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. On average it is 40-hours per week.

      In the beginning of your career in the U.K., at a non-training job, you would be earning £1900/month without nights and £2700/month with nights.

      Night shift is a 12-hour shift in the U.K.

      £1900/month is more than enough for a single person and just enough for a couple.

      £2700/month would be more than enough for a couple.

      This pay is after tax-deduction.

  1. Hello Naseer, Sirpi here. I’ve been reading your blog and it’s been very helpful. I’m still waiting for my PLAB 2 results but I registered myself on NHS Jobs website today like you suggested in your blog and searched for ‘SHO, FY2, Trust Grade, Junior Doctor’ jobs in Emergency Medicine. The search threw up only about 4 or 5 jobs. 😱

    I was thinking that A&E has huge numbers of vacancies and there should be plenty of SHO rank jobs available. I don’t understand. Am I doing something wrong? 😢

    1. A&E does have a large number of jobs available at all times. So this is surprising. When I search for jobs, I only write the title of the post and not the specialty. And then I skim through to find posts relating to my interest. I would advise you to keep searching and keep applying for more jobs. I’m sure you will find a job that you are looking for. Best of luck! 🙂

      1. Thanks again for your reply!

        I’ve been talking to a few A&E consultants and I realise that the vacancies are more middle grade (ST 4-5 levels) and at Consultant levels. Not many vacancies lower down, at FY2 or ST1 levels. This is because most doctors leave their training around 3rd or 4th years, or finish their training and go to Australia or NZ to be a Consultant! Hence the vacancies at the top and not so much at the bottom.

        But thanks for your suggestions and encouragement. I’ll keep looking for jobs 😊👍

  2. Is sho job for 2 years with MRCPS 1, 2 and PACES passed be allowed to apply for S3 3 post? Or is preferred we do CT 1 & 2 before.

    1. If you get your CT competencies signed, then yes it is possible. But, of course, someone who has completed their CT will get preference and will feel more comfortable during their ST3 training, because of past experience of training.

  3. Thank you so much for this post. However I need some clarifications. On filling the profile page of the NHS job website I discovered there were spaces I couldn’t fill, for example. UK insurance number and home adress as I am not resident in the UK presently. Pls what should I do? Thanks.

  4. Hello, thank you for the great work you are doing. Pls i want to ask, How easy is it to get a NHS job without any prior UK experience. I have heard people say all sorts that it’s pretty difficult without any previous UK experience and that the NES is the easily available offer. Thank you.

  5. Ur doing a great job here thanx!can u pls tell me wt do they mean by substantive contract ?

  6. Can you tell me about medical training initiative as i have finished Mrcp 1,2 but not finished paces yet…
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I don’t know a lot about it. But from what I know, it’s a programme, through which you can complete 2 years of your home country’s training in the UK.

      Checking their website or writing to them might provide you with more information:

  7. After the job applications close, how long will it take for them to contact you with a yes or no. I have applied for a couple jobs now, and all the applications have closed, and I haven’t been contacted by any of them yet (been 5 or 6 days).

  8. Nasser, as i understand to apply for core training i need to get certain competencies signed for f2 equivalence. I have two questions.

    1) I have worked with my father in his private practice for 3 years. Can he sign off my competencies? I am asking since he is not practising in UK and it is a private clinic.
    2) If it is required to be filled by a uk physician, does the form need to be completed before application or can it be shown during the interview, since these posts are to begin in august of the next year.

    Thank you and keep up the good work.

    1. 1. Foreign consultants can sign it. I’m not sure if your father can sign it or not. You can email the JRCPTB to confirm this.

      2. It has to be submitted with the application in Feb/Mar.

  9. Dr Naseer,
    Thanks for the great help via your blog.
    Could you please tell me if you were working in your home country during the time span after your internship ended? If not, what reason did you give for you career gap?

    I havent had any clinical experience since 2014. Im reluctant to apply for jobs since I feel Im unprepared for the interviews and I might not find a job because of such a long career gap.

    Moreover, Im 13weeks pregnant. Do you think this could become an issue with me finding a job?

    Please guide. Thanks xx

    1. Hello,

      I was always employed. I was not unemployed even for a single day in Pakistan. But everyone has a different case.

      There’s no harm in applying for the interviews. You have to take a start from somewhere. So why not start applying now? 🙂

      I’m not sure if being pregnant would affect your chances of finding a job.

  10. Hello,
    Thank you so much for all the information you have provided.
    I would like to know about the work visa procedure and cost after getting accepted to work in UK in a non training post. Also the processing time it took for you. Will they sponsor us the visa? Thank you

    1. I have not been through this route yet. But once I do go through it, I will write about it in detail. Your UK employer will issue you a Certificate of Sponsorship for your Tier 2 (General) visa, which is basically your work visa.

