You have a full plate when it comes to your job search. You’ll need to update your CV, network through recruiters, and pay close attention to licensing and credentialing tasks. Luckily, if you approach your job search with a plan and chunk the process into specific tasks to tackle each month, the process will feel much more manageable.
If you’re a new physician, experts suggest a reasonable target date for securing your first position is six months prior to June graduation. That means your timeline should begin at least a year earlier. Land that job in six months by following these monthly steps:
Identify your job must-haves, establish a strategy, and review your file. Get your CV and cover letter in shape, and contact primary source individuals who might forward information about you. (That includes ECFMG if you’re internationally trained.) If anything needs to be addressed, now is the time to do so. You should also identify and reach out to superiors and peers who might write your reference letters.
Once you’ve established your priorities, contact any person or organization that can help you target an opportunity. Physician recruiters, former colleagues and individual health organizations, as well as career fairs, journal ads and website postings on PracticeLink.com all make good resources. While doing so, review the medical/osteopathic board websites of the states you’ve targeted. Whether you anticipate staying put or moving on, you need to know what you need to provide and when you need to provide it.
Assemble the primary source information and contacts you’ll need for a full license application. If you plan to use the FCVS, get the process underway. If you were born and trained in another country, you need to start as early as possible to meet the nuanced demands of the state visa requirements. Ask physicians in your program if they can recommend an attorney who is skilled with immigration and employment topics.
By October, it’s likely that you’ve already been on a few on-site interviews. In addition to having your "power outfit," you should also have a "power notepad" for taking notes at every interview. Each interview is a fact-finding mission: you want to explore whether the hospital’s culture is right for you and whether the position is a match for your career goals. If you begin to get a sense during one of your on-site interviews that the position is not a fit, you still want to make a strong impression. Regardless of which offer you accept, your interviews are an opportunity to grow your professional network.
Ideally by this point, you have secured an offer and put the finishing touches on a contract. Now you need to close the loop with the licensure board by completing the application, demonstrating that you’ve taken any required tests or mini-courses, and following up on requests.
If you’re entering a new year with a contract in hand, you still have a six-month window before starting your new position. That’s ample time to tie up any licensing and credentialing loose ends, such as securing your DEA number; hospital privileges; and certification for billing Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. If you’re applying in multiple states, you’ll want to allow plenty of time to meet each one’s requirements. Whatever your circumstance, "the earlier the better" is a rule to live by.