Reaching Potential Employers: Effective Networking Tips

Koushik Shaw, MD

Disclosures

June 28, 2019

Indeed, which is mainly a job-posting site, also runs reviews of many healthcare organizations. For large institutions with many reviews, such as Kaiser Permanente, it summarizes reviews on a scale of 1 to 5, broken down by compensation and benefits, work-life balance, culture, job security, and management. It also shows polls of users on work culture: Is it balanced or stressful? Competitive or relaxed?

In addition, you can consult Yelp reviews on individual physicians. However, take these reviews with a grain of salt; they may be posted by patients who simply have a grudge against the physician.

You can also learn about an employer by looking at its website. Browse the organization's mission statement, news releases, physician profiles, and in some cases, annual reports.

Conducting Your Own Job Search 

Many employers don't bother to post positions if they're not in a hurry to fill them or they're confident they'll find someone easily. Yes, there is a shortage of physicians throughout much of the United States, but depending on the specialty, there is a glut of physicians looking for jobs in many large cities.

To find unposted jobs, focus on the places you want to work. Make a list of the organizations you prefer, find the correct contact people on their websites—such as the head of a department or a recruiter—and call that person. During the initial call you might say, "Hello, my name is Dr X. I'm new to the area and was wondering whether you need a [your specialty]. If you're interested, I can send you my CV."

If your focus is a particular area rather than a particular job, do a Google search for practices, hospitals, or other organizations in that area.

Choosing the Best Communication Method

Should you send job inquires via email or regular mail? Morgan advises doing your best to determine the recipient's preference—either based on what's in the posting, if you're responding to one, or by calling the office. "Most people likely prefer email," she says, "but some might be reluctant to distribute their email address."

If you're feeling ambitious, assemble a list of organizations in a particular area and mail or fax your CV and cover letter to their in-house recruiters. To get a full list of in-house recruiters at hospitals and large practices in the area, go on the Association for Advancing Physician and Provider Recruitment website and fill out a request form.

One or two weeks later, send another letter or make a phone call. You can expect an overall response rate of 1%-2%, or as high as 4%. That means if you mail or fax 1000 letters, you could receive as many as 40 replies.

Still, one-on-one contacts often offer the biggest payoffs. As Morgan says, "It's far too easy to end up relying on job boards, which may skew heavily toward larger employers in a single area that are bigger players with deep advertising budgets. If you're looking for something a bit outside that mold—or especially, if you don't really know yet what you're looking for—networking can help you learn about all the options. Talking to colleagues who've been working for a while can be invaluable for avoiding mistakes in pursuing and choosing a job."

Editor's Note: This article was adapted and updated from the Physician Business Academy course "Finding the Right Physician Job" by Koushik Shaw, MD. Additional reporting by Gail G. Weiss.

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