I bet you’re proud of accomplishing your MD, or D.O., or MBBCh (that was mine in South Africa!) . I certainly am. You may be equally proud of that medical school you challenged yourself to get into.
We worked very hard to earn these degrees, and they prove something, right?
Yes, they do. If you’re in the doctoring business.
However, if you’re looking to transition out of life as a practicing physician into a nonclinical physician career position or opportunity. The answer is closer to a “no”!
My words may come as a surprise, but Gallup research from 2013 shows that when hiring, the majority of US business leaders indicate that the amount of experience and knowledge the candidate has in the area of the job under consideration, and the applied skills needed for the job are more important factors than what a candidate’s major was, or where he or she attended school.
What does this mean for you?
As you embark on the journey towards your physician career change, it’s natural that you want to emphasize your MD or equivalent, and perhaps even play up the medical school you attended to convince the listener of your intelligence and capacity for hard work. Sadly, your prospective employer is unlikely to care!z
The one key secret to successfully transitioning into a nonclinical career is to be able to articulate, and demonstrate through example, the skills and competencies you have that match the requirements of the job.
Top of the list for most nonclinical physician positions that are not highly technical are your transferable skills. Transferable skills are those skills that are not position-specific and are used in settings throughout the organization. They include:
– cross-cultural skills
– strategic vision
– grasp of information technology etc.
And these are the transferable skills I encourage you to actively focus on developing, right now, even as you continue with your clinical work, while surreptitiously plotting your physician career transition into a nonclinical role!
Next time, I will write about how to develop a “career branding” approach to physician career change, especially for the non-clinical career you have your heart set on.