Physicians generally have little experience hunting for jobs. After more than a decade of education and training, graduating residents are in their late 20s—or older—when they begin searching for full-time work, and many struggle with the transition. The following seasonal tips will help you find your first hospitalist job. For more details, check out The Hospitalist's “Resident’s Corner.”
- Choose a mentor. Find an experienced hospitalist who can provide valuable feedback during your job search.
- Choose your senior-year electives carefully. Focus on areas of weakness, or areas that are pertinent to HM (e.g., infectious disease, cardiology, neurology, critical-care medicine).
- Create or update your curriculum vitae and cover letter. Edit your words carefully; spelling errors or typos in documents are costly.
- • Request letters of recommendation. Think hard about who you want before asking for a letter, as these typically carry a lot of weight in the interview selection process. Although program directors, chiefs of medicine, and hospitalists can be good choices, it is important to choose people who know you well, as they tend to generate a more personal and powerful letter.
- Start your job search by applying for desired positions. Hospitalists are in high demand; check out these sites for openings: SHM’s Career Center; classified ad sections in the Journal of Hospital Medicine; general medicine journals and The Hospitalist; and hospitals and HM groups of interest. Even if they are not advertising, contact them personally.
- Research potential employers. Prepare appropriate interview questions.
- Bring extra copies of your updated CV and look sharp. Shine your shoes. Is it time to replace the suit you used to apply for residency?
- Send a thank-you note or e-mail to the person(s) you interviewed with.
- When you receive an offer, it’s time to review the contract and negotiate terms. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification of unclear points. You might want to have a lawyer review the contract.
- Register for your board examination.
- Apply for state medical licensure. This process varies by state, but it can take several months to complete, especially if you are applying in a state other than where you trained.
- Apply for hospital credentials.
- Moving to a different city or state can be exciting—and stressful. Talk to your new co-workers to get a feel for the city and recommendations for places to live. Some employers are very helpful with a move; some provide new hires with a real estate agent. Moving expenses often are covered as a condition of employment, but it depends on your contract.
- Consider taking a vacation to either further explore relocation options or to simply relax. You might need time to unwind as your residency concludes. Some future hospitalists like to use this time to intensify their board review; others cringe at the thought.
Dr. Grant is a hospitalist at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor. Dr. Warren-Marzola is a hospitalist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Toledo, Ohio. Both are members of SHM’s Young Physicians Committee.