You're a physician and you're a mom? Mind blown. Many people cannot handle their 9 to 5 job everyday, and you're a practicing clinician and managing children? Seriously. That's lot of work. And if you're still in training, you're about to add job searching to your to-do list! The job search process is tedious, lengthy, and if you're going to be comprehensive and thorough about it, it can take quite a long time!
Needless to say, this can all be a bit overwhelming. But nothing some good, old-fashioned organization can't handle. So we wanted to put together a step-by-step job seach timeline for those of you out there who love a good list that can be checked off as you go (imagine the feeling of accomplishment that will come with each check mark!). Here goes...
- Of course, you first have to identify the geographic regions you are interested in. If you don’t have particular cities in mind, then make a list of important features of a desirable location to live. Do you want to have various outdoor activities available? Maybe you would like to live somewhere with excellent public schools. Each and every component of daily life should be considered. Once you have a good idea of the important features, you can move on to identifying cities that meet your criteria.
- Next, you have to find ALL employers who offer your specialty of medical care. Do not stop at what is posted on job websites. Many times jobs are filled by word of mouth and never make it to a job posting board, so don’t miss out on what might be a more desirable job. Research all employers that could employ someone with your training and background. Find the contact information for the person to whom you need to send your information. If you haven’t done this yet, get started TODAY!
- The all-important cover letter! Draft a cover letter that expresses your interest in the particular employer, and explains why you would be a good fit for them. The cover letter should give helpful and insightful information about how your training makes you a valuable asset, and why you are attracted to the potential employer.
- Next, fine-tune your CV. Make sure it is completely up to date, listing all publications, your residency completion date, where you are currently in fellowship, and your new contact information. Including a permanent email address is a good idea, rather than one associated with your current training program.
- Then, disperse your cover letter and CV to all potential employers. This step can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, but it is KEY. It is a great idea to make sure you’ve sent your information to all potential employers at one time. This should happen in September or October at the latest. This will help keep you on track for well-timed phone calls and interviews. Having your interviews bunched up into a narrow time frame will help ensure that job offers come in around the same time, which will allow you to use the multiple job offers to negotiate for better terms.
- Conduct more in-depth research about potential employers who have shown interest in you and with whom you are set to interview. When an interview is coming up, it is best to know more about about the potential employer and use that information to develop a list of thoughtful questions you can ask during your in-person interview. Hopefully your interviews take place somewhere around October-November.
- Once you have completed interviews, and job offers have come in, have them reviewed by a physician employment contract lawyer. Ideally you have at least 2 job offers in hand. Have them reviewed by a lawyer who frequently reviews physician job contracts so that you can be sure you are getting the most relevant feedback. That way, you will know what to ask for when it comes time to negotiate.
- Once you have identified key points in your physician employment agreement, it’s time to start negotiating. Physicians commonly tend to shy away from asking for changes to their employment agreements, but do not be bashful! You do not want to find out later that another colleague, hired by your employer, received higher compensation or better legal terms. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, ask your lawyer to do it for you! Trust me- it’s very common- I do it all the time!
- After changes to the contract have been agreed, you need to review any new version of the contract and make sure all is in writing. Do not fall for the ‘ol “it’s fine, this is our standard contract, we don’t need to put any of this in the contract.” Once all is as it should be in your physician employment agreement, you can sign it! The contract review/negotiation/re-review/signing step of this process should ideally take place between December-March. Unfortunately, the going back and forth can take months.
- Finally- apply for your new license if you’re moving to a new state. We always recommend this process begins in March or April as many states can take a LONG time to approve a license application. You will need your new license number in order to begin the credentialing process so that your new employer can begin billing for your services. As you can imagine, it’s best for everyone if the credentialing is finished by the time you start your job, which will likely be August or September. And just like that, the year has gone by.
So as you can see, this process takes a long time. Typically 8-12 months if you’re going to do it right. The last thing you want is to procrastinate and wind up in April with only one job offer, and then you have zero leverage because you MUST take a job somewhere. So I suggest you start today!!