Graduating from medical school may be the biggest accomplishment of your life so far. It’s definitely something to be proud of, and you’re now ready to make a difference in the world by working as a physician.
But now, there are so many possible choices, and if you’re not dead set on a particular path, finding the right job after med school can be overwhelming. The stereotype of a doctor is that they work in medical offices or hospitals, but there are so many more alternative avenues open to you that pay just as well.
Before you start hunting for a career in the medical field, follow these tips to ensure you’re setting yourself up to attract not just any job — but the right one for you.
1. Create a Professional CV
The first impression any hiring manager has of you is your curriculum vitae, better known as a CV. This is an in-depth resume for professionals in fields like medicine and law.
While you were in school, your professors and mentors should have been helping you put together the outline of your CV. However, if you’re not comfortable with promoting yourself, consider hiring a professional CV writer. The expense is usually worth it since they know how to highlight your accomplishments, downplay your inexperience, and design an impressive document. If you choose to do this on your own, be sure you include:
- Your internship and residency experiences
- Any volunteer or clinical hours
- The research you’ve conducted
- Presentations you’ve made
- Awards you’ve received
- Professional memberships you are a part of
You’ve been in med school for a long time, so instead of including everything, weed through the experiences you’ve had. Use the most impactful things first, then add anything that relates to the career you want to pursue. For instance, if you’re looking for a medical job in a cardiac unit, leave out experience that doesn’t have any tie to that role.
2. Find References in Your Preferred Career Path
Finding someone to act as a reference shouldn’t be taken lightly. The reputation of each individual on your list reflects on you, just as yours reflects on them.
Look for three to five people who have impressive reputations in their field and whose careers are somewhat related to your goal job. These references should know you and your professional abilities well. They may be a mentor, a professor, a clinical advisor, an attending physician from your internship, or someone similar.
Before you use them as a reference, talk to them and ask for permission. They may be willing to write a letter of recommendation for you. On the other hand, if they’re not comfortable with praising your work ethic, you’ll know not to use them as a reference because they may hinder your job opportunities.
3. Expand Your Search Range
What you’re familiar with may not be all that’s out there. You may have a job offer from your residency or internship, but don’t jump on it quite yet. If you expand your search range beyond your current city limits, there could be more job opportunities in a field you prefer.
The geographic location can affect the type of work available. If you’re in a small town, your options are limited. There are fewer openings, and they’re usually in small practices or the local hospital.
Larger cities have more competition but also more vacancies. If you want to work in a large practice, a cutting-edge hospital, or an academic university with a medical research center, you’re better off in a bustling area.
Consider the type of job you want for your daily routine and the lifestyle you’re hoping to grow. Look for careers in locations that work well for your professional and personal lives.
4. Review the Pay and Benefits
Many people set “pay” as their first priority when finding a job. But if you focus on the salary instead of the last three tips, it’s an easy way to end up with a career that burns you out.
Still, pay is an essential part of the overall right job. Instead of choosing an arbitrary salary that you think will be ideal, break down your needs and wants strategically to get a more accurate number.
Start by understanding how much it’s going to cost you to cover any debt from your education and how fast you want to get that paid off. Turn that into a monthly bill amount.
Add on any costs of moving and divide that by 12 since that expense should pay for itself within the first year. Include your monthly living expenses, car payments, insurance, food, gas, and other necessary bills.
Finally, take that monthly number and add the extras: entertainment, dining out, clothing, etc.
Multiply the monthly amount by 12, and you have your goal for your annual salary. If it includes benefits that reduce your cost of living expenses, subtract those from the salary goal. Evaluate the jobs you found using the first three tips, and apply for any that are close to your targeted salary.
Finding your dream job in the medical profession is possible. If you have a good reputation and an impressive CV, the only limits are the job vacancies in the region of your search. Use these tips to guide you to the right job for your post-medical school career.