Physicians, finding your next job should not be this hard!

“A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B.”
~Fats Domino

If you’re a physician, you have graduated from medical school, and you’re nearing the end of your residency or fellowship training, or practice as a physician currently, finding a job should be easy! But for a physician who finds herself in the unfortunate position of still looking for a job, here are some tell-tale signs for doctors who need to take a different approach in their job search.

1. You have been looking for a job for more than two months.

Have you been looking for a job as a practicing physician for over two months? Are you focusing only on advertised jobs? Did you know that most opportunities for practicing doctors are not advertised with physician recruiters or job boards, even in top markets like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Texas? If you are able to find those unadvertised positions, on your own or with a company like The Doctor Job, you can find a job in less than two months easily.

2. You’ve been working with a physician recruiter and have lots of calls, but no actual interviews with any hospitals, medical groups, or other physician employers.

Don’t confuse opportunities from a physician recruiter with actual job openings. Many recruiters will post old ads on job boards or even fake ones just to gather resumes so that they can encourage you to take that job in Montana, even if you’re looking in Florida. If you’ve been working with physician recruiters for several weeks but still don’t have offers, it’s time to take a different, more aggressive approach.

3. You keep hearing the same excuses from physician recruiters.

Physician recruiters charge an astronomical fee to physician employers. This means that unless you are a flawless candidate who happens to be looking in the same location where a recruiter has a contract with a hospital or physician group, recruiters cannot help you. Do you have licensing issues? An H-1B or J-1 visa? Are you over 50? Do you want to practice medicine in a big city? You’ll hear nothing but excuses from every recruiter. You can go to 10 different physician recruiters and you’ll get the same results – nothing.

4. Your physician recruiter has stopped returning your calls.

Doctors, if your recruiter isn’t contacting you regularly, he or she cannot help you in your search for that best physician job. You’re simply another name in their database that they use to market their undesirable positions.

So what can you do if your job search has stalled?

When, as a doctor, you first post your resume online and the calls and emails start pouring in from physician recruiters, it can be exciting and you may even feel like a rock star. Soon, however, you may find that you’re left hanging in the wind – that the interviews don’t exist and that those offers – if there are offers at all – are less than enticing.

You are a physician. There are employers in every city in every state in the country who want you and your skills. They may not be advertising their positions, but they’re out there, and these physician jobs pay better, have better benefits, and are positions that you can envision yourself staying in for your career. The perfect job is out there, but you can’t be passive, you can’t rely on recruiters, and you can’t ignore the realities of the job market. Visit The Doctor Job to read more about unadvertised physician jobs in “saturated” markets and how The Doctor Job can guarantee that you’ll find that perfect job.

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Mind the Gap! How to Cover Gaps in your Physician CV

With the economy still in slow recovery, it’s understandable that many physicians applying for jobs throughout the US will have gaps in their employment history. Nevertheless, a less than fluid history can make it more difficult to find a job in more competitive job markets. In addition to gaps in employment, I come across many resumes where the job seeker has an interrupted residency or an obvious leave of absence from medical school. These kinds of interrupted histories can also prevent you from getting your foot in the door at a job for which you’re more than qualified. Here are some tips to close the gaps.

Gaps in Employment History

If you did any locum tenens, research, or volunteer work between full time clinical positions or academic appointments, by all means, include them in the chronology! If you must do so to be accurate, you can change your heading from “Employment History” or “Professional Experience” to something along the lines of “Clinical Experience” or even just “Experience.”

If you have a particularly spotty history, you may want to consider a “functional resume” which places an emphasis on your skills and other qualities, with the chronology of your employment downplayed near the end of your document. However, you should avoid using a functional resume unless the chronology of your employment presents a serious issue.

Also, if your gaps span a few months rather than a year or more, it is completely acceptable to list only the year you started and ended each position, rather than the month and year.

Hiatus in Residency Training/Medical School

If you have a gap in your medical training or schooling, leave off the start date and list only the date of completion (or leave off the dates completely and simply list the degree or residency program and the institution you attended). While the prospective employer may ask you to expand on this at some point during the interviewing process, at that point you will have an opportunity to explain the reason why it took you longer than usual to receive your degree or complete training. However, if the gap is obvious during the initial screening process, you might never get that opportunity.

