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I Found My Perfect Physician Job in 6 Steps!

I get asked a lot to talk about my process of finding my job. Usually this is because I tell people that I have found my perfect physician job.

(Check out the video at the end of the post for a presentation I recently gave to graduating residents and fellows on finding the perfect physician job.)

It sounds like a bold thing to say for someone who is only 6 months on the job after graduating training. And that is a lot of the criticism I get when I talk about this. But, what can I say? I really believe it’s true.

And even more so, I feel a passion for helping others find their perfect job as well. This is true for trainees that are just graduating and looking for their first physician job. It’s also true to those unhappy in their current situation looking for a new job.

I feel this passion because I think that, as a field, physicians go about finding a job in a completely backwards fashion

I began my job search in this backward fashion. And it felt really not good (awesome sentence right there by the way…my college English professor would be so proud).

The first step in my backwards physician job search was to look for a job to fit into. I was looking for what was out there and seeing what I could fit into best. I did this because that is what everyone does.

This doesn’t make sense!

I spent years and years going into debt for my education because I want to help people. I trained for 7 years after medical school, sacrificing much in this pursuit. And I loved just about every second.

But why, after all of this, would I just look for the jobs that are out there and squeeze myself into what I (or more likely others) perceived to be the best one?!

It’s absolutely crazy.

So, I started looking for the physician job that best fit me. Rather than the job that I fit into the best!

Put simply, I started looking for the perfect job instead of just a job.

Once I came out on the other side of my job search with that perfect job, I looked back at how I did it.

I really didn’t have much of a guide since the traditional advice I received just touted the traditional approach: look for the jobs out there and try to fit into one.

So I reflected back with a goal of helping others to follow in the same path. Finding a job you love will increase your well-being. It will also help your finances. It will reduce burnout. You will be a better doctor.

That’s why I’m so passionate about this! And that’s also why finding your perfect job is an entire module in my course, Graduating to Success!

I distilled down this process of finding the perfect physician job to 6 steps.

While the course goes more into detail and includes spreadsheets, worksheets, and personalized coaching to find your perfect job among many other topics and modules, I would like to share the 6 steps with you here!

(I also recently gave a presentation to graduating residents and fellows on this topic. You can find the recording of this presentation at the end of the post.)

The 6 steps to find your perfect physician job

physician job
Getting to work finding the perfect job like…

Step 1: Create your ideal job

You can’t look for your perfect job without knowing ahead of time what your perfect job is.

So, imagine your perfect job. Write down all of its attributes. Don’t worry about how feasible it is, just create your perfect job in your head and translate it to paper.

Step 2: Look for jobs

This seems so obvious. But I realized when I started my job search that I had no idea where to look. Many people are in the same situation.

So, I recommend “looking” in 3 places:

  1. Your professional society’s job board(s)
  2. The search company Indeed (I was surprised how many real doctor jobs are advertised here and no where else)
  3. Cold calls/e-mails

By far the most productive of these methods is cold calls and emails. There are so many unadvertised jobs out there that go unfilled or filled by those less qualified than you.

In my course, I’ll give you access to my own cold e-mail template and specific guidance for this process.

Step 3: Decide which job is right for you

This step occurs after you have interviewed at a number of opportunities identified in Step 2. Now you need a system to help organize your thoughts about them in beginning to pick the best one for you.

I recommend creating an Excel “grading sheet” with all attributes of your   ideal job. The columns of the Excel should be the attributes of your ideal job and each row is a job opportunity.

Then, grade each job opportunity based on each attribute using this Excel sheet. This is exactly what I did and, once again, you can find my template grading sheet as part of my course.

Step 4: Know your value

I’ve spoken a lot about how important this is. I used 4 methods to determine my value and discuss them in depth here.

Step 5: Contract negotiation

Once you have narrowed your search to one or two job opportunities and know your value, you need to negotiate the best contract.

I won’t go in depth here as I have discussed this a bunch in this post among others.

Step 6: The most important step

If you have a partner, this process and decision-making needs to happen in a joint fashion.

If you end up at your perfect job but your partner is miserable, neither of you will be happy.

This is just another important component of making sure you and your partner are on the same page, financially and otherwise. More on that here.

A quick note

I will also note that for some physicians, a traditional clinical job will not be for you. And that’s ok!

Here is a comprehensive list of physician side gigs for those of you in this boat!

Now go and find your perfect physician job!

I really hope that you found this helpful! You have worked so hard in becoming a doctor and deserve to be happy at your job. If you are not, why not make a shift in mindset and change?! If this is your first time looking for a job, why not hit it out of the park?!

(Note: If you are reading this in the COVID era, you may be concerned about possible physician hiring freezes. I discuss that and specific strategies for navigating this here.)

If you are interested in learning more about finding your perfect job, attaining financial freedom, and transitioning successfully to being an attending, learn more about my flagship course here!

physician job

Lastly, if you would like to download the presentation I recently gave at the Resident’s and Fellow’s Symposium for The Aesthetic Society on the topic of “My Thought Process Going into Practice,” follow the prompt below! (The easiest way to share a file this size is via email. You can unsubscribe to my newsletter anytime!)

[download_after_email id=”947″]

What do you think? How did you look for your job? Did you find your perfect physician job? Are you looking for a change? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!

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    The Prudent Plastic Surgeon

    Jordan Frey MD, a plastic surgeon in Buffalo, NY, is one of the fastest-growing physician finance bloggers in the world. See how he went from financially clueless to increasing his net worth by $1M in 1 year and how you can do the same! Feel free to send Jordan a message at [email protected]