Advice For A New Physician

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If you’re a new physician looking for employment it can be a daunting task. All of a sudden you are thrust into the job market and knowing where to invest your time can be tricky. You don’t want to be forced to take a job you don’t particularly like, or be stuck with no viable options. The best way to conduct a job search in the current market is to do your research and think outside the box.

1. Cast a Wider Net

Some physicians are overwhelmed by the variety of choices and unaccustomed to negotiating for a job, new doctors often wind up in positions that are a bad fit for them, and they move on after just a few years.

A common mistake is only focusing your job search in one location. That narrow approach could force you into a job you don't really like. Think about it: you’re so focused on just the location of a prospective job that you forget to zero-in on more important things like the salary and benefits. Does this job have a lot of on-call time? Is there room for growth? Concentrating on one aspect of a job leaves you open to disappointment in the long run. Your dream job may not be in the location you think it should be.

2. Gravitating Toward Big Metropolitan Areas

New physicians looking for jobs should be able to find one successfully and rather quickly. Across the country, and in most specialties, there are vastly more jobs available than there are doctors to fill them.

In some cases physicians might not think this is true, because they tend to crowd major metropolitan areas. In the Northeast this is especially true. The employers then have the negotiating advantage. If there are too many physicians and not enough jobs, then the employers are able to pay them at lower salaries knowing the job market is highly competitive. If you are willing to move to another state, or a less populated area you will have more opportunities to make more money and have the autonomy you want.

You may find that terrific opportunities exist as few as 30 miles outside of a major metro area. The net result can be better earnings, while retaining any perceived lifestyle benefit of living in a large center.

3. Rushing to Accept the First Good Offer

Physicians can end up unhappy because they didn't thoroughly investigate the opportunity before signing the contract. You might get multiple offers, and taking the time to think about each one is important. You could start by making a simple pro/con list that will flesh out the more minute details. Ultimately, you should never make a decision based on fear. There is a general shortage of physicians in America. If you don’t have a good feeling about a job, don’t take it. There will be other opportunities.

4. Decide what you're looking for

It is important to know what you do want in a job. You know what works for you and what does not. Some physicians enjoy a hospital environment because it’s constantly changing. While others might prefer private practice to really build relationship with patients.

Make a list of what's most important to you (and your partner) in terms of things like pay, location, work-life balance, and clinical opportunities.

5. Get your paperwork in order.

If you're going to test the job market, you'll need to update your CV and tailor it to prospective employers. Unfortunately, there is no ‘one size fits all’ for resumes; with each job you apply to you might have to tweak it a little bit. You'll also need to update your references. Make sure that you have current contact information for each reference and that you've given them a heads up that an employer could be calling.

6. Get serious about interviewing.

Healthcare is constantly evolving, and physicians must be able to adapt to changes. They're looking for doctors with strong leadership skills, who can collaborate with other employees and get along with patients. You will get better at interviewing the more you do it. Also remember..., you are interviewing the employer at the same time they interview you. Pay attention to red flags in terms of interviewer behavior, promises, or reluctance to answer questions.

Once you find the right job, it will all be worth it.