Reaching Potential Employers: Effective Networking Tips

Koushik Shaw, MD

Disclosures

June 28, 2019

Keep a log of job leads. Include names, contact information, dates of important conversations, and what was discussed. It will help you remember whom you spoke with, topics that were addressed, and what the next steps should be.

Using Job Boards

You can find a slew of possible jobs by consulting job boards—job search engines found primarily on the Internet. These sources are free and enable you to target preferred jobs by entering keywords based on specialty and location. You can also set up regular email and text alerts providing you with the latest job opportunities.

Types of Job Boards

Job boards run by medical societies and journals were considered useful by 62% of job seekers, according to a 2011 New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) CareerCenter survey.[1] This survey also found that a smaller percentage of job searchers (46%) valued commercial job boards run by companies that aggregate available jobs for physicians. On websites run by the NEJM, JAMA, or by specialty and subspecialty societies, look for "career center" or a similar term.

Physician search firms such as Merritt Hawkins and Jackson & Coker post jobs on their websites. Large employers such as Humana, Tenet Healthcare, HCA Healthcare, and Kaiser Permanente provide extensive lists of available positions online. On some sites, you can create an alert by entering keywords, such as "physician urology Denver" or "ob/gyn job San Diego."

Should You Post Your CV on Job Boards?

Many commercial job boards ask you to download your CV to the site so that potential employers can see it. Indeed, some physicians have obtained jobs this way, but there are several reasons why you may not want to do this, including:

  • You will receive a lot of spam email from employers and recruiters.

  • A generic CV may give employers the impression that you aren't very choosy—and perhaps even a little desperate.

  • It may be difficult to update a downloaded CV.

  • You might be better off customizing your CV for each employer, emphasizing your strengths that meet the needs of that employer.

Morgan points out, "If you're in a broad and high-demand specialty and the job board gets a lot of traffic, posting your CV could lead to a deluge of undifferentiated inquiries. But if you're in a narrow specialty and can post on a targeted board, such as those associated with a specialty society or your college, it may help recruiters or physician owners who are looking for your exact background find you."

Making Use of Your Personal Contacts

The NEJM CareerCenter survey indicates that personal contacts were rated useful by 88% of job seekers—far higher than any other networking method. This is so because:

  • Most physician jobs are never posted, so the only way you can find out about them is through personal contacts.

  • Even if a job will eventually be posted, you could find out about it before that time.

  • Establishing a connection with employers improves your chances of getting the job. All else being equal, employers prefer to give jobs to people whom they know and trust, and personal connections help establish these qualities.

Personal contacts can be helpful at every stage of a job search. If you haven't decided on a location, contacts can help pinpoint hot markets. If you have a location in mind, they can help you find a job there. And if you want to evaluate a job or employer, they might be able to give you some insights.

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