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Competition ratios

Clinical radiology is a very rewarding career but getting a training post is competitive.

Key statistics from 2023:

  • There were 3068 applications for 350 ST1 training posts in England, Scotland & Wales.
  • There were on average 8.77 applications to every 1 post.

Click here for more information including statistics from previous years

What is a radiologist?

Overview on what a radiologist is and what they do

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Portfolio advice

Creating and keeping an excellent portfolio is essential if you want to have a career in radiology

What is a portfolio?

A portfolio is a record of all your learning, development and achievements.  It is an extension of your CV and should include all of your certificates, feedback, assessments, reflections, presentations, publications and other important documents.  Portfolios are usually kept electronically as an e-portfolio.  E-portfolios allow your assessments to completed and stored online, however you may have some paper certificates and other documents will need to be scanned and upload as JPEGs or PDF files.

At a medical job interview or appraisal you may be asked to present your portfolio to an assessor, typically online, or upload content from your portfolio for review.  The advice and tips below apply to both e-portfolios as well as traditional paper portfolios (folders).

As part of the ST1 Clinical Radiology application process, you will be asked to upload achievements from your portfolio and will score points for certain achievements you have evidenced in your portfolio.

Photo of a Radiology portfolio folder with numbered tabs and binder
Radiology portfolios should look smart. Using numbered numbered tabs and a binder will show that you are organised and care for your work.

Evidence that should be in your portfolio

The following is a list of the evidence that should be in your portfolio.  Items highlighted in bold are the most important for you to concentrate on in preparation for your ST1 Clinical Radiology interview.  If you do not evidence these achievements then you will not be awarded the points you deserve (and need!).

  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)

    • Your CV is a personal statement of your skills, experience and ambitions.  It is your opportunity to showcase yourself to others and is the most important document in your portfolio.  Think of it as a concise summary of your portfolio that relates your activities and achievements to your skills.  Put it at the begining.  See improve your CV for general advice, recommendations and layout tips for your CV.
  • Medical degree / GMC certificate

  • Other degrees / Exams / Post-graduate qualification certificates

    • If you have completed other degrees or qualifications (e.g. BSc, BMedSci, MSc, PhD, MRCP, MRCS, PgCert etc) then bring them in your portfolio as you may gain more points at interview.  Don’t worry if you haven’t – many other candidates will also be without further degrees or qualifications.
  • Publications / Research

    • Any publications should be included here.  Put the most impressive first (whether radiology related or not).  Publications take a long time so the earlier you start the better.
  • Audit / Quality Improvement Projects

    • The ideal audit is a closed-loop audit with national or international presentation/publication.  It does not have to be a radiology audit, however a radiology-based audit shows that you’re interested in radiology and have a certain commitment to the specialty.  It may be a good idea to also keep any handouts or copies of the PowerPoint presentation you gave as well.  Get help on starting a radiology audit project.
  • Teaching

    • The gold standard is to show you’ve arranged, prepared and delivered teaching and obtained feedback and reflected on your teaching.  Delivering courses or teaching at national level is best, however if this isn’t possible then try to organise teaching sessions locally.  The best kind of teaching is when you deliver it, get feedback, then improve your teaching based on your feedback and repeat (similar to an audit!).  Organising teaching takes a lot of preparation, however it can be very rewarding and gives you something to talk about at interview.It’s important to note that you are not expected to have given radiology teaching.  Radiology trainees often do not verify their own reports until approximately 1 year into training and CT/MRI scans are all double checked until trainees complete their FRCR exams and are signed off as independent reporters.  Eyebrows will be raised  at interview if you claim to have taught chest x-rays to colleagues, for example, as the consultants interviewing you will know that you do not have the experience to do this in a meaningful way.

      Any feedback from teaching should be added to your portfolio.  I would seriously recommend collating or summarising any feedback forms before adding to your portfolio.  This will look much better than lots of individual forms in your portfolio.  If you have any great ideas for teaching on a national level, please do contact us if you would like advice or assistance.

  • Course / Conference certificates

    • Certificates of attendance are ok and show commitment to the specialty, however presenting your audits or research at conferences is great.  Include copies of any handouts, PowerPoint presentations and posters.
  • Taster day evaluation / sign off

    • This is essential.  You must have a letter of proof to confirm you did a taster week.  Talk to the local radiology department to arrange this.  During the taster week you should aim to see as many different aspects of radiology as possible and ask lots of questions.  In some trusts it may be difficult to arrange a taster week, however you should aim to at least spend 5 days within the radiology department (even if the days are spread out over a month, for example).

      Once the taster week is over, consider documenting your experience and reflecting on it.  A reflection of your experience during your taster week looks really good in your portfolio.

  • Reflections

    • Ensure they are anonymous.
  • Multi source feedback summary

    • e.g. Mini PAT, 360 Appraisal, Peer feedback
  • Workplace Based Assessments

    • e.g. CBD, Mini CEX
  • Logbook of procedures

    • e.g. DOPs
  • Extra-curricular achievements / Charity work

Portfolio tips

  1. Make sure your portfolio is easy to navigate

    • Printed
      Anyone should be able to pick up your portfolio and find what they’re looking for within a few seconds.  This means making a contents page and numbered tabs for easy navigation.  The contents of your portfolio should also be arranged in a logical order.  Consider using the order we give above as a guide.  The other advantage to doing this is that it makes your portfolio look professional and excellent.  Remember first impressions are everything and a scruffy portfolio will receive poor feedback from the interviewer, irrespective of whether the content inside is excellent.

    • e-portfolio
      Anyone should be able to find your work immediately. It should be named in a logical way to allow for easy navigation. I would suggest using the year then month followed by the name of the item as an easy way to start e.g. ‘2023-04 OSCE teaching feedback.pdf’ .  Avoid random file names or folder structures in your portfolio.
  2. Ensure your portfolio is accurate

    • Check and double check the dates and details of any placements, rotations, presentations, courses, certificates, exams etc.  A single wrong date or an unexplained ‘gap’ in your training is surprisingly easy to spot and makes you look disorganised – a major negative at any interview or appraisal.
  3. Make sure your portfolio relates your activities and achievements to your skills/attitudes/knowledge

    • This is actually simpler than it sounds.  Basically, if you cannot show that something you’ve done has improved your skills, attitudes or knowledge then don’t include it in your portfolio.  Work based assessments, observed procedures and team assessments of behaviour are excellent pieces of evidence to include in your portfolio as they show a change in skills, attitudes or knowledge.
  4. Read and follow any portfolio guidelines given

    • This goes without saying, but if you are required to produce a portfolio (e.g. for an ST1 radiology job application/interview), check to see if there are any guidelines or rules on what to include.  Some job applications may have specific rules regarding the layout, ordering and content of portfolios.  It is essential that you follow these!
  5. Be concise

    • Avoid writing anything that uses a lot of words without giving any useful information.  Using bullet points is a very good idea (on the contents page for example).