WRITING YOUR PROFESSIONAL BIOSKETCH
A biosketch is a short, one or two-paragraph summary of YOU. A complete biography includes all aspects of a person's character, life, and achievements, while a biographical sketch is much shorter and more specific. A biosketch should inform the reader about the person, and give them an overall sense of the person's character. Your biosketch will give the reader information about yourself, and can be used as a career development tool.
STEPS IN THE PROCESS:
Warning: this may be one of the hardest tasks that you’ve been asked to tackle recently. Writing a biographical sketch requires polished and developed writing skills, but also focused self–analysis with a professional and effective presentation of that analysis.
Gather information about yourself: the Individualized Learning Plan should help you to identify the elements that you will want to include in your Biosketch.
Building an “effective” presentation of yourself: This short document will represent and
“market” you in a totally honest way. This is your “personal brand” marketing tool that can create a good first impression. It should grab the reader’s attention, make the reader want to know more (and in the case of residency programs, make them want to meet you).
Introduce yourself as though your reader has never met you. Include a) your name; b) your training level (OMS 1, 2, etc.); c) your most recent accomplishments (don’t list them – describe them verbally); d) write in third person perspective because people will describe you via your biosketch language, using that perspective (a good biographical summary will state that “Jane Smith is a third-year student at PNWU” not “I am a thirdyear medical student at PNWU”).
Include your contact information – usually at the end.
Have two or three people read your finished product and ask each of them to summarize verbally the emphasis of your biosketch. Use the feedback to refine your work.
Keep it current: if you wrote a good summary a year ago, check to be sure that it is fresh, and that it still fits with who you are right now.
Be sure to include some of your most meaningful clinical experiences, your reactions to those situations, and how they have helped to define who you are right now.
Use no more than two paragraphs, with no more than six sentences each. Use the answers to your ILP questions as a guide for reflection. You don’t really want to list your weaknesses, but you can acknowledge that you are looking for opportunities to fill in gaps in your training.
Focus on who you are, what you have to offer, how you got to this point in your training, why you are reliable and trustworthy, and the interests that you share with your reader.
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