How to Apply for Jobs in the UK

As discussed in my post Training in the UK, after you take your PLAB 2 exam, it is best to apply for a non-training post until you find a training job in the UK. This article only talks about applying for Non-Training posts. If you want information about applying for training posts, Dr. Omar Alam published a post here.


Job Opportunities

The UK is seriously short of doctors. There are more jobs and fewer doctors. So you will find a job of your interest very easily. If you wait for a few weeks or months, you can also find a job of your interest in your preferred city as well. At any time, there are 100-200 jobs available from each speciality. You should apply for all of the 100-200 jobs.25-50 of them will give you interview calls. You should attend all interviews. 2-10 of them might offer you the job. Once you start getting job offers, that is when you should weigh your options.


How the Process Works

NHS Trusts advertise their non-training posts at the NHS Jobs website. Job applicants can register themselves at the website and apply for jobs online. This allows candidates to access all of the UK’s job openings on a single platform. The applicants do not have to visit each hospital and drop their CV individually at each hospital in person.

Trusts place job advertisements on the NHS Jobs website for around 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, the Trusts get back to applicants with either a positive response, asking them to choose an interview date or the Trust might politely decline.

Since Trusts mostly respond after the job advertisement is taken off, you might have to wait a bit before you start getting responses for your applications. It also depends on when you apply for a job. For example, if you apply for a job on the 27th day of the job being advertised, you might get a response in a day or two. If you apply for a job on the first day of the job being advertised, you might have to wait for a month to get a response. Bottomline is, be mentally prepare to wait for a while to get responses.


Eligibility Criteria

Can Apply for Jobs Acceptable Sitution Ideal Situation
PLAB 2 result pending PLAB 2 passed PLAB 2 passed
GMC registration in process Full GMC registration


When to Apply?

Yes, you can begin applying for jobs as soon as you take your PLAB 2 exam, even before your result comes out. Most hospitals will allow you to apply this early. However, a few of them will not.


Why Apply So Early?

There is a benefit to applying for jobs this early. As explained above, the hospital might take weeks before responding to your job application. Since you will be in the UK for a short time, it is best to begin your process for job applications as early as possible.


Perfect Time for Applying?

It’s best to start applying before you result comes out, in such a way that you interviews begin immediately after your result comes out.


How to Apply

There are two ways of applying for jobs.

1. Apply Through Agencies
You can very easily find agencies, who would be willing to apply for jobs on your behalf.

2. Apply Yourself
You can very easily apply yourself through the NHS Jobs website.

Dr. Omar Alam, has mentioned Pros and Cons of applying yourself and of applying through agencies in his post here. I agree with Dr. Alam’s opinion that applying yourself is easier and better.


Applying Through Agencies

You can easily find these agencies at your PLAB 2 teaching academies, on Facebook or through your friends. They apply on your behalf. Since I did not take this route and Dr. Omar Alam has already written in detail about the subject here, I won’t go into the details.


Applying Yourself

  1. Register yourself on the NHS Jobs website here.
  2. Once you’re registered, go to the My NHS Jobs section and click on My Profile. The My Profile section is very detailed and it will take you a few hours to fill it completely.
  3. Once you’ve filled the form, go to the Search Jobs section.
  4. Go to the “Keywords or Job References” box and type one of the following:
    Foundation Year 2 (FY2)
    Senior House Officer (SHO)
    Core Training 1 (CT1)
    Core Training 2 (CT2)
    Specialty Training 1 (ST1)
    Specialty Training (ST2)
    Clinical Fellow (CF)
    Junior Clinical Fellow (JCF)
    Senior Clinical Fellow (SCF)
    Junior Doctor
    Trust Grade Doctor
    It might confuse you seeing FY, CT and ST posts among non-training jobs. These jobs arise when a hospital needs FY, CT or ST Doctors, but it is not possible for them to recruit training doctors. So they hire non-training doctors for the same posts. Working at these jobs will not count towards your training experience. However, the job description and the salary is the same as training jobs. Learn more about the grades of doctors here.
  5. Leave all other boxes blank and hit the search button.
  6. A new page will open with a list of jobs.
  7. Go to the right top section and sort these jobs by the “Date posted (latest first)”.
  8. A new page will open, with the same list, but organised according to the date posted.
  9. Since you need to find the oldest post, go to the bottom of the page. Here, you will a list of page numbers starting from 1, 2, 3 and so on. Click on the final page.
  10. The final page of the list will open up. Start scanning through the list to find job advertisements that interest you.
  11. Click on a job that interests you. A new page will open. You’ll go through your NHS Profile once again before you submit it to your possible future employer.
  12. Apply for as many jobs as you can.


