Timeline of a Resident’s Job Search


This Friday is Match Day, which means a new class of soon-to-be medical school graduates will find out where they will spend the next three to seven years as medical residents. If you are among this group of future physicians, this next stage of training will provide essential preparation. The fast-paced, all-consuming nature of residency can leave you with little time to think about where all your hard work is leading — or, more importantly, where you want it to take you. Therefore, residents must make the first physician job search an ongoing priority to ensure the light at the end of the residency tunnel is a destination of your own choosing.    

So, do new residents need to start the job search tomorrow? Most recruiters will advise residents to begin their search 12-24 months before completing training. However, starting early may improve the odds of finding a job in which you will want to stay. Studies show that half of all physicians leave their first jobs within five years, and half of that group leaves during the first two. If residents stick to the following timeline (based on a three-year residency), they will surely find themselves with more choices than they would have otherwise. It also means they will have ample time to learn what they ideally want from an employer and find a job that meets those needs. 

Resident Job Search Tasks in the First Year(s)

Pre-assess the Physician Job Market

For new residents, the first step in a physician job search is simply researching the market. Anyone with an eye on healthcare headlines knows that staffing shortages continue to plague the industry. While some regions struggle more than others, physicians and other healthcare providers are in high demand nationwide. 

This knowledge should give you confidence about your future physician job search (and future job security). However, this doesn’t mean the physician job search is easy or that circumstances are the same for every specialty and in every location. They are not. A recent report from Jackson Physician Search uses our 2022 placement data and observations from several recruitment leaders to identify physician hiring trends in the marketplace. According to the report, primary care physicians see the greatest demand, along with specialists who are willing to treat broad panels of patients. Rural healthcare organizations have more urgent needs than organizations in urban and suburban areas. 

Of course, we may see trends shift slightly or change altogether before you move on to the more active stages of your search, but now is the time to find credible sources on the subject and start paying attention.

Identify Your Priorities

Now is the time to consider what matters most in your first physician job. Compensation and location are obviously important, but where does work-life balance fit in? What about culture, the scope of practice, and growth opportunities? Of course, you want it all, but you need to consider where you are willing to compromise. Talk to attending physicians about their lifestyles and what they like and dislike about their jobs. What are the things they wish they had known when they were searching for their first physician jobs? 

Reach Out to a Recruiter

Introduce yourself to a respected physician recruiter and ask them what to expect in each stage of the search. He or she can provide details on a typical job search timeline for your specialty and answer questions about the physician interview process, physician compensation models, or physician employment contracts

If you have determined that location is a priority, ask the recruiter about the job market in your preferred city. If you have any special circumstances, such as a visa requirement or a physician spouse who will also be applying to jobs, share this with the recruiter and ask for advice. Physician recruiters are usually happy to connect with residents and answer questions about what lies ahead. Don’t hesitate to reach out — by phone, email, or LinkedIn — and ask for advice. 

Resident Job Search Tasks in the Second Year 

Browse Physician Job Boards

You may not be ready to apply to physician jobs just yet, but it’s a good time to start browsing physician job boards for jobs in your specialty in the locations of interest to you. This helps you to assess the market and set realistic expectations. Set up job alerts for jobs matching your specific search criteria. If a job or employer seems particularly perfect — and your specialty is in high demand — it may be worth sending the recruiter an email expressing interest. 

Gather Documents

Before you begin applying to physician jobs, you need a polished CV, a targeted cover letter (that will be tailored to specific jobs), and a list of professional references who have agreed to serve as your reference. Once you have these three things prepared and perfected, you are ready to start actively applying for physician jobs.

Resident Job Search Tasks in the Final Year

Reconnect with a Recruiter

Now is the time to reconnect with any recruiters you may have introduced yourself to over the years. Let him or her know that you will complete your training in 12 months and are actively searching for a job. Talk to them about what you are looking for, and be clear about what is a must-have versus a nice-to-have. Be open to his or her feedback. If they suggest a location or type of organization you had not previously considered, it is likely because it aligns with what you have said is important to you. Keep an open mind.  

Browse and Submit

Remember those job alerts you set up last year? It’s time to start paying attention. Tweak your search parameters if needed, and when a job arrives in your inbox, that seems to match 70% of what you want, go ahead and express your interest. By applying, you are not promising to attend an on-site interview; you simply agree to have a conversation in which you will learn more about the opportunity.

Attend On-Site Visits

Ideally, by the third or fourth month of your final year, you have scheduled or even attended several on-site visits with potential employers. You may have even found an organization that seems like a good fit. Make sure when you visit an organization, you have an opportunity to meet not only the administration but your potential colleagues as well. Look for red flags, and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions to reveal more about the organization’s culture. You’ll also want to explore the community, perhaps with a realtor, but also on your own. If dining and shopping are important to you, spend some time downtown. If you enjoy the outdoors, ask someone to direct you to the nearest park or popular hiking spots.  

Understand Your Contract

When an organization extends an offer, you’ll want to work with your physician recruiter to understand and perhaps negotiate the terms. Before signing any physician employment contract, you may want an attorney to review it. You will address any concerns through your recruiter.

Licensing and Credentialing

Signing the contract feels like it should be the last step, and yet, it can take several months to obtain a medical license with the state, and then, you still need credentials for the specific hospital. The process won’t be labor intensive for you, but it will take time — time you must allow for when setting your job search timeline. Ideally, you are signing a contract in March if you hope to start your job in July. 

