The best job search begins before you graduate. “When you’re looking for a job, start as early as possible,” advises Sameer Badlani, MD, hospitalist and instructor at the University of Chicago. “Most people don’t realize how long it takes.”
To prepare for employment, take steps toward getting your medical license and put your paperwork in order. “If you know which state or states you want to be in, go ahead and start the state licensing as soon as possible,” says Dr. Badlani. “Each state has its own set of forms, and you can at least have the packet ready to send in.”
You can also prepare your certification materials so that they are ready to turn over to your future employer: “The FCVS [Federation Credentials Verification Service] is a repository for all your training certificates,” explains Dr. Badlani. “It costs $250 to get a copy of all your certificates, and an additional $30 every time you send it out to a [potential employer]. Some states will only accept certificates from FCVS, and I think that someday all states will require this.”
As a first step for the actual job search, Dr. Harris recommends trying to network through your university and your residency program. “Your program may keep a list of where residents have gone to work; you can at least talk to recent graduates that you know,” she says. “Call them up and see how they like what they’re doing.”
You can broaden your search by joining the industry association and exploring job postings. “I’d recommend that anyone become a member of SHM,” says Dr. Harris. “There are a variety of job postings available through their Web site. You can also simply “Google” ‘hospitalist jobs,’ and find all kinds of national services, headhunters, and companies.” To view job postings t through SHM’s online Career Center, visit www.hospitalmedicine.org and click “Career Center.”
Hospitalist Sanjiv Panwala, MD, a hospitalist at Providence Medical Center, Portland, Ore., has created www.mdgrad.com, a Web site that includes portals to hospital medicine job postings.
Narrow Your Search
When you take these first steps, you’ll discover just how many positions you have to choose from. How can you narrow your job search?
“Clearly, [you have] to distinguish the things that are important to you,” says Dr. Harris. “There’s quite a distinction between an academic and community-based position; you need to think this through before you begin your job search.”
Regardless of this first decision, there are universal factors to consider. “As in any job search, you start by thinking about the area of the country you want to be in, urban versus rural, and other factors,” explains Dr. Harris. “Then you think about the things that separate [hospital medicine] programs from one another.” You’ll find you have a lot of choices.
“There seem to be [hospital medicine] jobs everywhere,” says Dr. Panwala. “The money is in Texas or the Midwest, if that’s what’s important to you.”
Once you’ve decided on your general career path and where you’d like to live and work, consider what type of work you want to do. “One thing you should think about is whether you want to see patients in critical care arenas, or just those patients on the floors,” says Dr. Harris. “These are very different populations, and require different skill sets. You should also consider whether or not you want to work with residents. Residents work in some community settings, too.”
An Academic Job Search
If you decide you want to work in an academic setting, you don’t have to go far to start your search. “I’d think you could start by talking to the head of your department and ask if they can look around and put in a word for you,” says Dr. Harris.