For free help with your job search, call (800) 776-8383

 
 

Know the job search steps and timeline

 

Posted by Drew Terry

A lot of time, energy and effort - not to mention money - go into studying and training to become a physician or advanced practice provider.

With so much focus on earning the degree and completing residency or fellowship, it’s easy to forget finding the right practice may take a little time and energy, too.

A job search doesn’t have to be stressful. By following these 10 steps and sticking to a timeline, you become better prepared - and more confident - in searching for and securing your first or next practice.

 

  1. Start exploring your options

Start - 24 months before start date

Complete - 12 months before start date

Give yourself plenty of time to research the type of practice opportunities in the places you’d like to live. Starting this process early can pay off in the long run by giving you adequate time after being hired to complete the necessary paperwork, including licensure, hospital credentialing and registration with third-party payers.

 

  1. Write your CV

Start - 18 months before start date

Complete - 12 months before start date

A good curriculum vitae provides a detailed review of your objective, experience, education and skills. It’s often the first impression you give a recruiter and organization, so be sure it’s accurate, up-to-date, error-free and easy to read.

Free online CV builders can make it easier to build and update your CV.

 

  1. Get references

Start - 15 months before start date

Complete - 12 months before start date

A CV is full of facts you provide to prospective employers. To validate the information and better understand your character, physician recruiters will also ask to speak to people with whom you interact. Your list should include references who can substantiate your qualifications and medical skills, but you can also include contacts who can affirm your additional traits that may be important for the role.

As you complete your studies and training, consider who may be strong references for you and ask if they’d be willing to be contacted when you start applying for opportunities. That way you’ll have multiple options and can select the ones most applicable for the opportunity you seek.

 

  1. Be true to yourself

Start - 15 months before start date

Complete - 12 months before start date

Where Step 1 is a time to discover what opportunities exist, Step 4 is a time to hone in on the opportunities that best match what you’re looking for in a practice and location. What aspects of work and life are mandatory? What aspects are deal-breakers? What amenities are requirements for your family?

 

  1. Reach out to employers

Start - 15 months before start date

Complete - 9 months before start date

You’re equipped with a CV. You have a good idea of who you want to use as references. You have a good idea of what you’re looking for in a practice and location. Now it’s time to start making contact. You can discover opportunities multiple ways, from a trusted physician job board to discussions with colleagues and friends.

For each application you submit, include a customized cover letter. Each cover letter may have similar information but should be modified to state why you’re interested in the specific position and location to which you’re applying - and why you’re the ideal candidate.

 

  1. Prep for your interview

Start - 12 months before start date

Complete - 9 months before start date

The interview process - especially as it progresses - will likely involve several meetings and phone or video calls over several weeks, if not months. If multiple organizations request an interview, your planning ahead will help narrow down which ones to accept and which ones to postpone or decline.

 

  1. Research your options

Start - 12 months before start date

Complete - 9 months before start date

Now that you’re engaged with specific organizations, it’s time for a final in-depth review of each opportunity. Imagine accepting each role and how life might be. Will you enjoy that type of practice and share the organization’s vision and mission? Does the community offer the activities you and your family most enjoy? Is there a neighborhood you could envision becoming your next home?

Consider speaking with colleagues who have already gone through the process and asking how they prepared and what they wish they had known or would have done differently.

 

  1. Complete your interviews

Start - 12 months before start date

Complete - 8 months before start date

Interview stages will differ by organization based on their individual processes and protocols during COVID-19. In most cases, these may involve a series of phone calls, potentially video interviews and eventually at least one site visit, possibly lasting multiple days.

The organization uses these steps to determine if they’re hiring the right candidate, and you should do the same. Be prepared to ask questions to ensure it’s the right organization and location for your needs.

 

  1. Evaluate your offers

Start - 9 months before start date

Complete - 6 months before start date

After navigating the series of interviews and site visits, it’s time to make the decision. Even if specific salary details haven’t been discussed, by this time you’ve hopefully at least discussed ranges so there are no big surprises.

Salary aside, try considering each offer based on the likelihood you’ll be happy practicing and living there. If the answer is yes, then start considering how you feel about the specific salary and benefits.

 

  1. Negotiate your contract

Start - 9 months before start date

Complete - 6 months before start date

Once you agree in principle to an offer, you’ll begin working through the contract. It’s best to have your contract reviewed by an attorney with experience in health care and employment agreements.

 

Also account for the time it will take to prepare to enter your new practice, both professionally (licensure and credentialing) and personally (house hunting and preparing for the actual relocation).

 

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