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Physician technology to assist with ultrasound procedures.

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Physician job search guide

Table of Contents

The PracticeLink physician relations team fields questions from residents, fellows and practicing physicians every day. They also speak with physicians at more than 20 physician and healthcare conferences each year. One of the most asked questions from residents and fellows is, “When should I start my job search?” Our answer? It’s never too soon.

Searching for a job can be an overwhelming and tedious task. Step one and possibly the biggest hurdle to overcome is knowing what you want in a practice. What type of practice is it you want to work in? Where do you want to live? What kind of needs do you and your family have? These can be tough questions, but doing your homework first to find the answers can make for an easier job search and a better fit for all.

Start your job search early, at least a year in advance. Know and set goals ahead of time. Find and develop a mentor during residency or fellowship that can help and share their experiences with you. This person may be your program director, a colleague, or even the in-house recruiter where you’re in training.

Many physicians don’t realize the time it takes to search for the right practice, get licensing and credentialing, relocate and so much more. We’ve outlined a physician job search guide for you to use in your search for the right practice. Use this comprehensive list to map out your job search. Assign a target completion date to each item to help stick to your goals.

For more information and assistance with your job search, email us at or call (800) 776-8383. Have a job search question or experience you’d like to share? Tell us on Facebook.

Practice types

Which will you pursue?

______ Solo practice
______ Small group (2 to 5)
______ Medium sized group (6 to 15, single or multispecialty)
______ Large group (15+, single or multispecialty)
______ Out-patient clinic or urgent care
______ Hospitalist
______ Research position
______ Academic position
______ Industry position (pharmaceutical, device, insurance, etc.)
______ Administrative position (such as a medical director)
______ Public health position
______ Student health clinic
______ Government position (VA, military, etc.)
______ Locum tenens



Where will you look?
There are many ways to find out where opportunities exist.

  1. Talk to your program director and coordinator, attending physicians and other residents.
  2. Scour a physician job bank, like, for leads.
  3. Review the ads in professional journals and magazines—like PracticeLink Magazine.
  4. Talk to recruiters at CME meetings.
  5. Visit websites of hospitals and medical groups in areas you are targeting. Check to see what specialties they are recruiting, get a feel for the culture of the organization, and identify who you should call for more information.
  6. Read your mail. Recruiters still send out postcards and letters to capture the attention of physicians who may want to relocate.
  7. Make use of national, state and local professional organizations to find data, lists of job openings and employment leads.
  8. Consider working with a search firm


Physician—Job search to-do list

Use this comprehensive list to map out your job search.
Assign a target completion date to each item.

__________ Broadly consider possibilities, and discuss with your spouse or significant other.
__________ Finalize criteria for your ideal job and location.
__________ Decide whether to use a recruiter or do your own search.
__________ Write a CV and a cover letter that can be modified for each submission.
__________ Have CV and cover letter reviewed by trusted advisors for feedback.
__________ Reach out to anyone you know who might have leads that match your criteria.
__________ Assemble a list of professional references.
__________ Make a list of possible locations/opportunities to research and consider.
__________ Register on PracticeLink to alert physician recruiters you’re looking for a new opportunity.
__________ Make initial inquiries through a phone call or by sending your CV and cover letter.
__________ Arrange to take time off for on-site interviews.
__________ Complete phone interviews.
__________ Narrow the field.
__________ Complete on-site interviews.
__________ Narrow the field again.
__________ Review offer(s) and make a decision.
__________ Have contract reviewed by attorney.
__________ Negotiate and finalize contract.
__________ Gracefully decline offers you decide against. Employers would much rather hear “no” than “maybe.”
__________ Secure office space and order equipment (if applicable).
__________ Apply for state medical license, professional liability insurance and hospital privileges.
__________ Complete paperwork for Medicare and insurance providers.
__________ Meet with an accountant and/or financial planner.
__________ Make a separate list of tasks related to moving and setting up your practice (i.e., all the details that need attention in the last few months).


Karen Childress

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