A Resident’s Job Search Starts Today

Each resident will have a slightly different timeline than what is outlined here, but let this be a guide for the stages of your search, and if nothing else, take away this — it is never too early to begin your first physician job search. From the time you begin your residency, consider yourself in the research stage. Learn about the market, discover your own priorities, and ask questions of physicians in various stages of their careers. 

If you are conducting ongoing job search research, you will likely know when it is time to begin the other job search tasks, such as reaching out to a recruiter, preparing your CV and other materials, and setting up an online job search. Those who know what to expect and are prepared for the search will ultimately have more options available to them and have a greater chance of finding a first physician job that meets their needs. 

If you are in any stage of residency and have questions about what lies ahead, the recruiters at Jackson Physician Search would love to hear from you. Reach out today for insights about the market and what to expect in your search. We also recommend you download the Physician Job Search Playbook, and when you’re ready, start searching for physician jobs online.

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First Physician Job Search Tips for Residents

The first physician job search can be overwhelming. Even though physicians are in high demand, there is a lot to navigate. Find out what new residents can do today to better prepare them for their future search…

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Recruiter Helps Resident Find the Trifecta of Physician Jobs: J-1 Visa Sponsorship, Work-life Balance, and Loan Repayment


Beginning his final year of residency in Alabama, Dr. A was getting serious about his first physician job search. He needed to find an employer willing to sponsor his J-1 visa waiver, so he had to allow plenty of time as his options would be more limited. Even though his job options might be fewer than his fellow residents, he didn’t want to sacrifice work-life balance and much-needed loan repayment. He felt like he was looking for the perfect trifecta! Also, after visiting friends in coastal Mississippi, he loved the idea of living there and began to browse physician job boards with an eye for job postings in that area. 

Jackson Physician Search Search Consultant Cori Centerino was searching for a Family Medicine physician for her client, a multi-specialty group located on the coast. The mission-minded organization needed a physician to start as soon as possible. Cori prepared her client for a wait — the average time to fill a Family Medicine physician job nationally is more than seven months — but she was confident that with time she would find the right candidate.

An Attractive First Physician Job

Cori crafted a physician job posting highlighting what she knew to be the most attractive features of the job. In addition to the coastal location, the role was 100% outpatient with the flexibility to choose between a four, four and a half, or five-day work week. The job would be ideal for a physician prioritizing work-life balance. It also came with a signing bonus and, potentially, loan repayment. 

As it turned out, these qualities were exactly what caught Dr. A’s attention. After several years of an intense residency, finding a job that allowed a healthy work-life balance was extremely important to Dr. A (and his wife). The fact that the organization provided care to an underserved patient population was also appealing to him. 

An Organization Willing to Wait

When Dr. A reached out in response to Cori’s ad in June, she knew right away that he was a good fit, but both worried that the resident’s timeline was too long. As a resident, he would only be available to start after completing his training the following year. Still, Cori spoke to her client about him, and while the need was indeed urgent, they were willing to wait for the right candidate. The client called Dr. A for a phone interview and then invited him to visit the organization for an on-site interview.   

It was a few months before Dr. A and his wife were able to plan a visit, but when they did, they were blown away by the comfort and kindness they experienced. Dr. A hit it off with his potential colleagues, and both he and his wife liked the town. He didn’t want to rush into a decision but understood this opportunity was the trifecta he was hoping to find. 

“He wanted to be sure that he was making the right decision for the long run,” explains Cori. “I wanted to give him the time and space he needed while still conveying the urgency of my client. It was a delicate balance.”

An Ideal First Physician Job 

Ultimately, Cori’s dedication to helping Dr. A find a job that not only met his needs, but would also be one he could be happy with for years to come paid off. He signed a contract in early November with a commitment to starting with the clinic after the completion of his training. For Dr. A, the coastal location and flexibility were attractive. Still, it was the organization’s willingness to sponsor his J-1 visa waiver and, over time, pay off his student loans that made the decision right for him and his wife. It’s not every day a resident finds a job that checks every box. He appreciated that Cori did not pressure him to decide before he was ready, and instead put his needs first. This allowed him to explore his options and discover for himself that he had indeed found the perfect physician job. 

Whether you are a resident searching for your first physician job or an experienced physician seeking a change, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to help. We work with organizations large and small across the country seeking physicians in every kind of practice setting. Reach out today to learn how we can assist your job search, or get started now by searching for physician jobs online.

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First Physician Job Search Tips for Residents


With Match Day quickly approaching, soon-to-be medical residents around the country are looking forward to having the next stage of their lives settled. While some will have their hearts set on a specific residency program, many will be relieved to have a better idea of what the next few years of their lives will look like. However, depending on the length of residency (and possibly, fellowship), it likely won’t be long before they must begin the search process again — this time for their first physician jobs. 

The cycle of applications, interviews, and waiting for acceptances (or rejections) is a constant in the life of a med student. Since high school, they have worked hard to present impressive applications and references — first to a university, next to medical school, and then to residency programs. The bad news for residents is that this process is far from over. The good news is that the experience gained applying to med schools and residency programs have largely prepared them for the physician job search. 