What Shouldn’t You Do?

Never try to explain your gaps in employment or training in the body of your resume. (For example, “2007-2008: Leave of absence to care for sick family member.”) This can do more harm than good, because it draws attention to the gap. It’s far better to explain a gap in your history verbally than within your resume.

For more help getting your physician CV ready, check out our menu of services at The Doctor Job, or our sister site Career Services MD.

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What’s Your Specialty? – Winning Personal Statements for Internal Medicine and Family Medicine

If you’re planning on specializing in either internal medicine or family medicine for your residency training, it’s important that your personal statement reflect your strengths in two key areas: personability and vast, general medical knowledge.

Because these two specialties involve a high degree of clinical care, you should ensure your statement highlights the personality traits that make you a good fit for these specialties.  How is your bedside manner? You will want to include one or more specific examples of ways you demonstrated a compassionate and caring attitude in your past. Ideally, you have many examples from your clinical rotations as a medical student, but if you come up short with concrete scenarios in this setting, you can also draw upon your extracurricular activities or volunteer experience. You will also want to show selection committees how well you communicate with other physicians and medical staff. Again, it is not enough to merely declare that you have good communication skills; you should include a specific example where you demonstrated these traits. Painting a clear picture of your approach to patient care and how well you work within a medical team will not only demonstrate that you are right for this specialty, but will help match you with the program that will be the best fit for you.

You should also aim to demonstrate your capacity for acquiring and retaining a great deal of medical knowledge, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge in making swift, accurate diagnoses. Family medicine physicians and internists are often the first line of defense, serving as primary care providers for a majority of the patients they see. Therefore, you will need to illustrate that you already have a keen diagnostic acumen and a very good understanding of myriad pathologies affecting virtually every system of the human body. It is an especially good idea to include an example of a time when you accurately made a difficult diagnosis.

If you’re struggling with translating your own experiences into a statement that demonstrates your suitability for your specialty of choice, the talented writing staff of Career Services MD can help you draft a cohesive and engaging personal statement that will be sure to get you the right match. We also offer comprehensive program application services that will help you with other aspects of your ERAS application.

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Formatting Physician CVs For Ultimate Success

Appearance isn’t everything, but it’s certainly important, and your curriculum vitae is no exception. If you neglect to ensure your CV is attractive and well-formatted, many of your best assets may be overlooked, particularly if you are applying for positions in saturated markets. In such job climates, hiring committees often must sort through hundreds of applications, and a well-formatted resume printed on high-quality paper may be the extra edge you need to push you up to the top of a pile among otherwise comparably qualified candidates.

So what makes for a good format?

Overall, physicians should aim for a conservative and clean look when formatting their CV.  Avoid fussy fonts in favor of standard fonts like Times New Roman, or Arial and Helvetica if you prefer a sans serif font. You should also steer clear of graphic elements more suitable for creative professions.

Your CV should also make good use of space without appearing cluttered. I see many physician CVs that are several pages long, (in some instances as many as 14 pages!) with such wide margins and spacing that they could easily print on half as many pages with some minor formatting changes.  While it may take the same amount of time to read each version, a 3-5 page resume with wide margins and double spacing creates the illusion of more work for the hiring committee than a 1-2 page version with the exact same content.

With that said, you should also avoid a resume that is too crowded and hard to read. Don’t use a font smaller than 10 point, and employ spacing judiciously. Use clear section headings and modest, consistent spacing between sections, as well as between each entry within a given section. This not only looks nicer, but reduces eye strain, which your future employers will appreciate.

You should also ensure that formatting is consistent throughout your CV. Whether using bold, italic, or underlined text to denote emphasis, ensure that you are consistent throughout the document. For example, don’t have your job title highlighted in bold text for one entry and underlined in the next – this is both sloppy and confusing.  Placement is also important. When formatting your professional experience, the placement of your job title or position, employer, employer location, and dates worked should be consistent for each entry.

These are just some of the ways you can format your CV to be more attractive and appealing to prospective employers. At the Doctor Job, our writing experts ensure a clean, attractive format that highlights your best assets for prospective employers. Unlike recruiters, we work for you, creating job search packages that will give you a competitive edge. We also provide valuable resources that will help you uncover potential leads in your location of choice, interviewing tips—everything you need to find the job of your dreams.

