Over the past few years I have traveled to multiple physician specialty shows where I meet with residents at different stages of training. One question I always ask residents is, "Have you started looking at opportunities yet?"‌ Usually more than half of these residents admit that they should have started but haven't yet. There's also a small percentage that tell me they're not worried about searching for jobs because they are just going to stay with their current program.

Planning on staying with your current training program is great if you can do it, but that's not an option for everyone. Some residents count on staying with their hospital, but the hospital is not planning on keeping that resident after training. Just like when you were applying to medical school or residency, it is always a good idea to have a plan-b. If you are planning to stay at the hospital after training, make sure you are applying to the opportunity early on or speaking with your program coordinator about available positions.

No opportunity will just be handed to you, so go to your hospital or organization's website to see open opportunities for your specialty. Apply to the opportunity that you are wanting about 12-18 months prior to your desired start date. This will give you plenty of time to plan out interviews, negotiate your contract, and get credentialed prior to your desired start date. Starting earlier rather than later will also help give you an edge over your peers that may be procrastinating applying and give you time to search for other opportunities if you do not land the position you wanted.

So, what steps do you need to take to apply?

Prepare your CV. Even though you've been working at the hospital in training, you are still expected to submit your CV like other candidates. Some hospitals do not integrate their training program with their recruitment department, so the recruiter(s) may not know much about you other than you are a resident with the organization. This means that your CV is just as important as it is when you apply to other organizations.

Search and apply to the opportunity that matches your career preferences. Like mentioned before you may need to go to the hospital's website to search for opportunities. You can also connect with physician recruiters in the organization to see what opportunities they have available.

Remember you are not entitled to any opportunity. Do not look at having to apply or interview to an opportunity as a formality. You may think that the interview is a formality by the hospital, but that's not the case. You are required to interview just like any other candidate, so make sure that you are preparing for the interview. Be prepared to provide documents like your CV, reference letters, or publications to the recruiter.

Physician recruiters have a goal of getting the best physician for the hospital and the position. This can be you or it may be another physician. If you apply or interview for an opportunity at your current organization and do not receive it, that does not necessarily mean that they do not want you at that hospital, but there may have been a more qualified candidate. If you've applied for multiple positions and continuously are turned down, then you should start exploring other options outside of your current organization.

Hayley Woszczynski

Hayley Woszczynski - Physician & Program Relations Manager. You can stay connected with me on LinkedIn for all of the latest PracticeMatch articles and upcoming events.