Of course, new residents will want a break from the search and apply process, however, don’t wait too long before beginning to think about your next steps. It’s never too early to start the search for your first physician job. Ease into it by considering the following:

Visualize Your Physician Career and Establish Priorities

What is most important to you in a physician job? How do you want your physician career to develop over the next five or ten years? How involved do you hope to be in your home and family life? That is, how important is work-life balance? As you progress through your residency, pay attention to what parts of the job you enjoy and ask questions of your attendings about what they like and dislike about their jobs. 

Industry experts estimate that half of the physicians coming out of residency spend less than five years in their first job, and half of that group walks away within just two years. One could argue these physicians simply change their minds about what they want in a job, but many may never have considered what was most important to them personally and professionally. Instead, they applied to physician job ads featuring the qualities best known for attracting candidates — namely, above-average compensation and/or big signing bonuses. Money can certainly catch the eye, but it does not guarantee the physician job will be a good fit for every candidate.

Of course, if you don’t know what’s most important to you in your first physician job, it is very easy to be drawn to what is important to the masses — money — and studies show the happiest physicians are not always the ones earning the most money.  

Prepare Physician Job Search Materials 

Before you begin searching and applying to jobs, you need to spend some time preparing and polishing the following physician job search materials: a comprehensive physician CV, a thoughtful cover letter (that can be tailored for a specific job), and a list of people (and their contact details) who have committed to giving you an enthusiastic recommendation. 

Don’t wait to prepare these documents until you find the perfect physician job posting. Instead, spend some time perfecting your CV, crafting a cover letter, and reaching out to potential references so that you are ready to apply as soon as you find a physician job posting that seems like a good match. 

Establish a Relationship with a Physician Recruiter

Even if you are not quite ready to begin applying to physician jobs, reach out to a physician recruiter to discuss any questions you have about the physician job search process. A knowledgeable physician recruiter will share what he or she knows about the current market for your specialty and help set your expectations about compensation, timeline, and more.   

While physicians are in high demand, this doesn’t mean the first physician job search is easy. There is a lot to navigate, and residents should allow at least a year, if not more, in order to have time to adequately evaluate opportunities. 

If you are a resident with questions about what lies ahead, contact a Jackson Physician Search recruiter today. We also recommend you download the Physician Job Search Playbook, and when you’re ready, start searching for physician jobs online.

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5 Physician Contract Considerations

The contract terms acceptable to one physician may be out of the question for another, but every physician should consider the following when evaluating a physician employment contract…

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Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

5 Physician Employment Contract Considerations


After a full year of searching for her first hospitalist job, Dr. M was thrilled to have an offer from a health system in a major California metro. It was everything she had hoped to find. The compensation was competitive, the culture was patient-centered, and the schedule was flexible. She had verbally accepted the offer at the end of her on-site visit, but a week later, contract in hand, her parents — and their attorney — were cautioning her not to sign it. She had reviewed the points of contention and understood the concerns. However, she also knew from her recruiter that the health system did not alter certain aspects of the physician employment contract under any circumstances. The attorney advised against signing the contract unless all the adjustments he advised were made, but she truly feels this is otherwise the job of her dreams. 

Dr. M is in an incredibly difficult situation. Her parents and attorney feel that some phrases included in the contract leave her vulnerable. However, the recruiter she’s working with has already told her that the organization has historically not been willing to change this language. Does she walk away from an otherwise perfect opportunity? 

The answer, of course, is highly personal, and Dr. M will have to make it for herself, just like any physician presented with a contract of employment. The terms acceptable to one physician may be out of the question for another, but every physician should consider the following when evaluating a physician employment contract.  

1. Do your research.

Whether you are a resident searching for your first physician job or a mid- to late-career physician looking for a new opportunity, it’s a good idea to do some research about physician contracts today.

The American Medical Association’s “Making the Rounds” podcast has a series of six episodes covering everything from letters of intent and compensation to termination clauses and liability insurance. The series features guidance from AMA Senior Attorney Wes Cleveland and touches on every aspect of the physician employment contract. A recent article summarizes the highlights.

2. Know what matters most.

Director of Recruiting Katie Moeller advises residents to get familiar with physician contracts even before they have an offer in hand.

“I tell new physicians to talk to their mentors and ask questions about how their contracts are structured,” she says. “Ask them about what aspects of their contracts have the greatest impact on how they work day-to-day, so they know what to expect and what matters most.”  

If this is not your first job search, ask yourself what, if any, part of your last contract led to dissatisfaction on the job. Talk to a recruiter about those issues, so he or she can advise on what type of employer may offer a contract that is a better fit. 

3. Understand what is in the contract. 

Once you have an offer in hand, read it! Know what your obligations are (number of hours worked, availability, call commitments, administrative duties, etc.) and what you can expect in return (base salary, bonus potential, PTO, benefits, etc.) If there are gray areas or you don’t understand some of the terms, ask your recruiter if they can help connect you with leadership at the hospital/practice for further discussion. 

4. Get input from a trusted advisor.

The contract may be fairly straightforward, but it is still a good idea to have someone you trust review it and offer feedback. This could be a mentor, a parent, a spouse, or even an attorney. Katie Moeller says it’s a good idea for candidates to seek the opinion of someone they trust; however, she encourages them to think for themselves. 

“A parent, spouse, or attorney may get hung up on something that is boilerplate/template language or is fairly standard in the industry,” Katie says. “So, I advise candidates to trust their instincts and consider the situation as a whole. If the hospital/practice you hope to sign with tells you they are unable to change certain contract language, the best first step is to ask for clarification about why that is the case — it may be for a completely understandable reason, such as being consistent with wording across all employee contracts.”