Click here to learn more about how we can help you find the job of your dreams: The Doctor Job – What We Do

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Personal Statements That Will Get You Noticed

Too many residency applicants underestimate the importance of a thoughtful and engaging personal statement. Still others approach this narrative document as an extension of their CV. Both of these misfires may prevent you from admittance to the program you desire.

Before you begin writing your personal statement, it’s important to understand why you have to write one in the first place. Resident and fellow selection committees look to your personal statement as an opportunity to get to know you – not what you’ve done, where you studied, or how well you did academically, but your personality. They want to know things a transcript and CV cannot convey: why you became a doctor; how you handle difficult situations and impossible decisions; the personal experiences that shaped you; your philosophy; your goals. This information helps determine whether you will be a good fit within the program, or whether you are desirable as a potential colleague. They may even play a part in connecting you with the mentors within your program who will best help you achieve your goals.

The best approach to writing your statement is to view it as a piece of creative (but not too creative) non-fiction rather than a professional summary. With these objectives in mind, it’s important that you construct a statement that is cohesive and centers around some common themes. One way to ensure focus is to begin with a quotation or proverb that relates to your narrative. It is also a good idea to share personal experiences from your past that inform the person you are today and shape your personal goals. To brainstorm, write down the three accomplishments you’re most proud of, or reflect on a particularly influential mentor and what you admire about him or her.

Once you’ve constructed your personal statement, read it aloud to yourself and others. Does it flow well, or does it seem disjointed? Is there a common theme? Do the anecdotes and examples you used throughout your statement illustrate the personal qualities you want to convey? Welcome critique and suggestions from people whose opinions you value and trust. Finally, ensure your final statement is free of grammar, spelling, and syntax issues. A personal statement that contains errors will give an impression that it was written hastily or haphazardly.

If essay writing isn’t your strong suit, it’s perfectly acceptable to seek professional assistance. Services like Career Services MD can connect you with professional writers who will help you transform your own personal experiences into a cohesive narrative that is uniquely you, giving you the competitive edge you need to ensure entry into your desired program and specialty.

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M.B.B.S. vs. M.D. – What’s the Difference, and Which Should I Use?

At The Doctor Job, many of our clients have completed their medical education outside of the U.S. In some countries, the degree that is equivalent to the U.S. and Canada’s Doctor of Medicine degree, is actually two degrees: the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees, awarded simultaneously and defined with the acronym M.B.B.S. In some places, this baccalaureate degree is designated by acronyms, such as BMed of B.M.B.S.; however, M.B.B.S. is the most common.

In countries where a baccalaureate degree is awarded to a physician who has completed his medical treatment, this is to distinguish him or her from a Doctor of Medicine or M.D., or a physician who has completed advanced research and submitted a thesis or dissertation in some field of medical science. In North America, on the other hand, an M.D. merely refers to one who has graduated from medical school, but does not necessarily designate someone who has completed formal research or defended a thesis.

Before practicing in the U.S., most international medical school graduates obtain a certification from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, or ECFMG, which is a requirement to complete the USMLE Step 3 exam, as well as a prerequisite in most states before one can  receive an unrestricted medical license. Typically, once an international medical graduate has gone through these steps and becomes licensed to practice in the U.S., they are, for all intents and purposes, an M.D., and most jurisdictions will allow for the use of M.D. in their title, regardless of the original degree earned.

So, should your resume say you are John Smith, M.D., or John Smith, M.B.B.S? That all comes down to a matter of taste and situation. While M.D. more immediately alerts a prospective employer that you have the requisite training for the position, most professionals in charge of medical staffing are familiar enough with foreign medical graduates and their prerequisites to practicing in the U.S. If you do choose to use M.B.B.S. in your title, be sure your resume indicates your eligibility to practice in the U.S. Some ways your resume can clue prospective interviewers to your eligibility include providing any current U.S. medical licenses you hold (include the license number) or indicating that your international medical degree is certified by ECFMG.

Posted in FMGs and IMGs, Foreign Medical Graduates, International Medical Graduates | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Tips For Older Physicians Seeking New Jobs

While the economy is in recovery, the market is still quite tight for job seekers in certain parts of the country, even in the healthcare industry. Perhaps one of the most affected groups of job seekers are those 50 or over who aren’t quite ready for retirement, but are much closer to it than their competitors in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.

