Getting your portfolio in order prior to the orthopaedic ST3 recruitment 2016 interview is essential!  It takes a surprisingly long time to assemble.  If you do not already have it in order then I would start immediately. Show your portfolio to as many people (fellow CT’s, registrars and consultants) as possible prior to the day.

When you check into the orthopaedic interview at Elland Road you will hand over your portfolio.  This will then be given to the pannel prior to you entering the room.  You will have been asked to fill out a Portfolio cover sheet prior to attending.  This is to direct the panel to the evidence to back up the answers to your self assessment section of the application form. The panel may ask or question elements of this form so be prepared to argue your corner and know exactly where the evidence is.

What you need to know:

Your portfolio is a direct reflection of you!  Tatty, battered and disorganised?  Is that the right impression to give the interview panel? Your portfolio may have got you a core surgical training job, but now is the time to up your game.

Your portfolio is a storage cabinet for all the evidence you need to provide in the interview and to provide proof for anything you say in the interview.  Therefore anything that is simply no longer relevant to your career or something you may refer to the interview does not need to be in there.

The interview panel have a brief period of time to look through your portfolio prior to meeting you.  They are looking for specific items of evidence to score you.  Therefore your portfolio needs to be organised, structured and well presented.  It needs to be covered in sign posts to get them to where they need to be and presented in a logical order.

Know your portfolio inside out.  You may be asked ‘can you just show me a work based assessment for performing a dynamic hip screw?’  In this scenario you need to be able to flip straight to the relevant page without wasting time.

What you need to do:

Step 1: The ring binder

There are many options there, it should be A4 sized.  I prefer a four arched ring binder like this.  This holds your paperwork securely.  The last thing you want is for someone to pick up your portfolio and a sea of paperwork falls out over the desk!  If this happens your interviewer will be busy picking them all up rather than getting down to business and assessing your hard work.

Colour: Its personal choice.  Bland and boring black blends in nicely.  White ends up grubby from sitting on a dirty train to Elland Road.

Step 2: Plastic wallets

Shiny or dull? Thick or think? It doesn’t matter, just make sure sheets of A4 paper go inside them.  Personally I print everything double sided to optimise the space and reduce the weight of the portfolio.

Step 3: Dividers

This is actually a rather important part of your portfolio.  You need to insure that they are of good quality so they don’t get pulled out when someone is using them to turn the large volumes of paper over.

The most important thing is that they stick out beyond the plastic wallets, otherwise they are useless as you cannot see them.

Step 4: Cover page

If you are able to place a cover page on the front of your portfolio it helps to just show you have put some time and effort into the presentation.  Keep it simple, name, professional qualifications, specialty and maybe the date.

Step 5: Contents

This is where you can start to shine and show how super organised you are.  Initially keep it simple and simply just list what can be found in each of the sections of your portfolio.  Sub-contents pages can then be included at the start of each section so its clear where to find things.

Its down to personal preference how you organise your portfolio.  Spend some time thinking about this.  I have mine in the following order:

  1. CV & log book
  2. Workplace Assesments
  3. Research
  4. Publications
  5. Presentations
  6. Audit
  7. Leadership / Education & Teaching
  8. Prizes, awards, certificates
  9. Thankyou letters & compliments

Step 6: Sub Contents

Make sub contents sections to direct the interview panel to where exactly you have located the information within each section of your portfolio.

Step 7: Get it all together

Start months before the interview day.  Its surprising just how long it takes to get all of your evidence in one place and then put it into an order you are happy with and file it.

Step 7: All done

No! You will need to keep on fiddling with it over several weeks.  The more consultants and registrars you show it to the more feedback you will get to improve it!

Step 8: Questions

The final step is to prepare yourself for questions for interview day. Join our question bank now for instant access to questions similar to those which may appear during the st3 ortho interview!

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