Choosing Jobs

This depends on you. First, apply for the speciality which interests you. When there are no more jobs left, apply for jobs of closely related speciality. Lastly, if you feel you haven’t applied for enough jobs, you can apply for other jobs as well.


Depending on when you apply for jobs, you will start receiving interview invitations via email in a few days or weeks. You can find my interview experiences here. My friend, Dr. Omar Alam, has also shared his interview experiences in detail here.



The job opportunities are endless in the UK at the moment. You will easily find a job you like.


Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I start applying for jobs?

This is also a personal decision. I started applying a day after I passed my PLAB 2. But a lot of my friends had started applying before the passed PLAB 2. Make sure that the interview date does not fall before your PLAB 2 result and you will be fine.

2. What grade of job should I search for?

You should apply for the grade that is relevant to your experience. You can learn more about the grades of doctors here.

147 thoughts on “How to Apply for Jobs in the UK

  1. Hello,
    Could you please help me with this one? How long am I required to take a non training job before starting off my training?

    1. There are no limits. But it is ideal to spend two years to learn the system.

  2. Your blog is very enlightening. Its been a great help to a lot of students. I just had a doubt about securing non training jobs in FY2. When do you start applying for a job, immediately after PLAB2 or after your GMC registration is done?
    Is it difficult for south-east asian to secure a job or equal opportunities are granted to all qualified people?

    1. Immediately after PLAB 2.

      Equal opportunities are granted to all. You’ll never be judged on your background anywhere in the UK.

      All the best! 🙂

  3. I’ve heard that non training jobs don’t contribute to career progression. So how do I get a training job for FY2 there. Also can I go for CT1(training) after one year of FY2(non-training)?

  4. How much time does it take for them to respond to us after the closing date of the job.. for example a job closes tomorrow on the nhs website.. how much more time do u think I need to wait till I receive my first email from them?

  5. If I do Plab then MRCP from the UK and become a specialist will I still be regarded as a specialist if I come back to Pakistan. Because here you need an FRCP degree to be regarded as a specialist.

  6. Can we use oet grades instead of ielts academic ( if our ielts score below 7.5) while job hunting in uk

  7. Dr.Nasser,
    I have completed 1year of Internship with medicine and surgery 6 months each. And worked as an A&E doctor for 7 months. I quit the job and came to the UK to join with my family.However, I m planing to do Plab 1 next March and there’s will be a career gap of 1 year when I apply for jobs. Will it be a problem? Please advice.
    Thank you

    1. You might have to provide some documents. But people with longer gaps have made it. So will you. 🙂

  8. Can we use oet grades instead of ielts academic ( if our ielts score below 7.5) while job hunting in uk
    kindly please reply

  9. Sir,
    Under requirements, the following statement is mentioned: “Minimum of 6 months paid experience in an NHS Trust within the last 2 years”. Does this mean I cannot apply for the job as an IMG after GMC Certification ?

  10. Dear Dr. Naseer,

    Would it possible to directly apply for CT1 after clearing PLAB 1 and 2?
    I’ve done a full year of internship post MBBS, followed by a job as an RMO at a corporate hospital for 8 months. Do I still need the FY1 and 2 years to start my Core Training ? Im particularly interested in pursuing psychiatry.
    Also, do you feel an MSC at kings college London, in neuropsychiatry would be helpful in any way ?

    Thank you for you time !
    Kind Regards,
    Dr. Arman Talwar .

    1. Dear Dr. Talwar,

      Thank you for your comment!

      I feel it is best to start as a non-trainee to learn the system before starting your training in the NHS. Yes, you can start as a non-training CT1 doctor.

      MSc is a non-clinical course and will be very expensive. If you can afford to take time and money out for it, go for it. But most people enter psychiatry training without going through MSc.

      All the best! 🙂

  11. Hi doc , in the references section in NHS profile , what if i dont have references? they won’t offer me a job ??

    1. You will need references to get your application processed. Most people are able to find referees.

      1. but we dont have close realtionships with our consultants in my country … and a consultant supervise like 20 juniors .. that would be very difficultt

  12. Dr naseer ,
    sir Did you have your foundation competencies singed by a consultant from your home country before you applied for your first uk job ?

  13. Can the refrees be some of My colleagues ?
    How will they know if they were my superiors or not ?

    1. I am not sure about this. But there is guidance about this subject on the NHS Jobs website. You can also check Facebook groups. This has been discussed on the groups before. I am sorry for not being more helpful with this.

  14. Do you need to get your foundation competencies signed by your home country consultant before applying for a non training job ?

  15. Hi! I don’t have any published research or electives experience sadly… Would these issue cause a problem for me while applying for jobs?

    1. No, there will be no issues. Most people do not have research or electives while applying for their first job. You’ll find a job easily. All the best! 🙂

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