5. Discuss concerns with a recruiter.

It is not for the recruiter to advise on what a physician should or should not be comfortable with. However, a good physician recruiter can share insight on whether or not the contract is in line with industry standards. That is, in the opening story, if Dr. M’s recruiter informs her that the point of concern is going to be standard in any contract with a major health system, that’s critical information to have. If it’s not an issue that Dr. M can bend on, she may need to look at working for a smaller organization or a private practice that will be more open to making adjustments to the contract. 

Evaluating the Physician Employment Contract

Physicians are obviously in high demand, which in some ways, means they have the upper hand in contract negotiations. Certainly, things like physician compensation, recruitment bonuses, and time off are often up for negotiation; however, depending on the type, size, and resources of the organization, there is not always as much flexibility as the candidate may want.  

Do your research and know what the most important aspects of the contract are for you. Read the contract and seek advice to help you understand the implications of any area that seems unclear. Bring your concerns to the recruiter, and he or she will do everything in his or her power to bring the deal to a satisfactory close for all parties involved. 

“Any contract requires a level of trust,” Katie says. “Contract language can be intimidating, so talk to other physicians in the group to better understand how the terms play out on the job. If the physicians are happy and the situation seems favorable, you can confidently sign the contract and begin the next chapter of your career.”

Whether you are seeking your first physician job or feeling out new opportunities, a Jackson Physician Search recruiter would be happy to share some insight to help you reach your goals. Reach out today or start searching for physician jobs online now.

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Physician Jobs: Finding the Silver Lining When You’re Scheduled to Work the Holiday Shift


Physician jobs are rarely contained to the nine-to-five schedule enjoyed by many working professionals. Certainly, physicians in residency and the early stages of their physician careers expect to spend a fair number of nights and weekends at the hospital or at least on call. It’s just part of the physician’s job. What you may not have thought about, however, are the many holidays you might spend working — the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas to name a few. Patients still get sick, injured, or have other emergencies on national holidays, and someone must be there to help them. That someone might even be you this holiday season. 

Working the holidays doesn’t have to be a dreaded part of a physician’s job. In fact, some see it as a rite of passage that every physician must endure. But even beyond your admission to the physician club of shared woes, working the holidays can be an overall positive experience when you think about it in the following ways:

1. A Gift to Colleagues

It’s the season of giving, and what better gift to give your colleagues than the ability to spend the day with their families? Few if any want to work the holidays, so by stepping up to volunteer, you are taking that pressure and burden off others who will likely be very grateful. 

2. A Gift to Patients

You got into this profession to help patients, but it may not always feel like you’re making a difference. However, when you provide those same services on a holiday, patients may be especially appreciative of your time and are more likely to express their gratitude. Even if they don’t, you can take satisfaction in knowing that you are providing an essential service to the community.

3. Earn Points to Cash in Later

All that giving back feels good, of course, but let’s not overlook the longer-term benefit to yourself. If you “take one for the team” over the holidays, you are better positioned to ask off for the popular week of spring break. Or when you need a colleague to cover your call one weekend, he or she will be more inclined to say yes. 

4. A Unique Atmosphere 

So, it may not be the setting for a Hallmark movie, but a hospital or clinic does have a unique vibe on a holiday that is likely to lift the spirits. Families of patients will often go to great lengths to bring the holidays to the hospital, and staff of all types enjoys a sense of unity in the shared experience of missing the holiday with their families and friends. Perhaps more so than any other time, coworkers feel like family. 

In addition to reframing the way you view the holiday shift, it may be useful to consider the following tips for preserving the spirit of the holiday for yourself.

Celebrate on a different day — Why miss the holiday when you can reschedule instead? Take time off before or after the holiday and designate a day to celebrate as you would on an official day. 

Do something festive with staff — Wear a Santa hat to work, play holiday music, or bring in latkes to share. Encourage everyone working the holiday to wear, bring, or do something to make the day jolly. 

Working the holidays is rarely ideal, but it doesn’t have to be a depressing experience. In fact, it’s likely to earn you recognition from your supervisors, appreciation from your peers, help you form deeper connections with staff, and remind you of all the reasons you became a physician — to help others in their time of need. 

Whether you’re spending the holidays on the clock or enjoying time off with family, the team at Jackson Physician Search wishes you all the best during the holiday season. 

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6 Things to Know About Medical School Loan Repayment and Your Physician Job Search


According to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the average medical student graduates with nearly $200,000 of student loan debt. This is the median figure, meaning half graduate with even more. For many residents, typically earning less than $60k per year, this figure weighs on them. They may struggle to meet minimum payments as they dream of a day when they can pay off their loans with one big signing bonus… but how often does this dream come true? And what do residents need to know right now to increase their chances of paying off medical school debt quickly?

Every year, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search talks to thousands of residents in every specialty, and for 95% of them, paying off medical school loans is a concern. As a physician recruitment firm focused on finding the best fit between employers and physicians, we encourage our employers to offer competitive signing bonuses that may be used for loan repayment and, when possible, participate in programs that qualify their physicians to receive federal or state loan support. We know this will help our clients attract physicians and help physicians achieve their goals of paying off debt quickly. 

