally, it is equivalent to a typical work experience section in your more general CV. Here, we will work through what the section is, how to approach it, and what you need to include.
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What do I need to include in the ERAS Experience Section?
There is no set number of experiences that you need to include in this section. In fact, the form is structured in such a way that you could include anything from 1 through to an infinite number of experiences. However, as with a general CV, the key to remember is that either a dearth of experiences or too many lower-quality experiences will both only serve to drag your application down. You must therefore make an honest assessment of your experiences and work through what to include – in general, you need to include something from each of the following sections: work, volunteering, and research. If we take each section and calculate that including 3-4 experiences per section would be sensible, then we would therefore be looking to include somewhere from 9-12 experiences in total (assuming that each is high-quality). Throughout, you should consider what each experience says about you. For example, including a summer job working at a mall, simply to add more experiences, might only serve to distract a program director reading your application, whilst ensuring that you include only three, very targeted and specific work roles, all of which are relevant to Medicine, is likely to sell you much better.
The most experiences that you should consider including is 15. Any more than this is likely to distract from your core achievements, and dilute them down – and perhaps to lead to anyone reading your application to not spend as much time on remaining sections as they otherwise would. Of course, if there are particular things that you are very keen to highlight, but that perhaps wouldn’t fit as well here, they can be added to the CV elsewhere – you might wish to highlight them in your personal statement or the supplemental application, for example, rather than in this core section. This might also allow you to highlight a less-traditional experience, and use it to craft something of a narrative, for example.
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What do I need to include for each experience?
You need to touch on each of the following sections for any given experience:
First, the experience type. This is simply work, volunteering or research.
Next, you must state the organisation. Therefore you might put ‘Columbia Road Medical Practice’
Then you must put your position. You might therefore write ‘Scribe’
After this is your supervisor, or the supervisors, as appropriate. Include their title and name.
Include the location after this – that must include the city, state and country.
Then you need to cover the average number of hours per week.
Next comes your description of the role. Crucial elements to include here are what you actually did on a day to day basis and how this related to Medicine and your chosen specialty, how you progressed over time and why, and any particular experiences within this role that stood out to you. You must find some space to reflect on particular attributes / experiences that will tally best with your chosen specialty. You can use the STAR (situation, task, action, result and reflection) approach as a rough guide for how to lay each out.
The next section is your reason for leaving the experience. Try to keep these as positive as possible – for example, you might write that you left X experience because you had secured a spot at Y, which was a better fit for your personal goals.
The last section is your experience dates, which should be accurate to the day of the month.
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