Every year, in cities across the nation, it happens.
In places like Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Francisco and many others, the denizens of these fine cities wake up one day to find that their downtowns have been inundated by thousands—sometimes tens of thousands—of physicians and other medical professionals.
They swarm around convention centers and nearby hotels and restaurants. The younger ones often carry tubes on their backs, talking to each other in the mysterious language of their specialty.
Entire blocks of downtowns are sometimes shut off so that vendors of various tools and potions can pay tribute to these practitioners. And then, in a few days, as quickly as they came, they disperse…until next year.
OK, so that may be a little dramatic. But specialty conferences—especially the annual conferences of large organizations like the American College of Physicians (ACP) or Society of Hospital Medicine (SHM)—are a big deal. There is a lot going on at each conference, starting early in the morning and often running late into the evening.
You’ll find lectures about new developments in your specialty and numerous opportunities to earn CME credits. If you can get to one, they are well worth your time—especially if you are looking for your first or next practice.
Work the room
Almost every specialty conference, both the large and the small, have exhibit halls. This is more than the place to stock up on free pens or register to win the latest Apple Watch.
With a little planning, you can jump-start your job search and get preliminary interviews with several different potential employers while you’re at the conference.
Most conferences publish a list of exhibitors online before the event. Many of these exhibitors will be hospitals or groups attending the conference specifically to recruit clinicians in your specialty.
Study this list. See if there are any employers in which you’re interested. Before the conference, take some time to tailor a CV and cover letter to each of the employers that interest you.
Draft a list of specific questions. The conference will be the perfect opportunity to skip past emails and phone calls and get face-to-face with a representative who is there specifically to find good candidates.
Contact the organization ahead of time, and ask the physician recruiter if you can set up a specific time to talk. If you’ve done your homework and take a proactive approach, you’ll stand out among the other candidates.
Those first impressions can go a long way in helping you land a job there.
PracticeLink can help
PracticeLink attends about 20 specialty conferences each year. Stop by the PracticeLink booth while you’re in the exhibit hall.
We can share your interest with employers that match your job-search criteria, and our physician relations representatives can provide free job-search help.
Traveling to a specialty conference can provide many great opportunities. They are, of course, helpful for earning CME credits and looking for new opportunities. But they are also great places to network and make new contacts.