While a good physician recruiter can certainly help you prioritize loan repayment in your job search, there are several things to consider well before you begin an active physician job search (and the earlier, the better!): 

1. The Complete Compensation Package

While you may be scanning physician job boards for ads with “loan repayment support” or “signing bonus” in the headline, it’s important to remember that the complete physician compensation package is what will ultimately allow you to repay your loans. Signing incentives are helpful, but assuming you maintain reasonable living expenses, part of your base salary and production-based bonuses can also be put toward your loans. Don’t let an impressive signing bonus distract you from a less than competitive salary or limited earning potential.

2. Signing Bonuses

Many organizations offer recruitment bonuses to attract candidates. Most of the time, these bonuses, funded by the hospital or practice, can be used as the candidate sees fit–for housing assistance, loan repayment, investment, or simply to squirrel away under the mattress. The money may be paid upfront and then forgiven incrementally over a period of three to five years of employment, or paid in installments over the first several years of work. 

3. Loan Repayment Incentives

Like signing bonuses, loan repayment incentives are funded by the hospital or practice. In this scenario, the bonus is designated for loan repayment only. The organization may request your loan documents and make payments for you or reimburse you for payments made. This does not prevent you from making additional payments toward the total. 

4. Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)

The options mentioned above are all funded by the employer, but there are also government programs to consider. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program requires applicants to maintain employment with a government or other non-profit organization for ten years while making 120 income-driven monthly payments toward paying down the loan. After ten years of service, the rest of the loan will be forgiven. 

Since most healthcare organizations are classified as not-for-profit, this can be an attractive option for new residents who will spend three to seven years in training, earning a relatively low income on which their loan payments will be based. Once training is complete, they must find employment with a non-profit until the 10-year obligation is fulfilled.   

5. National Health Service Corps (NHSC)

The National Health Service Corps provides another government-funded loan forgiveness option for physicians working in primary care, dental, and mental or behavioral health. This program, which has three different options, requires the applicant to work at an NHSC-active site for two or three years, depending on the specific program, and offers $50,000-$100,000 in loan forgiveness. 

NHSC-active employers may be located in urban, rural, or tribal communities with limited access to care. These facilities may include Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC), Rural Health Clinics (RHC), Indian Health Services Clinics and Hospitals, as well as private clinics and other community health centers. Not all employers that meet these requirements have submitted the paperwork to gain NHSC-active status, so if considering an offer and planning to utilize this program, make sure you know if the employer has or is willing to apply for the status.   

6. State Loan Forgiveness Programs

Most states also offer loan forgiveness programs to incentivize physicians to work in areas of high need, whether rural or urban. Investigate available programs in the regions you are considering to identify programs that meet your needs. The state program may not be available in tandem with the federal one, but you may be able to move from one to the other once your original service commitment is complete. 

Medical school debt is often heavy on the minds of residents and early-career physicians. However, multiple government-funded programs and employer-paid incentives are available to help pay off loans quickly. If loan repayment is a high priority for you, make sure to start your search early and identify the programs that best meet your needs. Applications have strict deadlines, and once accepted, you may be required to document your employment and income status regularly. So start your physician job search early, stay organized, and let your physician recruiter know that loan repayment is a priority. You will soon have your medical school debt behind you and a lucrative physician career ahead.

If you are starting a physician job search, the recruitment team at Jackson Physician Search is ready to answer any questions you have about the process, including potential loan repayment incentives. Contact a recruiter today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook to get started.  

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How Physicians Can Evaluate Workplace Culture During Their Interview


With physician turnover potentially on the rise and a concerning number of physicians reporting burnout, there is increasing attention on the impact of workplace culture on physician retention. The good news is, employers are aware of the importance of a positive organizational culture. However, as a candidate, it can be difficult to discern if the way your interviewer describes the culture is a true representation of how other physicians experience it. 

Workplace culture is often a reflection of the organization’s values, or at least how well those values are embodied by its staff. This is one of many reasons most recruiters stress the importance of finding an employer whose values align with yours. They know what happens when a physician who wants autonomy accepts an offer from an employer known for micromanaging. When values are misaligned, no one involved in the relationship will be happy. 

The physician interview is your best opportunity to investigate an employer’s values and culture. Keep reading to find out how to evaluate an employer’s culture during the physician interview. 

Conduct Pre-Interview Research

Before you agree to an on-site physician interview, research the employer online and try to determine if it is a place you would like to work. Review the mission statement and values professed on the website. Look for news stories about the organization to see how it is viewed in the community. Follow the employer’s social channels to learn more. What kind of stories are shared about patients, staff, and leadership? Do you see photos of team-building activities or employer-sponsored service projects? What charitable causes does the organization champion? 

Keep in mind, an online presence is carefully curated, so it may not tell the whole story. Look for clues about what the organization values. It will be up to you to discern if those values are acted out in the organization’s culture. Your chance to do this is during the on-site physician interview.

Ask Questions to Reveal Culture 

In preparation for the on-site interview, think about what questions you should ask each of your interviewers. You know you want to learn about culture, however, asking your interviewer to tell you about the organizational culture will likely get you a regurgitation of what is posted on the website. Instead, ask questions designed to reveal specific aspects of the culture that matter most to you. If physician autonomy is especially important, ask leaders to provide examples of ways physicians are included in decision-making. Ask potential physician peers if they are free to order tests and procedures as they see fit. Request they share other examples of their clinical autonomy.  

