Throughout college, pre-med students get bombarded with advice related to what pre-med courses to take, what extracurriculars to participate in, and how to prepare for the MCAT. Oddly enough, future doctors rarely get advice about the importance of personal branding.
Your personal brand serves as the foundation for optimizing your candidacy as a medical school applicant. Optimizing how you are perceived by an admission committee should be one of the first steps you take as you prepare your application, write essays, and line up interviews.
Get Perceived as a Physician
This guy is not Dr. Steward, but he did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
What is Branding?
With Nike, they’re selling sneakers. But their branding goes beyond what is worn on their customer’s feet. They share stories of successful athletes overcoming boundaries to get the gold. They share motivational content of average citizens doing more than the average. Nike saw that their customers had a need, they established their overall mission with this need in mind, and then worked to connect to their audience emotionally.
Through their branding, they’re now thought of as much more than just a shoe company. Students who take a similar approach to their personal brand are much more likely to get into medical school than a student who does not.
What’s your “just do it” moment? In branding yourself as a future physician, think beyond your main goal. Yes, you want to be a physician, but so does everyone else applying. Think about yourself as Nike did with its brand. What’s your mission? Your brand is your story about what makes you uniquely qualified as a medical student and future physician.
Your story, in turn, is based on your academics, extracurricular activities, and personal experiences.
What Makes Premed Branding Important
Figuring out your brand is critical for two reasons.
Know your brand strategy – If you figure out your brand early enough during your freshman or sophomore year, it will provide strategic guidance on what experiences you should try to explore. For instance, let’s say that you are passionate about mental health. You might want to shadow a psychiatrist, do research on depression, or volunteer for a crisis text hotline. In terms of academics, you may want to major in psychology or some other social science. If you need more help, seek out an admissions advisor. These individuals help students with their strategic planning so they can prepare early for success.
Support your brand with your own features and benefits – When you apply to medical school, your brand will be based on the long-term experiences you have participated in. These experiences will serve as the theme for your AMCAS, AACOMAS, or TMDSAS personal statement. Using the mental health example, your theme could be that you are passionate about becoming a physician because you want to care for patients suffering from mental health issues.
Get Started Building Your Personal Brand
There are several ways to conceptualize your brand. Provided are four examples, based on current and former clients of mine.
Medical specialty – I have clients who have expressed interest in OB/GYN, oncology and orthopedic surgery.
Patient demographics – I have clients who are passionate about caring for underserved immigrants.
Medical issue – I have a client who is passionate about developing medical devices.
Approach to clinical care – I have clients who are passionate about integrating a public health approach as future clinicians.
Becoming a highly competitive medical school applicant is like building a house: you start with the foundation before you work on the other parts like the framework and roof. In this case, your foundation is your brand, so don’t forget to build that first.
Look and Smell Like a Real Doctor
If your medical school application makes you look like and smell like a physician, you may just be ready to become a physician.
Do you need a mentor to help you optimize your pre-med journey? MedSchoolCoach has a team of physician advisors and writing advisors ready to guide you. Schedule a free consultation with a MedSchoolCoach enrollment advisor today!