I Wish I Had Known: Optimizing Your Academic Career

Starting a career in academic medicine can be confusing. Here are some tips for optimizing your career trajectory.

1. Get information about the academic promotions process. Most universities have a set of documentation requirements and it is helpful to collect them early.

2. Seek out a mentor outside of your division. Someone who has reached full professor status and can guide you through the process would be ideal.

3. Update your CV frequently (at least every six months).

4. Keep a log of the lectures you give and administer and likert-scale evaluations for them. The residency program may do this automatically or you can create your own brief evaluation (see below). Keep records of your scores for these lectures and any feedback you receive.

5. Keep a log of all of your mentees and the products of the mentorship relationship (like posters, case reports, or oral presentations).

6. Network with leaders in the field; letters from these dermatologists can be very helpful when applying for promotion.

Example of feedback form:

Date: __________ Speaker:_______________


What did you like best about this speaker?


What would you change about this speaker?


What did you learn today?


1= poor (<10%), 2= fair (11-25%), 3= good (26-75%), 4= excellent (76-90%), 5= outstanding (top 10%)

1 2 3 4 5 N/A
Overall teaching effectiveness