If work-life balance and mental health are a priority, ask leaders about programs in place to prevent physician burnout. Ask about the average physician tenure, and if it seems low, find out why. When talking with physicians, ask if they feel they have adequate support and share examples of such. Does the department or clinic have enough nurses on staff? Is there a scribe on staff? How is the call schedule determined? Is management approachable when additional support is needed? When provided with answers, listen not just to the speaker’s words, but also notice how comfortable he or she seems when talking about the topic. 

Observe Workplace Culture

Of course, words are one thing, but actions tell a more complete story. Use your time on site to observe as much as you can about the culture. Do people seem generally positive and at ease? How do physicians interact with leadership and each other? How do they treat support staff? When discussing the patient community, is everyone respectful? 

Spend as much time as you can with people working at all levels of the organization and trust your instincts. If you see any red flags, keep digging until you get to the truth. 

Trust Your Recruiter

No one knows more about an organization’s reputation than a recruiter. They know from the candidates they’ve placed whether or not the organization follows through on the promises they make during the interview process. While it’s true that your recruiter is paid by the healthcare organization, it is in everyone’s best interests to find a candidate who is both a clinical and cultural fit for the client as both are strong predictors of long-term physician retention.

Leverage Multiple Channels to Learn About Culture 

Evaluating a potential employer’s workplace culture is a critical part of the physician job search process. Be sure to use every channel available to you to learn as much as you can. Conduct online research prior to attending the interview. Prepare thoughtful questions designed to reveal the aspects of culture that are most important to you. Tailor each question to the specific person you are meeting with, depending on their position within the organization. Observe the behavior of those you meet, as well as the surrounding staff and even the patients. If you pick up on any tension, do your best to find out more. After you have seen and heard as much as possible, ask your recruiter to share what he or she knows about the culture of the organization. The recruiter will want to ensure alignment between you and the client, so he or she should be honest and transparent. Use this information, along with your observations and instincts, and you are sure to make the right decision.

If you are searching for a physician job, it is extremely helpful to work with a recruiter who can offer insight into the cultures of organizations that interest you. At Jackson Physician Search, we have offices in four different regions, and our regional recruitment teams would be more than happy to share what they know about the employers in the area. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.


3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

When “physician job search” is on your to-do list, it can be hard to know where to begin. So, in an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started…

rural physician


7 Reasons You Might Be Happier in a Rural Physician Job

For those seeking a better work-life balance, more time with patients, lower cost of living, and potentially higher compensation, one option is increasingly attractive–rural physician jobs…

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3 Reasons To Expand Your Physician Job Search


As Dr. L enters his final year of training as a sports medicine fellow, he is excited to begin his physician job search in Chicago. He plans to move back to the neighborhood where he grew up, and he already has his eye on a physician-owned practice that works with a few of the area’s sports teams. Of course, he will consider other opportunities in Chicago, but he keeps reading about the physician shortage, so he assumes he will have multiple offers from which to choose. 

Are Dr. L’s physician job search expectations realistic? He is certainly right about the physician shortage. The latest data from AAMC projects the nation will experience a shortage of up to 48,000 primary care physicians and an additional 77,100 non-primary care specialists by the year 2034. So, in light of this news, physicians should feel confident in their ability to find a job…as long as they keep an open mind about how and where they practice. 

The demand for physicians varies greatly by specialty and location. For Dr. L, the need for physicians trained in sports medicine in Chicago will not be as high as the need for primary care physicians–and the need in Chicago may not be as great as the need in the upper Midwest. Does this mean he should give up on his dream of working with athletes and building a sports medicine practice in the Windy City? Not necessarily–but there are some worthwhile reasons he should remain open to other locations and types of physician jobs. 

If you are like Dr. L and have a very specific idea of how and where your physician career should progress, we propose the following three reasons to consider broadening your physician job search parameters.

1. Higher Physician Compensation 

With the cost of living generally higher in major metros, one might assume physician compensation would also be higher. However, healthcare organizations in urban areas have far more physician applicants than those in less populated regions. So, employers in bigger cities may not offer as many incentives to attract quality physicians. Even the salary guarantee may be on the lower end. In an article for the NEJM Career Center, JPS President Tony Stadjahar reports an average pay difference of 5%-10% more at rural organizations. However, considering the lower cost of living in rural areas, the impact may be far more than the percentage indicates.   

Okay, so physicians seeking jobs in urban areas may not see as many incentives as those searching in rural areas, but when building a practice, the earning potential is likely much bigger in a more populated area, right? Not necessarily. The higher population does not equate to a higher volume of patients due to the saturation of the market.

“For most physicians, location is the biggest driver of their job search,” says Tara Osseck, VIce President of Recruiting for Jackson Physician Search’s Midwest Division. “They are so focused on a specific city, but they’ll often find the market is saturated, so their earning potential is not what they hoped.”

Bigger cities have a higher volume of physicians of every specialty, so patients have more options. For this reason, it may actually be harder to build a solid patient base and earn a competitive income in an urban area.  

Takeaway: If compensation is a top priority, consider expanding your search outside of major metro areas.  

2. Less Competition 

The physician shortage is a well-documented threat to our nation’s healthcare infrastructure, and yet, it may not feel like there is a shortage when competing for jobs in a major metro area. Many physicians focus their job search on one city and find themselves competing with other physicians who have their minds made up about the same location. These physicians will find significantly less competition if they broaden their geographical search parameters. 