Unfortunately, while age is a protected class, age discrimination (whether intentional or subconscious) happens in the hiring market. However, there are ways to avoid potentially aging yourself out of the running for the job you want, and it starts with your resume. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider:

  • Do limit your “experience” to 15-20 years. Unlike a CV, a resume does not need to be a comprehensive, detailed account of your professional and academic history. If you feel uncomfortable omitting older positions from your resume, relegate experience older than 15 years to a “More Experience” section and omit the dates. You may also want to consider a functional resume rather than a traditional, reverse chronological format.
  • Don’t list the dates you earned your degrees. If a prospective employer sees that you graduated from medical school nearly 30 years ago, they may assume you are not as current as some younger applicants on the latest research, treatments, and skills germane to your field of practice.
  • Do emphasize recent continuing medical education and training that demonstrates you are keeping pace with younger physicians.
  • Don’t list any research, presentations, or publications on your resume if they have not taken place within the last 5-10 years. If you have a lengthy bibliography that spans more than one decade, include only your most recent publications and state on your resume or in your cover letter that your CV or an addendum with your full bibliography is available upon request.
  • Do include an email address and, if you have one, a mobile phone number in your contact information.
  • Do consider employing outside help to get a leg up on the competition. A service like The Doctor Job can not only help you revitalize your resume and draft a compelling cover letter—we can also help you uncover unadvertised jobs in the location and specialty of your choice.
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The Ups and Down of Locum Tenens Employment for Physicians

Locum tenens (or temporary) employment can be an excellent solution for physicians seeking employment in a new city, particularly if your location is a desirable area where the job market may be more saturated with desirable candidates. There are many positives to locum work, including flexibility, variety, and opportunities to network with many physicians within several groups and hospitals. However, there are also several downsides to locum tenens employment.

Just as it is for freelance writers and other set-term, contract workers, the primary downside to locum employment for physicians is a lack of security. Even the most proactive locum doctor may experience gaps between positions. It is not only stressful to be uncertain when or where you will next find employment, but the amount of effort one must expend to ensure continuous employment as a locum physician can be substantial.

This lack of security is augmented by the fact that locum doctors typically do not receive employer benefits, including medical and dental coverage, vacation and sick leave, 401(k) programs, or profit sharing opportunities. While you may find that locum appointments have a higher hourly pay than permanent positions, the pay difference is often not enough to fully defray the value of a employer-provided benefit suite.

Another downside to locum employment that many overlook is the lost camaraderie a physician gains as a long-term member of a hospital’s or medical group’s staff. A permanent position affords you the opportunity to forge lasting relationships with colleagues that foster professional growth as well as friendship and a sense of place. Short-term appointments also make it difficult to build trust and rapport with patients.

Locum tenens employment can be a wonderful employment option for newer physicians who wish to gain familiarity with a variety of work environments and specialties. It is also a great solution for physicians who desire employment within a specific geographical location. What it cannot provide, however, is the stability of long-term employment. The Doctor Job can help physicians find long-term, permanent jobs in any saturated market, within some of the most desirable cities. If you value both location and stability, contact The Doctor Job to learn more about how we can help you in your job search.

Posted in Career Marketing, Job Search Tips, Physician Jobs, Physician Recruiting, Physician Resumes | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

TMI – Information Physicians Should Avoid Including In A CV

When writing a physician resume or CV, it’s important to strike a balance between giving too little and too much information. You want to tell your potential employer enough to encourage them to contact you, but you also want to avoid either overwhelming them with information or steering them away with details that may make you less desirable as a candidate. Here are some things you should avoid including:

Personal Information

A good rule of thumb is to never include information that it would be illegal for your prospective employer to ask of you. This includes race/nationality, sexual orientation, marital status, family situation, age/birth date, and religious affiliation. In an ideal world, all hiring managers are unbiased, and none of these statuses would stand between you and the job you desire. However, even someone who considers himself or herself neutral on all of these statuses may act on unconscious biases when culling the pile of resume submissions. It is perhaps even more likely that the disclosure of such information will indicate to your prospective employer that you are unprofessional or naive—two qualities one would most certainly wish to avoid conveying in a job search.

