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How To Secure A Job As A Graduating Fellow or Resident

Job searching as a new physician is a much different process than that of a professional in another field. From balancing a job search with your residency and exams to getting credentialed and securing an offer, the process can be unnecessarily time-consuming if not approached with the proper strategy, and newly-licensed physicians can find themselves out of work for quite some time as a result.

If you’re graduating from your residency or fellowship in 2016, now is a great time to start thinking about your job search to ensure this doesn’t happen to you. Here are some tips to get started:

Get ahead by starting early. Though many won’t be graduating until summer of 2016, the market in the tri-state area is saturated and competitive, which means jobs open and close very quickly. Starting to job search early will give you time to explore the market, develop a solid understanding of what’s available, and make a decision earlier than your colleagues so you can focus on board exams and finish your final year with less stress. Furthermore, credentialing can take a lot of time—up to 6 months in some cases and locations—and the earlier a decision is made, the sooner this can be tackled.

If choosing to work with a recruiter, pick a local firm with experience in the market. Local recruiters will have more options to choose from, which is helpful in a challenging marketplace. Since local recruiters regularly work with the same clients and have a continuous flow of positions, they will have a better understanding of competitive compensation, typical benefits and schedules, and what a given commute may be like in the area. Also ensure you’re being as straightforward as possible about what you want, as this will help avoid wasting time on opportunities that are not feasible or truly of interest.

Don’t wait until the negotiation stage to do your research. Instead, first gather as much information as possible from advisors and friends who have graduated before you. The more information you have before you start, the easier the rest of the process will be.

Decide on three non-negotiables. “Because the market moves so quickly, many candidates often end up with several offers and not much time to choose between them,” says BethAnn Caputo, Executive Recruiter in The Execu|Search Group’s Physician Recruitment department. “This can be overwhelming, but having a solid idea of what your top three non-negotiables are and what you are willing to be flexible with will help you choose when you reach the negotiation stage.” Typical decision making factors often include location, schedule, work/life balance, compensation, and benefits.

Make a good first impression and keep up appearances. When you do land a position, be diligent with getting your paperwork in on time and communicating quickly and professionally. This will help you make a good impression before you start working. Also, once you’ve made a decision, let it be final; the industry is smaller than it may seem, and it won’t reflect well on you if you pull out of an employer’s offer after you’ve already accepted it. Though the grass may look greener on the other side, such as if you see other attractive positions open up, jobs close quickly—and so will an employer’s doors if you aren’t loyal.

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