When researching and applying for positions, the first important thing to do is to change your thinking. During your applications for medical school and residency, the goal was to be accepted. In contrast, during your search for a job you are also deciding whether a position will be a good fit for you in the long term. They’re not just screening you, but you’re screening them too.
Imagine your ideal position
Before you start considering positions, you should decide what is a “must-have” and what is a “nice-to-have” when deciding which offer to take. Knowing what is most important to you will help when you start your job search. Think about aspects of the job such as the geographic area, lifestyle preferences, patient volume, current job market, and practice type.
Even if something seems like an impossible demand, put it on your list anyway. It’s a goal to aim for that will help shape your decision in a positive way.
When deciding what makes your “ideal position,” consider aspects of the position such as the types of patients and cases you want to see and the number of hours a week you’d like to work. Think about the pay and benefits you’re looking for, how big of a group you’re seeking, and the sort of work environment you’d like best. Finally, what geographic area are you interested in?
Describing your dream position will help you to compare that with the positions for which you interview and see how much overlap you can get.
Each type of employer, from universities to HMOs to hospitals or private practices, will have its own unique pros and cons. When deciding where to work, think about the compensation, risks, benefits, opportunities, technology, call, ownership, duties, marketing, and staff.
For example, private practice will have better compensation than a teaching hospital, but it will also entail more risk. All of these organizational and operational differences should be taken into consideration when deciding which type of organization you want to work for and also to evaluate the contract you receive.
How to find jobs
There are various ways to apply for jobs, from conferences, colleagues, recruiters, websites for physicians, and the professional society for each specialty.
Most begin a job search during the final year of residency or fellowship, so it’s a good idea to have your ideal job description completed early during your final year of training. Having that ideal job description in your mind will help you to navigate everything from networking at conferences to working with recruiters.