  11. I have 2 years experience in internal medicine post graduation (1 year internship not included)
    what is the kind of job should I apply for?
    CT1 or SHO ??
    what is the difference between clinical fellow and CT1
    I’m confused by all these names and can’t find the appropriate job in my case !

  12. Very helpful post. I’m currently not in the UK. Do you think this will affect my chances of getting a job negatively. Would it be a better idea to apply for jobs while in the UK? Cos I fear my application may not be considered if I’m abroad.

    1. This will have no impact on your job applications. The only downside will be that a few (but not many) employers will ask you to be present in-person for your interviews. But most employers do accept Skype interviews.

  13. Thanks for the post. I want to ultimately specialize in ENT and am a little confused about which jobs to apply for after my Plab 2. Any suggestions?

    1. You should apply for ENT jobs then. But be careful that you might not be eligible for ENT training if you’ve worked for more than 18 months in ENT. You should check this rule yourself. I’m not sure if it exists for ENT. It does exists for other specialties.

      1. ” be careful that you might not be eligible for ENT training if you’ve worked for more than 18 months in ENT” hi sir, can you explain this i dont get that, i am interested in EM and i am working in my home country in EM for 2 years for now planned to take plab and enter UK for training program what should be my path?
        and one more question is there any advantage if i take PLAB+FRCEM primary before entering UK?

        thanks in advance.

      2. Please check person specifications of your preferred training online. I don’t know much about FRCEM. I am sorry!

  14. i have been working since 24months in gynae and obs in my home country as a medical officer..can i enter the training program?

    1. As far as I know, if you’ve been working for more than 18 months in OBGYN, you’re not eligible to apply for its training. You should confirm this from the official sources.

  15. Very helpful post. Thank you.
    I am in the process of filling the NHS jobs ‘My profile’ section and wanted to ask what should we select under the type of form? there are a few options e.g medical and dental form, standard form, CV application etc. what should i do?

    1. Ummm … I don’t remember what I chose. I just went back and checked. I can’t see that option. But I think I would’ve chosen “CV application”.

  16. can we apply for fy1 directly before doing our house job here in pakistan …and if this will that too require plab 1 and 2 ?

  17. so isnt it a better option to do plab and go directly for fy1 rather than doing housejob here and then doing plab ….i mean is there some problem with that like is it tough to get fy1 or something like that ….!

  18. hello!
    dr naseer while filling application form what do we answer for these questions? (in case of a person who ha recently cleared plab 2 and only done housejon and GMC registeration done)

    1) Do you have current Section 12 (Mental Health Act England and Wales) Approval for working in this NHS region? yes/no
    2)Are you currently registered in this employer’s region as a ‘Responsible Clinician’? yes/no

  19. Hi Naseer. Very informative post!
    I wanted to know about the visa application process for these jobs. Do you apply for a work visa before applying for the job or does the hospital sponsor you to get a work visa?

  20. Hello Naseer 🙂
    A quick one; in regards to the search for a non-training post, is it appropriate to apply for posts at the level of CT or ST considering that my clinical experience is only FY1 equivalent? Would jobs at those levels allow me to fulfil the FY2 competencies?I don’t want to set myself up for something above my capabilities and experience.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Yes, that is completely okay. If truth be told, the nature of the job at non-training FY2 and CT1 level is exactly the same. Once you join, no one even knows if you are FY2 or CT1. Everyone is expected to perform the same job. So it does not matter. 🙂

    1. Things would be the same for an MRCS holder. The only difference is that finding surgical training jobs is comparatively a lot more difficult than finding training jobs in medicine.

  21. hey Naseer, good job! I wish I had found your blog earlier!

    I have a question for you. Is IELTS required to apply for jobs?

    1. IELTS is not required to apply for non-training jobs. IELTS is required to apply for Core Medical Training, though.

      Thank you for your kind words! And thank you for visiting the blog! 😊

      1. Thank you for clearing that. It would be very helpful if you can write a post on GP training – when and how to apply and so on.
        Thanks in advance!

  22. Hi Naseer,
    I had a question regarding which would be a better job opportunity if you have any information about it. I got offered an FY2 post at the great Western hospital in swindon in acute med and orthopaedics. I have a second one in Eastbourne, part of the East Sussex trust and my rotations will include GP, A&E and Ophthalmology. For further training I hope to get into GP. Do you have any information on the two hospitals? I know great western is a bigger hopsital than Eastbourne but in terms of living I belive Eastbourne is a nicer place. I’m in a bit of a dilemma as I do not have much time to choose.

    Thank you for all your help through this blog.

    1. Hello,

      I also plan on applying for GP training myself.

      Anyhow, these rotations look more or less the same at both hospitals.

      I’m sorry, I don’t know these hospitals. However, this website might help you,

      You can also post this query on Facebook to get reviews from others. You might find someone working at these places.

