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Know the Three P’s of Preparing for a Successful Physician Job Search

Jackson Physician Search
April 21, 2021

Launching a search for a new position is an exciting time for physicians. If you’re just completing your residency or fellowship training and this is your first physician job search, it’s a pivotal moment in your new career. And, even if you’re a more experienced physician, brushing up on your job searching skills can only help you to secure a position that best meets your career and lifestyle goals. Before you get started on your search, keep reading to learn the three P’s of preparing for a successful job search.

1. Priorities: Make Time to Define Them

Your Role

Before initiating your job search, it is important to have the end goal in sight. Knowing your priorities allows you to identify roles that offer you the best opportunity to reach your professional goals. Ask yourself:

  • Do I want to stay long-term in a patient-facing role?
  • Do I want to pursue a leadership position?
  • Do I envision starting my own practice?
  • Do I want to join a medical group or hospital as an employed physician?
  • Does teaching the next generation of physicians in an academic center sound appealing?
  • Do I strive to become a physician-researcher working on clinical research trials?

Family and Lifestyle

Deciding where to practice is a family affair. Often, physicians’ spouses or partners have a fulfilling career, making it important to consider their professional opportunities in various cities and towns. Education and proximity to family members is also a very important aspect for most physicians, especially those who have young families.

Do you have a hobby or passion that is more accessible in certain parts of the country? If you’re an avid skier, living near the mountains will likely suit you best. If long walks on the beach sound more like your style, then consider positions along America’s coasts. The moral of the story is before setting out on your job search journey, dig a little deeper into what matters the most to you and your family. But do try to consider a wide variety of locations. After all, there are hidden gems all over the U.S.

Urban Versus Rural

Another factor to consider is whether you see yourself in an urban or rural environment. Are you tired of being embroiled in the daily struggle of dealing with traffic, noise, crowds, and a higher cost of living? While there are many benefits to practicing in larger cities, there are just as many in rural areas.

Choosing to plant roots in a smaller community may make it easier to develop a more manageable work/life balance. Getting outside the hustle and bustle can also provide ample opportunities for relaxing, exploring nature, hiking, camping, and fishing just to name a few.

Success Story: Physician Finds Her “Why” in Rural Healthcare

2. Professional Network: Tap Into This Invaluable Resource

When you decide it is time to explore new career options, it is wise to include others in the process. Having a professional network is important, and for physicians, resources can be found in many places.

For starters, you are probably already a member of Doximity, the physician-centric social network that boasts over 80% of U.S. doctors as verified members. If you choose to become a member of a social networking site, like Doximity or even LinkedIn, you’ll want to get the most benefit from it. Actively participating in groups that relate to your interests or specialty is a sure way to quickly build up a network of colleagues who may be able to help you in a job search.

College professors, mentors, program directors, and others can contribute to your efforts in finding a new career opportunity. However, remember that networking is a two-way street, and you should be prepared to answer the call when one of your contacts is in a similar situation.

3. Position Your Digital Brand

Your physician brand is how you market yourself to potential employers and how you are perceived by colleagues, industry partners, and even patients.  When defining who you are as a doctor, think about all of these “customers” and how your unique attributes could appeal to each group.

Start with a brand self-assessment. Note things you are passionate about, such as family, hobbies, charities, and causes. You also want to identify the attributes and accomplishments that set you apart from others in your specialty. Think about patient engagement, leadership skills, communication and collaboration skills, and memberships and associations.

Once your brand is defined, you have to sell it. Just as patients go online to find a new doctor, it’s wise for you to focus on building your digital brand. If you are on Doximity and LinkedIn, consider creating a blog and publishing timely articles about your specialty.

Be strategic, however, as your profile for these different sites should not paint two contrasting pictures of the same person. Any online activities should serve to clearly support your physician brand. Another effective idea is to create a YouTube channel and post short, visual snippets demonstrating your skills, interests, and abilities. Video is a great medium to highlight your personality, which directly translates to your “bedside manner.”

Preparing for Success: Checklist


Professional Network

  • Reach out to a mentor or trusted colleague for advice.
  • Think about who you know that can help you get a foot in the door.
  • Identify physician recruitment firms and visit their job boards.
  • Attend physician career fairs and connect with recruiters.

Position Your Digital Brand

  • Reflect on the things that shape you and that you are most passionate about. Consider this.
  • The results of your self-assessment are the components of your brand.
  • Work on your digital footprint. Post a blog article or video to show off your personality and skills.

If you are a new physician or find you’re ready for a new job opportunity, Jackson Physician Search has an experienced team of recruitment professionals who can help you find the practice setting that is right for you. Contact us today and learn about the difference we can make in your job search. You can also search jobs now.

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