Being successful in the residency match process as an International Medical Graduate will require you to use some key skills. Maybe you already have these skills or maybe you will have to develop them.


These include the ability to:

  • make a strategic plan
  • build key relationships
  • push through external resistance
  • overcome internal resistance like self-doubt and imposter syndrome


However, no skill is more important than self-advocacy. Self-advocacy is the ability to stand up for yourself and the things that are important to you.


To be a self-advocate, you need to:

  1. Constantly “look inside yourself” and become clear about what you want for yourself
  2. Develop and carry out a plan to help you get the vision you have for yourself
  3. Push through any internal or external obstacle until you get to what you want

This may sound like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be! Take small steps.


To help you become a better self-advocate during your match journey, you need to ask yourself one question every day: “How did I advocate for myself today?”

Since matching as an IMG will require that you become a staunch self-advocate , asking yourself these seven words,  “How did I advocate for myself today?”, will change the trajectory of your life. 

So, how did you advocate for yourself today?

  • Did you sit and decide why you are going to match no matter what (or are you still “okay” with the idea of not matching)?
  • Did you create a calendar for the week with protected times for studying and working on your application (or are you still prioritizing other people’s priorities)?
  • Did you seek help for your USMLE prep or did you keep struggling on your own?
  • Did you neglect to reschedule your Step date even though you’re not scoring how you want to, and you can feel you are not prepared?
  • Did you stick to your work schedule for your application or did you allow yourself to be distracted?
  • Did you ask a colleague who matched into a program you like to chat with you for 15 minutes, or are you still wondering from afar how they got in because you don’t want to bother them?
  • Did you guide the person writing your Letter of Recommendation, or are you just hoping they give you an excellent letter?
  • Did you seek help with putting together your personal statement and CV, or did you keep struggling with them alone?
  • Did you send your programs Thank You notes in which you subtly addressed a question you fumbled on during the interview, or did you just give up on amending your mistake?


Asking yourself, “How did I advocate for myself today? at the end of every day will force you to re-evaluate your daily performance as it relates to your goal of matching. 

Asking this question also allows you to see how you can advocate for yourself tomorrow and make good use of new opportunities to do better!

Tell us in the comments, how did you advocate for yourself today?