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When it comes to looking for a job after residency, senior residents and young physicians are often at a loss as to where to look for their first jobs. Be sure to make use of all your opportunities as a resident and look thoroughly for that first special job.
How soon is too soon?
When it comes to searching for your job, probably the best time is during residency, and early on in your last year of residency. This will give you ample time to explore the different practice opportunities out there and decide which setting you’d like to practice in. Also, if you can settle on a job by the end of residency, it will give you stability and the satisfaction of knowing you have a place to work and start paying off all those bills you’ve been piling up as a resident.
Where too look?
Job hunting for physicians is a bit different than the general public. You’re not going to find much out there on Monster.com. Start off by talking to attendings in your own program. If you know of any attendings who have connections to local community physicians, they may know of openings locally. Also, program directors often get letters soliciting openings for positions around the country. If you are interested in private practice, you may call attendings whom you have worked with in the past few years as a resident to see if they are hiring or know of any openings. Talk with directors of local free clinics that you may have worked at.
You may also consider getting a list or email collection of recent graduates from your program to see if they have heard of new opportunities. This helps to extend your own network, and often if you have a personal connection with an employer, it helps get your foot in the door.
After you’ve exhausted your network of contacts, also try online. You can try the website of your local medical society, state medical association, national specialty association (American College of Physicians or American Academy of Pediatrics, etc..). These websites often list positions available. Some local jobs may even be found on Craiglist.org depending on your area of the country and the type of job you’re looking for.
Of course, we’ve all seen the little classified ads in the backs of the medical journals which are collecting dust at home. These often have some jobs available as well. Just remember, just because a job isn't advertised in a journal doesn't mean it's not there!
If you’re set on a particular geographic area, you can try calling or writing the physician recruiter at area hospitals, or department chairs of academic centers in your desired location. Another good way to keep your ears out for jobs is to email any friends you have in that area or a particular hospital (even if they are in a different specialty) and ask him/her to let you know of any job openings. Many job searches first progress in-house and are not necessarily advertised.
Let Someone Else do the Walking.
When doing your internet search, you’ll be sure to see advertisements for physician recruiting firms. There are dozens of firms who for a nice referral fee will help hospitals, clinics, and private practices recruit physicians for jobs nationwide. It may not be a bad idea to sign up with a few recruiting firms, just so your horizons can be broadened and so you know what kind of jobs (and salaries) are available to someone with your background. Be aware that if you find a job opening without a recruiter, some hospitals/clinics will pay you more. This is because they have to pay the recruiting firm a hefty bounty for filling a position.
With all the training you’ve undergone, and all the years of hard work, you’re sure to have a stack of job offers when it comes time to finish residency! But, how can you choose which is right for you?
First, make sure the type of practice (academic, private, community clinic) fits with your own goals of practice (at least for the short run—your first job may not be your last). If you’re really unsure of the type of practice you’ll want to have later on, locums may be a great choice for you to experience the medical world first, before you settle down. Alternatively a hospital based job where you don’t have to deal with the hassles/headaches of running your own practice may be a nice idea as well.
After that, it’s like choosing residency. Weigh the pros/cons of benefits, salary, location plus the intangibles of your practice partners and the people you’ll be working with. Trust your gut and go for it!