Four Tips for Physicians Starting a New Job Search

Considering a change in employer? Here are four tips to get you started on the path to finding the right match for you.

There are times in any job when you just feel stuck. You know it's not the right fit, that you're never going to be happy where you are, and that things won't get better unless you move on. But what can you do? After spending years at a practice, the thought of finding a new job can seem overwhelming, if not frightening.

If you are a physician and ' thinking about a change, here are a few tips to help you start your search.

1. Decide what you're looking for. Looking for a new job is often a result of experiencing what you don't want in a job. But don't forget that it's just as important to pin down what you do want. Make a list of what's most important to you in terms of things like pay, location, work-life balance, and clinical opportunities. Because any employment change requires some give and take, make sure you know which items on the list are essential, versus just "nice to have." It's also important to make sure that all the decision makers in your life have the opportunity share their priorities before you get too serious about finding a new job.

2. Get your paperwork in order. If you're going to test the job market, you'll need to have your paperwork together. That means updating your CV and references. Remember that your CV must include every facility you've worked at during your career, so it's a good idea to set aside some time to track down facility and supervisor addresses and phone numbers. You'll also need to update your references. Make sure that you have current contact information for each reference and that you've given them a heads up that an employer could be calling. This should go without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Only list references who would actually recommend you for a job. (You'd be surprised how many physicians forget this very important step.)

3. Get serious about interviewing. We all know that healthcare is constantly evolving. As reimbursement becomes more closely tied to patient satisfaction scores, hospitals and practices are looking for physicians who not only have great clinical skills, but who have a personality to match the facility's culture. They're looking for doctors with strong leadership skills, who can collaborate with other employees and get along with patients.

The interview is your chance to sell your soft skills. Opinions are formed within the first few seconds of meeting a new person, so it's important to be to warm, engaging, and interested. Come to an interview with a good understanding of the employer. Do some homework and learn about the employer's needs and goals and then be prepared to discuss the value you can bring to the team. Remember that an interview is a two-way street. Make sure you are asking the right questions and meeting the right people to determine if the position is right for you.

4. Ask for help. Searching for a job can be stressful. Luckily, you don't have to do it alone. Working with a staffing agency not only takes away headaches like licensing, credentialing, and privileging, but also gives you access and insight into employers that you may not have otherwise - ranging from workplace culture (including problems to be aware of) to typical hours and benefits. It’s also important to note that many open jobs are listed via staffing companies before they are made public, if they are made public at all.   

Change is never easy - and finding a new job can represent a huge change. If you take it one step at a time, you'll find searching for a new job is not as daunting as it seems. And once you find the right job, it will all be worth it.