MCAT Scores/USMLE Scores

Unless you’re applying for a residency program, most employers are not terribly interested in how well you did on placement tests or qualifying exams, particularly if you have been a practicing physician for a number of years. While these scores are useful for determining how well one will succeed in medical school or within a certain residency program, employers are far more interested in your clinical experience and skills. Even if you are applying for residency or fellowship programs that will request this information, they will likely require official transcripts or ask that you indicate on your application forms how you scored, so the inclusion of this information in your resume is redundant. Use that valuable space to detail other achievements.

Pre- or Non-Medical Work Experience and Education

Some people feel a resume must include absolutely every paid position they’ve ever held, but if it isn’t relevant to your desired position and omitting it will not create a conspicuous gap in your employment history, you shouldn’t put it on your physician resume. Similarly, I have seen resumes that included information about the high school and grammar school attended. This is completely unnecessary, extraneous information.

 

You often have only 15 seconds to make an impression on your prospective employer. By omitting some unnecessary details from your resume or CV, you draw more focus upon the experience and qualities that really make you shine. If you really want to knock them dead, the skilled writers and advisers at The Doctor Job can expertly transform your CV into a focused and streamlined resume that will strike the perfect balance between too much and too little information.

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What Physician Employers Look For In Your Cover Letter

While many job seekers place a great deal of emphasis on creating the perfect resume, they may overlook the importance of another document key to their job search: the cover letter. This brief piece of correspondence can sometimes be as important to a prospective employer as your resume, if not more. After all, your cover letter is your first impression, and if it isn’t strong enough, in many cases the personnel manager or hiring committee will not give the resume on the following page even a passing glance.

So, what do prospective employers want to see in your cover letter?

1. Personal and Professional Qualities
I have seen countless cover letters that merely summarize the resume, detailing the physicians’ specialties, where they trained, and what hospitals or practices they’ve worked for. Because this information should already be detailed in your resume, it’s redundant to restate in your cover letter, and it also does little to sell you as a candidate. The cover letter is your opportunity to impart the facts about you that your resume cannot. Use your cover letter to illuminate the qualities that make you a great physician beyond your credentials and prior experience. Illustrate with specific examples of ways you have shown qualities such as compassion, proficiency in working with physicians in other specialties, or your ability to maintain a busy patient schedule.

2. Special Skills
The most successful candidates in the medical profession today are well-rounded, even in the most specialized fields. Therefore, it bears mentioning any additional training you have or difficult procedures you have performed that may set you apart from other candidates. It’s unnecessary to enumerate skills that someone in your specialty would be expected to have, but anything that will demonstrate you have something to offer that most other candidates won’t is guaranteed to get you shortlisted.

3. Accomplishments
There’s no place for modesty in your cover letter, so if you have something to brag, shout it out. Of course, nobody wants to hire someone who is obviously full of himself or herself, but it is okay to show pride in your accomplishments, and it’s also useful information for a hiring manager. If you have helped grow your practice’s client base, this shows you are someone with partner-track material who will help the group or practice grow business. If you have spearheaded a new program or served in a leadership role on a committee or within a department, you demonstrate leadership, drive, and initiative. Focus on one or two of your most important accomplishments that will illustrate the qualities your prospective employers are looking for.

4. Personality
Finally, remember that your prospective employer wants to hire a person, not a robot. While cover letters are by nature formal and professional in tone, you can still impart a bit of personality in your cover letter. One way to do this is to talk generally about why you are looking for a new position, and specifically about why you are interested in that particular position. This clues the prospective employers in to what you seek from your next position and let’s them know you have an active interest, not just in a job, but in their practice or group. Another way to infuse your letter with personality is to talk about your (relevant) activities outside of the hospital or clinic that may be of interest, such as volunteer work, community involvement, or charitable causes you support.

 

A cover letter is not just an introduction to your resume, it’s an introduction to you. If a job search is a marketing campaign and you are the product, your cover letter is the 30-second advertising spot that entices someone to learn more about you—in an interview. If you’re unsure of your ability to write the kind of attention-grabbing cover letter that will lead to more interviews and your ultimate dream job, the writing staff at The Doctor Job can help you put your best foot forward.

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