Looking for a new job can be an arduous, and potentially stressful, process. Regardless if you’re a new graduate looking for your first position, or a seasoned professional who has decided it’s time for a change of scenery, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and jump at the most convenient opportunity.
But the best opportunities present themselves when you take the time to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and explore all of your options. To help you ensure that you’re finding the best possible job for your preferences, we’ve detailed five of the most common mistakes we see doctors make during their job search and what you should be doing instead.
Mistake #1: Keeping your job search narrow.
For many job seekers, location is the most important factor of their new position. Regardless of the reason for wanting to be in a certain place, job seekers often aren’t willing to stray too far from this desired location.
As a result, doctors often end up taking a job that isn’t a good fit and sacrifice the quality of the job to keep their location preference in tact. This leads to a higher potential for burnout and within five years, those doctors may be ready to look for their next job.
Instead, cast a wider net and prioritize quality over location.
By increasing your location range, you open yourself up to opportunities you would’ve overlooked if you kept your radius small. By increasing the number of options you have to consider, you can truly look for a position that will be a good long-term fit and keep you happy for a long time.
Mistake #2: Jumping at the first opportunity.
Finding a long-term opportunity takes time. Because of things like credentialing, negotiations and multiple interviews, a job search can take up to 12-18 months in some cases. The problem here is that often job seekers aren’t thinking that far ahead about looking for a new opportunity.
Because doctors often aren’t giving themselves enough time to look for a new job, they end up rushing to accept the first opportunity presented to them. But the key here isn’t just always planning 12-18 months ahead.
Instead, find other ways to give yourself enough time to do your due diligence and make a decision you’ll be happy with.
Take on some short-term work in the meantime if you need to help supplement your income. Telemedicine positions can turn around in a matter of weeks and locums work can be finalized in as short as a month. Having this financial flexibility will give time for you to consider all potential offers and make a decision that checks all the boxes.
Mistake #3: Only considering large cities or facilities.
Particularly for newer doctors who complete their training in a large facility, it seems natural to want to find a job in a larger hospital because it’s what you’re used to. However, it’s important to remember that competition for finding a job in these big places is most intense.
Because of this, it may make your job search process more difficult since you’re competing with a large group of candidates for a small number of openings. The thing many doctors often don’t realize is that if they considered different types of work environments, the amount of competition they would have could be significantly decreased.
Instead, consider the pros and cons of every type of work environment during your job search.
Figure out if you may prefer a private practice or smaller urgent care type facility because of the patient population or responsibilities. For example, doctors who work in larger hospitals often express that they like not having to run a practice or potentially work longer hours, but they also feel that they have limited influence in decision-making and less autonomy in their work. Find out what matters most to you and find an environment that will let you prioritize those factors.
Mistake #4: Negotiating contracts poorly.
Negotiating your contract is not only crucial to making sure that you’re being compensated properly, but the salary that you decide on will influence later salaries as well. Indicating that you are comfortable with a certain salary level will make the hiring manager less likely to budge on increasing your salary during negotiations.
Make sure to do your research and know your worth – use that do set a baseline for how much to ask for during negotiations. Ask how much you’ll be expected to work and use that to inform if you think you should be compensated extra. Don’t back down if they respond saying that they can’t be flexible with your compensation.
Instead, think beyond salary for additional benefits that can help supplement your compensation.
Things like loan forgiveness, additional vacation or even housing stipends can add up to a significant amount of additional income. Often facilities won’t be able to increase your paycheck, but can be more flexible with benefits that may actually matter more to you.
Mistake #5: Not looking at the big picture.
A job is more than just the salary or location. It’s more than just the benefits or the type of facility you’ll be working at. For doctors, who on average spend 60 hours at work a week, what truly makes your job enjoyable or not is all the little things that go into the job.
Without knowing what matters to them aside from pay rate and location, often doctors will accept a position because it fits their baseline requirements. But within a few years, they end up burning out and leaving because they find that they’re missing something that actually mattered a lot to them.
Instead, take the time during the job search process to consider more than just the pay rate or location.
The interview is a great opportunity to find out about all of the details of the job. Ask about things like the support structure – who will you be working with? What is the community like? How does the work environment feel on a daily basis? Make sure the answers are all ones that you are comfortable with before taking the job.
There you have it! Looking for a job can be time consuming and confusing, but by avoiding these mistakes you can ensure that you’ll be finding a job that is a good long-term fit.
If you’re ready to start searching for jobs, you can click here to search all of our permanent positions. If you’re looking for shorter-term opportunities to help supplement your income as you prioritize other things, you can click here to search for locums opportunities and click here to search for telehealth openings.
The Nomad Team