      Best of luck! 🙂

  23. Hello Naseer! Thanks for this great post.
    Could you please clarify something for me. I still don’t understand whether there’s an order we should follow when applying for non-training posts. I thought that we should first apply for FY2, then CT and after that ST. From the info in your post I assume that we don’t have to complete FY2 program to apply for CT posts. Is FY2 equivalent required to apply for CT posts?

  24. Hello, I’d like to know how hard is it to get a training job? Is it rare of hard to get? Is it possible for an IMG to get a training position as soon as she gets to UK? Also, I’d like your advise on experience. Would you say it is important work in home country for a while before applying or should I directly take PLAB tests to apply for a job in UK?
    Thank you

    1. Training-availability depends on which specialty you wish to pursue. The following link might help:

      Our first post in the UK is usually a non-training post. We find training within a year or so. The following link might help:

      As long as the internship has been completed, we can start looking for jobs in the UK. The following link might help:

  25. is it possible or inadvisable to leave the uk and apply for jobs online (and interviews via skype) to return home? i have a kid i cannot leave behind. also what kind of visa for spouse and family is or is not allowed because this will determine whether i continue applying or not?

    1. 1. It is completely possible and a lot of people do take this route.

      2. Tier 2 general migrant dependent visa is available for spouse and children. So your family can travel with you.

  26. sir plz tell me is it impossible to start job there without house job in pakistan…..or is there any chance that i could enter FY1 directly…thank you….

    1. It is very difficult for non-national IMGs to find FY1 training. FY1 non-training can be found. I am not sure if you can get full GMC registration based on non-training FY 1 and FY2. It would be best to check official websites and Facebook groups for this. Good luck! 🙂

  27. Is there any validity period after get full GMC registration ?? How much time i can wait for search a job ?

    1. After GMC registration we are supposed to submit annual appraisals. Appraisals check if we are currently in practice and fit to practice. Please search about them on Google and read about them.

      Without a job, it is almost impossible to get appraisals signed.

      So there is no point in getting GMC registration and not working.

      Because even when you start your job hunt, it’ll still take you 3 to 5 months before you can start working.

  28. Hello,
    I have a query.i have 3 years experience in Pakistan as an RMO.I wish to pursue my career as a GP.Now should i go for applying non training jobs initially or should i get fy2 competency signed by my consultant and enter directly into GP training.what is most recommended?

  29. Dr.Naseer i am going to apply for plab 1 in march and hopefully for plab 2 in june but i read on the fy1 and fy2 site that the deadline for applying for fy2 is in may
    can i apply for non training fy2 in june or july or must i wait a whole year (next may) in order to be able to apply
    Thank you for you kind response

    1. 1. PLAB 2 is being booked 4-6 months in advance. So if you pass PLAB 1 in April, you’ll find PLAB 2 around August to October.

      2. You can always go for non-training FY2.

      3. From what I know, training FY2 can open any time. But I can be wrong. It would be best to post this on the Facebook groups. But keep in mind that finding any training FY slot is not easy.

  30. I have a question now im applying for jobs ,ive recieved eligibilty email for registration…but id check is due applying for jobs and some jobs say du have gmc registration..i clicked no.. they stopped my application what shud i do

    1. Most employers will still let you apply for jobs. Only a few (mainly from) London, will not.

      People in this situation do say that they have GMC registration. But I feel it’s best to be honest.

  31. Hello Naseer,
    I have question regarding tier 2 visa for non- training job as FY2. I have completed my internship back home about 6 years ago & came to the uk about 5 years ago. I have recently passed the PLAB examination. Now I have visa issue and if I need to apply for tier 2 visa I have to go back home and apply for the entry clearance.
    as per April 2017 immigration update,Can I come to the UK with a FY2 equivalent non-training job ? If I can how much minimum salary I need to have for my post?can I get a fy2 competency from Uk hospital doing a non-training job? how long I’ll have to work to get a FY2 competency ?
    Please advise. Thank you in advance.

    1. 1. From what I know, you don’t have to go back to the home country to apply for Tier 2 Migrant visa if you already are on Tier 2 dependent visa.

      2. You can.

      3. £30,000 per year.

      4. Yes.

      5. Three months.

  32. Dr Naseer i wanted to ask that what did u write in the nhs profile referee section…where it asks can the referee be approached prior to interview ..shud i write yes or no? And when are they contacted

    1. I wrote yes. But you can write no as well. It doesn’t make a difference.

      Some hospitals like to contact the referees even before you’ve confirmed the job offer. So there’s that.

      I now think it’s better to write no, though.

  33. Tell about locum: How many hour doctors are allow to locum job in a week with their permanent job? And is it possible to do locum with a permanent job ?