But location isn’t the only area to expand. Physicians who are set on a certain scope or type of practice will run into more competition than those who are flexible about the types of patients they see. For example, Dr. L is completing a fellowship in sports medicine, so of course he wants to limit his scope of practice to this field. But the demand for sports medicine physicians is far less than the need for physicians who are willing to see a wider variety of patients. 

“The biggest need right now is for physicians who can be flexible and provide a wide scope of practice,” says Director of Recruiting, Katie Moeller. “Of course it’s okay to share your preferences for the types of patients you hope to see, but a willingness to take cases outside of your sub-specialization will make you a more attractive candidate.” 

If Dr. L plans to only pursue sports medicine jobs, the opportunities will be few and the competition will be high. On the other hand, if he agrees to treat cases that were aligned with his residency training too, he will find more physician job openings and far less competition.

Takeaway: If your physician job search is stalling, it may be due to high competition for the jobs to which you are applying. Consider broadening your job search parameters to include more opportunities that may be less competitive. 

3. More Rewarding

While physician compensation is extremely important, most physicians also enjoy the personal rewards that come with improving the lives of patients. The feeling of goodwill that comes with acts of service may be compounded in physicians working in medically underserved areas. While these could be urban or rural, it’s worth considering the benefits of practicing rural medicine when you think about expanding your physician job search outside of urban areas. 

In a joint study from LocumTenens.com and Jackson Physician Search on Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing, rural physicians reported the most common reason for choosing to practice in a rural area was improved work-life balance, followed closely by higher compensation, and a more affordable cost of living. So in addition to the satisfaction of treating the underserved, a healthy work-life balance and a reduced chance of burnout are rewards that few physicians in urban areas can claim. 

The Takeaway: Keep an open mind about the various directions your physician career could take. You may find greater happiness in unexpected places. 

While it’s normal to have a vision of the type of practice you want to build and where you want to live, it’s important to keep an open mind and investigate opportunities outside of your current vision. Work with a trusted physician recruiter who will take the time to get to know you and understand what it is you want most in a job. If this recruiter presents you with an opportunity they think will be a good fit, trust their instincts and give it the consideration it deserves.

If you are a physician preparing for a job search, talk to the healthcare industry professionals at Jackson Physician Search. Our recruiters have the experience and nationwide network to help you find the opportunity that best fits your personal and professional needs. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.


5 physician job search mistakes

[Infographic Guide] 5  Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

Physicians make several common mistakes in the job search that can keep them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. This infographic shows you how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes…

3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search

Whether you are working crazy resident hours or just trying to keep up with your current physician job, it can be hard to find time to make your job search a priority. In an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started.

Start Your Job Search

Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.

3 Things You Need to Start Your Physician Job Search


Whether you are working crazy resident hours or just scrambling to keep up with your current physician job, chances are you simply don’t have enough hours in your day to focus on your physician job search. Your perception isn’t wrong–you are likely busier than most people you know! And yet, somehow you must make time to search for your first (or next) physician job. 

When “job search” is on your to-do list, it can be hard to know where to begin. So, in an effort to make it more manageable, we’re assigning three tasks to get you started. Don’t waste any more time scrolling physician job boards until you have the following three things completed, polished, and ready to submit as needed. 

1. An Impressive Physician CV

The task of writing a CV may sound daunting, but again, if you break it into sections, it shouldn’t be difficult. Start with a blank page in Word or Google docs and beneath your name and contact information (address, phone, and email), list the following headings followed by the relevant details: 

Start with the most recent institution (provide the full name and location) and work backward. Include the years of study, degree earned, areas of focus, special qualifications, and distinctions. 

Again, start with the most recent and work backward listing places of employment, locations, and dates. Use bullets to briefly describe your accomplishments in the role, noting procedure and patient volumes, administrative duties, leadership roles, or committee memberships. Offer a concise explanation for any gaps in employment.  

Note states where you are currently licensed and the status of any applications. Also include board certification or status.

If applicable, list any awards, honors, or professional affiliations. 

If applicable, list publications and presentations.

Your CV is your first chance to impress a recruiter, so it should accurately (and concisely) reflect your professional accomplishments. It should also include personal details relevant to your job search, such as citizenship and/or visa requirements. Proofread your CV for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Some recruiters may assume that sloppiness on the CV could mean sloppiness on the job. 

2. A Targeted Cover Letter

When applying for jobs online, a cover letter may not seem necessary, but avoid the temptation to skip this important step. The cover letter is your chance to provide context for your CV and show the recruiter who you are and why you are interested in the job. 

“Broaden your thinking about what a ‘cover letter’ should be,” says JPS Director of Recruiting Katie Moeller. “It could be an email, a few sentences at the top of your CV, or a short paragraph copied into an online ATS. Don’t worry about the format, but focus on its purpose–to introduce your CV, outline what you are looking for, or explain why you are a good fit for a particular job.”

A good cover letter is crafted in response to a specific job opening and notes the reasons for your interest in that particular job. However, in preparation for your physician job search, you should craft a cover letter template that can be adapted for the individual opportunities to which you are applying. 

