Will you be launching a physician job search in 2024? Studies reported that more than half of physicians actively sought new opportunities during the pandemic. For various reasons, physicians, like workers in many industries, seemed more likely to seek change during the pandemic, leading to what became known as the Great Resignation. While the Great Resignation appears to have subsided, many physicians still report feeling unsatisfied in their current positions. If you are among this group, you may benefit from these physician job search tips.
Of course, feeling unsatisfied in a current job isn’t the only reason to begin a physician job search. Perhaps you are a resident or fellow planning your next step, or your family needs to relocate. As Vice President of Recruitment for Jackson Physician Search’s Eastern Division, I talk to physicians daily who are considering physician jobs — either in an active search or simply exploring their options. Whatever your reason for launching a physician job search in 2024, you’ll want to keep reading for step-by-step physician job search tips designed to ease the process.
1. Know What You Want
Begin your physician job search by clearly defining your goals. Depending on where you are in your career, this step may require some research to understand your options. For example, you may seek out information from mentors about the differences between private practice and health system employment. Knowing what you want regarding a practice model will significantly increase your chances of finding a first physician job that lasts. A recent MGMA and Jackson Physician Search study found the practice model to be the number one reason early career physicians leave their first jobs. So, do your research, and then, once you have a clear idea of what you want, document the type of practice you will pursue, your preferred work setting, and target locations. A well-defined career objective will guide your search and help you focus on opportunities that align with your aspirations. That said, keep an open mind and be willing to make adjustments if necessary.
2. Draft and Organize Job Search Documents
Craft an impressive curriculum vitae (CV) to showcase your professional background and training. Tailor your CV to highlight relevant experiences, skills, and achievements. Include details about your education, certifications, licensure, and any specialized training that sets you apart from other candidates. You will also need a custom cover letter for each opportunity to which you apply, but you can proactively prepare a template to use each time and edit accordingly. You should also reach out to anyone you plan to use as a reference and ask if you may share his or her contact details with potential employers. Confirm you have their best number and email address, and prepare a list to be ready when needed. Organizing these job search documents in advance will ease the application process.
3. Visit Physician Job Boards and Set Up Job Alerts
Explore physician job boards and other websites dedicated to physician recruitment and physician networking. The Jackson Physician Search job board is a great place to start, as well as specialty-focused job sites, professional association job boards, and networking sites such as LinkedIn and Doximity. Use advanced search filters to view the most relevant jobs, then set up job alerts to notify you when new jobs that match your search criteria are posted.
4. Leverage Your Network
There’s truth to the saying, “It’s not what you know but who you know.” The old adage still resonates because it’s often past colleagues, mentors, or former classmates who can lead you to your next opportunity — and not always in the way you might expect. Recruiters often reach out to physicians about opportunities only to have them say it’s not for them, but they know someone who might be a fit. It happens all the time.
Contact individuals in your network and let them know you are seeking a new physician job. Attend conferences, seminars, and other events to expand your professional network and reconnect with existing peers. Don’t forget about alumni networks, and of course, if you are still in training, leverage your program’s career services office for support.
5. Engage a Physician Recruiter
It’s never too early to reach out to a recruiter and let them know you are considering a new physician job. These professionals can help you better understand the physician recruitment process and help you manage your expectations. A good physician recruiter will take the time to get to know you and ask about your goals and priorities. With that in mind, they can advise on which opportunities suit you best.
Physician recruiters know their markets well and can often share insight into working at the various groups and healthcare systems in their regions. An experienced physician recruiter can be an invaluable resource with endless physician job search tips.
6. Research Potential Employers
Identify organizations that interest you and research accordingly. Use their websites, social channels, and recruiter expertise to glean information about their reputations, work cultures, staff turnover, patient demographics, and any available physician reviews. Keep an open mind as you conduct research, and take note of any areas you’d like to learn more about if given the opportunity.
7. Prepare for the Physician Interview
Take some time to prepare answers for common physician interview questions and be ready to discuss your training, skills, experience, and why you are a good fit for the position. Highlight your ability to work in a team, communicate effectively, and provide high-quality patient care. Almost as important as how you answer questions are the questions you ask during the interview. Prepare a list of questions covering topics such as staff turnover, physician onboarding and support, career development, and any other areas that are important to you.
8. Manage Compensation Expectations
Do some research about physician compensation in your specialty and market. You may hear about physicians receiving six-figure signing bonuses, but this may not be the norm in your target location. A physician recruiter in your region can share market data so you know what to expect.
Of course, recruitment incentives are just one small piece of the total physician compensation package. In the past, we have elaborated on things to consider when evaluating compensation, but the key takeaway is to ask questions until you fully understand how your paycheck will be calculated and how much you can expect to earn, not just in year one but year two, three, and beyond.
9. Maintain Flexibility
While it’s important to know what you want in a physician job, it’s equally important that you remain flexible and open to alternatives, especially if your job search is stalling. A good physician recruiter will tell you if it’s time to expand your physician job search parameters and consider other options. Trust your recruiter and keep an open mind as you evaluate opportunities.
Physicians are in high demand, but this doesn’t mean the physician job search is easy. Finding a physician job that meets your needs may take time, so be patient and persistent. Follow these 9 physician job search tips, and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from mentors, career advisors, and a trusted physician recruiter.
Whether you are launching your first physician job search in 2024, simply seeking a new opportunity, or looking to wind down your career, the team at Jackson Physician Search is eager to find out what you are looking for and help you identify opportunities that will be the best fit. Reach out to a recruiter today or search for physician jobs online now.
About Neal Waters
Neal’s career in retained physician search began more than 15 years ago. Early on, he recognized the strain an entire community feels when there is a shortage of physicians to meet patient demand. Since his first successful placement, Neal’s passion for identifying the best providers for each healthcare organization with which he recruits has grown.
Neal serves as Regional Vice President of Recruiting. In his role, he serves as a mentor to a growing team of Jackson Physician Search recruiters. He also enjoys collaborating with in-house recruiters dedicated to optimizing their physician recruitment and candidate acquisition strategies. Likewise, Neal specializes in helping physicians, especially residents and those early in their careers, advance their professional careers by finding the right fit.