When I started my physician job search in my last year of training, I was pretty lost. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on how to do this. But they were all over the place. I could not at all find a coherent plan with actionable strategies to find jobs.
So, I created my own. And I think it worked really well. This is what I would like to share with you today.
These strategies will work whether you are looking for your first job out of training or are looking to transition from a current job.
My 3 best strategies for a physician job search
To look for jobs, I used 3 sources.
- Professional job boards
- Cold calls/e-mails
I’ll touch on cold calls/e-mails last because this was what I actually found to be most useful.
Let’s start with the first strategy…
Professional job boards
First, look on your specialty’s professional societies’ web sites.
Usually they will have a job board where prospective employers will post job openings. These may tend to slant more towards academic positions but in my experiences a wide range of opportunities will pop up.
I checked the 2 main professional job boards for plastic surgery on a daily basis to be able to apply to jobs I was interested in right away.
Checking every day can seem compulsive. And maybe it is. But this is your job. You don’t want to miss anything.
Plus, the first time you check there will be a ton of jobs to look through. But after that, at most 1-3 jobs will come up a day, if that. Many days you will look and there will be nothing new. So this is s simple habit that only takes a few minutes a day and can yield huge dividends.
On to the next strategy…
Second, I used the job site, Indeed, to look for jobs.
I never would have imagined looking here. But a colleague told me that he had seen a ton of physician jobs come up on Indeed that were not elsewhere. I checked it out and he was totally right.
I checked this site daily as well.
And now for my #1 best strategy to perform a physician job search…
3. Cold calls/e-mails
Ok, last is cold calls/e-mails.
This is probably the most intimidating method of looking for jobs but is definitely the best. I sent a ton of cold emails and made multiple cold calls.
In fact, found my current job from a cold e-mail.
Here are the steps to being successful with this strategy:
- Come up with a list of places/jobs that you would be interested in and think would be a possible job fit (they do not need to be advertised openings). Ask mentors, colleagues, friends in your specialty if they know of any places that they think could be a good fit for you.
- Research appropriate email addresses or phone numbers to contact these opportunities. You may find them from mutual colleagues or friends, from email addresses on published manuscripts, or from their websites.
- Send a friendly but to the point email introducing yourself, your interest in their practice, and why you feel like you would be a good fit to join them. Attach your CV. Leave direct contact information. If you are calling, write something covering the same points to use as a general guide, don’t read from a script!
- Keep a list of the opportunities that you have contacted. Note if they respond or not. Those that do not respond, try contacting again in 1-3 weeks. The job that I took didn’t respond at first when I emailed them because it mistakenly was marked as junk mail! It took a call.
This can feel intimidating
In fact, I am very introverted and not necessarily comfortable doing this on first thought. I was telling myself a story about why this would not work. But I flipped my limiting belief (more on limiting beliefs here)…why wouldn’t they want to consider me?
And the worst they can say is no, that’s not too bad.
In fact, when done appropriately, I think it is appreciated when an interested candidate reaches out. I can guarantee that not everyone is doing this and you will surely identify opportunities that others miss.
I even used a template for the cold emails that I sent out. Tailor one to your situation and as much as possible, try to make them personal if you have a prior relationship with those you are contacting.
Make your physician job search a priority
I’ve seen too many doctors approach their physician job search passively.
We don’t look thoroughly. Or, too often, we just look at the jobs that are advertised and assume that’s all there is. In reality that is just a fraction!
Use these 3 strategies to make sure you are finding all of the jobs that are out there!
Even more importantly, however, is to put in the right mindset work to first define what the perfect job for you actually is!
Then, once you find your perfect job, you can take the steps to build it into your ideal practice!
What do you think? How did you go about your physician job search? What worked? What didn’t? Let me know in the comments below!