    1. We are allowed to do 20 hours of Locum per week. But finding time for Locum depends on our rota. Too much Locum work would make anyone tired. I’ve only done one (4-hour) Locum so far. And I only did that as a favor to someone.

  34. What i want to know is that after fy2 or sho post i will have to apply fr core training jobs then speciality training jobs, but how to apply for core training jobs?through nhs site? And if one is not able to get into any core training jobs can he /she continue with the fy2 or sho job? Is there any exam needed to get into ct and speciality training,or it is solely based on your experience step by step. I am very much confused about these things. Will be highly obliged if you can enlighten me regarding these issues.thanx!

  35. Hi Dr Naseer,

    I understand that we can start applying for FY2 jobs after our Plab2 exam (even before our results are out). Just would like to confirm, is GMC registration number required when we apply for jobs? Do we have to complete our GMC ID check first before applying for jobs?

    Thank you for your time.

  36. Hello dr naseer i wanted to ask that i secured a job,signed the contract with the hospital but they havent yet applied for Cos,now i am getting a very much better offer at a better place and pay,and the hospital i am currently appointed at is a small town in the west of england,is it possible that i withdraw my acceptance ,is it really not possible?

  37. I wanted to ask if non training jobs (FY2 equivalent) are available throughout the year or only during November?

  38. Hi
    I was wondering if i don’t have to work in pk (and not have to complete a house job here) and move back to the UK for fy1 training? (I’m a british national too!)

    1. Since you’re a British national, you might be able to find FY1. But it’ll still be less convenient than finding HJ in Pakistan.

      It would be best to check with those who’ve been in your situation.

  39. Hi
    I am about to graduate in an oversea UK medical school and going to do a FY1 programme overseas as well. (I am non EU/UK student, but I think in this case I can exempt the PLAB)

    Let’s say at the end of my training overseas, I obtain the full registration with GMC and start looking for non training posts in the UK, does it mean that after working in different FY2 equivalent non training posts for over 1 year, I will be able to obtain the FY2 equivalent qualification and be eligible to apply for speciality training posts?

    At the same time, are FY2 equivalent non training posts easy to find at the moment?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

  40. Hi Dr Nasser!
    I’d previously completed my HJ back in my home country in 2015 and and had just finished with my master degree. Currently I am unemployed and preparing for Plab 2 in April.

    1) Would this affect my chances to get job in the UK? Since i only had 2 years of clinical experiences (2013-2015) with a long gap.
    2) In terms of referees section in NHS application, how many referees do they need and who would you advise I should put? Do you think my master course leader and research supervisor are acceptable? Since i am unemployed now, and my last clinical post is 3 years back.

    Thank you in advance!

    1. 1. Very slightly. If you start working now, it will not affect your chances at all.
      2. It should be a consultant under whom you have worked. At least two should be fine.

  41. I have been following your Blog for the last couple of months. The help you are offering to the fellow doctors is very appreciable.

  42. Is there any possibility for an IMG to get a training job in Uk, after passing PLAB2?

    1. Yes. All of my friends who applied for training last year found slots (apart from those aiming for surgery).

  43. Hello Dr. I see that you emphasize the difficulty that IMGs have with getting a training job in surgery. What’s the reason for this? Pragmatically, is it impossible to attain this feat. If yes, what are the factors that may enhance this and how can one go about this?

  44. Hi Naseer,
    I am Gautam from India.I got an interview from a Trust for a job for a period of 6 months but it is extendable.I had read that u should accept only those jobs with duration of atleast a year.Can you please give some guidance on this matter?
    Many thanks.Your blog has been of immense help to me.

      1. Thanks Naseer.You had mentioned in your blog that I can search for jobs by typing CT1 in the search bar as well.There were quite a few jobs that emerged which offered a salary of 36000 pounds a year.Do we still apply for these jobs as our fy2 competencies are still not signed?

  45. hello Naseer, can you tell me more about locum jobs, can I can start with a locum job while still applying for CT1? and hospitals that give locum jobs will they give a contract with which you can use to get a tier2 visa?

    1. You can not get a visa for a Locum post. You can do temporary locums of 20 hours per week.

  46. Hello Dr Naseer. Thank you for your very helpful and detailed blog. I accepted a job offer about 3 weeks back but have not received any contact or information about CoS or answers regarding questions since. I recently got another job offer which is something I’m really inclining towards as I wish to specialize in that department. Will I face any problems if I reject the first job offer for the second one?

  47. Hello, i have two questions
    1) Regarding Dr. Omar Alams post for applying to jobs, there are first three points in RED, in which the third point explains getting F2 competency signed if done one year housejob? how is that possible? if one has done only one year house job from Pakistan?
    2) i have almost 5 years experience post housejob in non-clinical health insurance, will that effect my non training-job chances?

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