While each cover letter must be specific to the opportunity, there are a few standards to apply in every scenario: 

  • Express enthusiasm for the opportunity and note why it is appealing to you
  • Highlight any skills or experiences that are especially relevant to the job for which you are applying
  • If necessary, request confidentiality
  • Be concise
  • Follow business etiquette, but do not be overly formal
  • Proofread for typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors

3. A List of Professional References 

Of course, you have people who can vouch for you, so you may think there is no need to spend time preparing a list of references. And while you don’t need it when first submitting an application, it is worth taking the time now to think through who should be on your list and contact them and ask if they are willing to take calls from prospective employers. If you compile this list before it is needed, you will keep the application process moving forward without delay–something that benefits both you and your potential employer.

Katie Moeller agrees. “Candidates shouldn’t include references on the CV,” she says, ‘However, it’s helpful when they have already prepared a list of references who are ready and willing to be contacted by potential employers. Those references should be prepared to take calls from unknown numbers and respond to email requests.”  

So first things first, who should you ask to be a reference? You want to provide a variety of sources. You will need to include a recent supervisor or manager as well as a physician peer or even an advanced practice provider who you have worked well with.  Other impressive references would be administrators or the chair or chief of medicine at your training program.

Reach out to each potential reference and ask their permission to share their contact information with potential employers who may reach out to them. Confirm that they are willing to respond to these inquiries. You may also want to tell them a little about your job search–why you are looking and the type of employment you are seeking. If you know you will be working to overcome objections–job hopping or gaps in employment–you may want to share your explanation for those issues so they can reinforce your messaging.

Once you have these three things polished and ready to submit, you are ready to set up job alerts, scroll physician job boards, and reach out to a physician recruiter. Of course, if you need further guidance with any of these steps, a recruiter at Jackson Physician Search would be happy to help. Contact us today or download the Physician Job Search Playbook for everything you need to know to get started.


5 physician job search mistakes

[Infographic Guide] 5  Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid

Physicians make several common mistakes in the job search that can keep them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. This infographic shows you how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes…

5 Things to Know About Telemedicine Jobs

Patients are thrilled with telemedicine, in many cases, they prefer it to the experience of seeing a provider in person! So, how do physicians feel about telehealth? And what do you need to know if you plan to practice telemedicine?

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[Infographic Guide] 5 Physician Job Search Mistakes to Avoid


After applying to medical school, residencies, and fellowships, most physician candidates are well-versed at the submission and interview process. However, this doesn’t mean they aren’t prone to make mistakes. They know better than to make the typical job search mistakes–typos on a CV, social media blunders, showing up late to an interview–but rather, it’s the less obvious mistakes that can derail them from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take a job that isn’t a good fit. Keep reading to learn how to avoid these common physician job search mistakes.


5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Physician Job Search

These common job search mistakes can keep physicians from getting the job they want, or more likely, cause them to take jobs that aren’t a good fit. Keep reading to find out how to avoid these 5 physician job search mistakes.  

Physician Job Search Mistake #1: Starting Too Late

Physicians who start their job search early will have more options than those who wait until the last minute. JPS Vice President of Recruiting Tara Osseck advises residents: 

“Allow at least one year for a physician job search.”

Allow more than one year if: 

  • You require J-1 visa support
  • A specific location is top priority
  • Your specialty is highly-recruited


Physician Job Search Mistake #2: Limiting Your Search

Physicians who insist on a narrow scope of practice or a specific city will limit their options and miss the chance to consider other, possibly better-suited, opportunities. Prioritize what’s most important to you but also identify areas of flexibility–and the more the better. 

Broaden what’s acceptable in terms of: 

  • Location 
  • Practice setting
  • Scope of practice
  • Type of organization

Physician Job Search Mistake #3: Ignoring Red Flags

Most physicians who regret their job choice admit, when looking back, there were a number of red flags. Not every red flag is a dealbreaker, but they do require further investigation.

Red flags to watch out for:

  • High turnover
  • Negativity
  • Productivity imbalances
  • Insufficient technology
  • Unclear terms
  • Vague answers

Physician Job Search Mistake #4: Discounting the Importance of Culture

A big paycheck is nice, but if your values don’t align with the people around you, your job satisfaction will suffer. Use the on-site interview to learn about the organization’s culture. 

In the Rural Physician Recruitment and Staffing Survey from JPS and LocumTenens.com, physicians ranked the following as the top 3 attributes in an employer’s culture:

  • 40% Physician autonomy 
  • 35% Teamwork 
  • 31% Patient-focused

Physician Job Search Mistake #5: Not Leveraging Available Resources 

The recruiters at Jackson Physician Search have valuable expertise to share about the job search process. Not only can they help you with the logistics of what to do and when, but JPS recruiters know their markets inside and out and can share insight about individual organizations. 

Leverage physician recruiters for advice on:

  • Job search timing
  • CV review
  • Compensation expectations
  • Organizational culture

Don’t make the mistake of going it alone. Reach out to the Jackson Physician Search Recruitment Team today.

How to Avoid the Top Mistakes Physicians Make in the Job Search

Whether you are finishing up residency or you are already working and evaluating new physician job opportunities, your physician job search is bound to present some challenges. Learn how to avoid the biggest mistakes physicians make.

6 Red Flags to Watch Out for During the Physician Interview

Physicians often accept positions without taking time to fully investigate the red flags warning the position may not be an ideal fit for their unique professional and personal goals. Here’s what to watch out for…

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Click the Search Jobs button to browse our current openings.