There is a shortage of physicians in the U.S., and when you’re in demand, finding a job is fairly easy to do. But finding the right job is a different story.
Navigating the medical job market, especially as a new physician just out of residency, can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to make it a little bit easier so that you can find the job that’s the right fit for you.
Consider Different Practice Settings
Hospitals, solo practices, group practices, community clinics, academic settings … There are many different workplace settings physicians can choose from. As you embark on your job search, consider these various workplace settings and what the pros and cons of working in each may be.
For example, if you think you’ll love the hectic, fast-paced environment of a hectic hospital in a big city, keep in mind that such an employer might require more on-call hours, or require you to work nights, weekends, and holidays. If you’re looking for a better work-life balance with traditional Monday to Friday 9-5 hours, a small group practice may be the better option for you.
Not sure which practice setting is right for you?
Consider working in temporary locum tenens positions to test out various workplace settings and locations before taking on a full-time opportunity.
Research Potential Employers
Even if the role and workplace is exactly what you’re looking for, do your due diligence and research the specific employer to make sure that they’re a good fit for you.
Workplace culture varies from employer to employer, as do burnout rates, turnover rates, and physician stress levels. Tap into your professional network or connect with current or former employees online to learn as much as you possibly can about the employer.
When you identify potential employers that seem like they could be a great fit, take special care when crafting your cover letter. While your CV details your professional experience and education, your cover letter is an opportunity to let the employer know why you want to work for them and why you’re the right fit.
Not sure what to include in your cover letter?
Checkout this guide to learn how to create a physician cover letter that will land you an interview.
Know What You’re Worth
Physician salaries range considerably depending on your specialty, location, practice setting, level of experience, and other factors. Before you even start looking for a position, do your research so that you know what a fair salary is.
As a young physician just out of residency, it’s easy to get excited about any job that will finally pay you a real “doctor’s salary.” But depending on where that position is and what your duties and responsibilities will be, you may be able to command an even higher salary than you think.
Understand the Different Compensation Models
Physician employers use various compensation models, such as:
- Straight salary
- Salary plus bonuses
- Productivity-based compensation
- Equality/equal share compensation
No matter what salary you’re offered, it’s important to understand these compensation models and how they can affect your income.
For example, with an equal share compensation model, all physicians in the practice earn the same amount, even if some are far more productive than others. With a productivity-based model, you can earn far more just by working longer hours or seeing more patients each week.
Each compensation model has pros and cons. This article from The New England Journal of Medicine goes into greater detail about what each compensation model is and how each one works.
Consider the Location
Underserved areas with a large physician shortage tend to pay higher salaries, but don’t let income be your only determining factor when accepting a job.
While a position in a rural location may pay considerably more than a similar one in a bustling city, you should seriously consider whether or not you’ll be happy living in that particular location. If you love city or suburban life, moving to a rural area may not be the best choice for you.
Interviews aren’t just a way for potential employers to get to know about you — they’re an opportunity for you to learn about them as well.
No matter how ideal the job may seem or how perfect of a fit you think you are, always ask questions. Learn as much as you can about the employer, how they work, and what your role will entail so that you can make a more informed decision if offered the position.
Hire a Contract Review Lawyer
Unless you’re a contracts expert — and most physicians are not — you’ll want to hire a contract review lawyer to thoroughly review your contract before you sign it.
Contract review lawyers check to see that all the terms of your contract are fair for your experience level and location. They’ll also look to determine if you’re getting all of the bonuses, incentives, and benefits you deserve. No matter how perfect a job may seem, do not sign an employment contract without hiring an expert to review it.
Since physicians can work in a variety of different practice settings and all sorts of geographical locations, determining what the “right job” is can take some trial and error. But with these tips and tricks in mind, landing the perfect position can be easier than you may think.