Reaching Potential Employers: Effective Networking Tips

Koushik Shaw, MD

Disclosures

June 28, 2019

Medical school, residency, or previous job colleagues. Physicians who went through a job search just before you will know the hot markets, highly regarded practices, and even specific job leads in your specialty. They can also give you some tips on challenging areas such as compensation, contract review, and work requirements.

Practicing physicians. You might ask physicians with whom you have worked if they know of any jobs, or if they can name others who might know. This is the classic networking tree: The physicians you know pass on your request to friends, who pass it on to their friends, and so on.

Friends and family. You can learn about jobs that have not yet been posted if a person close to you—even a nonphysician family member or friend—has contacts with an employer in which you're interested. Moreover, having a mutual acquaintance could make it easier to get an interview or even get hired.

Pharmaceutical representatives. Pharmaceutical representatives might provide valuable insights into the practices you're considering. They know which ones are planning to bring in a new partner, which have tranquil workplaces, and which may have financial problems. If you want to move to another part of the country, these representatives might be able to refer you to colleagues at that location.

Using Professional Meetings 

Physician meetings are an effective but underused way to extend your list of contacts for your job search.

Although traveling to meetings may be time-consuming, meetings of your specialty society often feature breakout sessions for job seekers, as well as booths of employers and search firms in the exhibition hall.

Medical meetings offer opportunities to meet one-on-one with physicians who run clinical practices or manage doctors in large organizations, as well as physicians who can refer you to potential employers. You also can go to job fairs held in major cities by medical societies or private companies.

If you're searching locally, attend department meetings at nearby hospitals or a county medical society meeting, where you can meet practicing physicians who can refer you to a job opportunity or valuable connection.

Call ahead and dress for the occasion. "It's a good idea to look the part," says Morgan. She suggests "professional business-casual attire—the sort of thing you'd wear under a white coat."

What Do I Say to Potential Contacts at Meetings?

You are asking for information. At this point, you are not asking for a job. Research expected contacts beforehand so you can prepare specific questions for them.

Arrive prepared. Bring copies of your CV, a list of career priorities, questions for potential employers, and a pad and pen to take notes. Carry your materials in a briefcase rather than a backpack or bag to look more professional.

Talk to people at each booth. Don't just scoop up the tchotchkes and not say a word. It's very easy to talk to people at the booths; that's what they're there for. Regard it as good preparation for other conversations at the meeting.

Have real conversations. Take your time and get to know people. Focus on meaningful topics and not superficial hellos.

Become conversant about the meeting. To spice up your conversations, check the agenda in advance and research the guest speaker, host, sponsor, and award recipients.

Exit gracefully. You want to leave on good terms, so don't fidget, look at your watch, or check your cell phone. Instead, maintain eye contact, provide your contact information, and perhaps say you want to check out some of the exhibits before they close.

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