Dear Dr. Goodhook,

I’m ready to start my physician job search, but I’m not sure where to begin. I’ve started looking on job boards, but I’ve heard horror stories from colleagues who posted their resumes online, only to be bombarded with hundreds of calls from recruiters.

I’d like to take a more personal approach, utilizing colleagues and past advisers to generate leads. I’m also interested in career fairs.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time approaching people. I don’t want them to think I’m just using them to get ahead.

What should I do?


Pediatrician Under Pressure

Dear Under Pressure,

Years ago, during my own residency, computers were not yet invented. I would have rejoiced if they were, as conversing with others made me very irritable.

Though still a curmudgeon, I am much more adept at the art of fat chewing and hand shaking.

Job board or not, young resident, you’re going to have to pry open your clamshell at some point. I may have just the remedies you’re after.

The Biggest Myth About Networking

When you say you want to rely on people you know to generate leads, you’re talking about networking. Unfortunately, “networking” typically brings to mind dreary conventions, strange cocktail parties and forced interactions.

Many people think networking is only about…

  • Using people
  • Attending a group event
  • Meeting only new people
  • Lots of hard work and time
  • Being an extrovert

The fact is, networking isn’t about schmoozing. It’s about connecting with people you already know. It’s a one-on-one phenomenon, built one relationship at a time.

Your everyday interactions with people are one of the best ways to network. Have a look at the physician search strategy tools in the Adventures in Medicine Resource Library for more tips on networking without misery. You might find the Building Your Network Strategy worksheet especially helpful.

Your colleagues and advisers may be able to point you toward opportunities that aren’t advertised in job boards or online journals. Stay current with your contacts and keep them abreast of your aspirations.

Cruising the Career Fairs

Despite mountains of free stress balls, ink pens, key chains and cookies, career fairs are not the place for lollygagging and tomfoolery.

Of course, the free gifts are welcome distractions, but if you have any wits about you, you’ll put your best foot forward. CareerMD is a choice place to search for fairs in your area.

Walk into a career fair knowing that it’s a place intended for socialization — that will help ease your nerves. People are there for the sole purpose of talking and networking. You’re not interrupting them or being a pest.

With that in mind, dress your finest and pack the following in your leather knapsack:

  • Multiple copies of your CV
  • A list of career priorities
  • Prepared questions for potential employers

It’s hard to tell who will be at the career fair or what will transpire, but be prepared to talk to key players.

If a recruiter doesn’t have an opportunity that aligns with what you’re looking for, be respectful of their time. Recruiters network, too, and may know of others who are interested in your ilk.

A word of warning: Don’t be the timid picker, snatching up complimentary lanyards and notepads without a word said. Spend at least a few minutes at each table you approach.

-Dr. Goodhook

What networking strategies have you used in your own physician job search?

Which were the most effective?

Please share your views in the comments below.

Doctor Career: Sponsors

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Though the views expressed above are solely the writer’s, Guthrie Clinic supports “The Dose with Dr. Goodhook” and is partnering with Adventures in Medicine to create an open, inspiring and insightful community for residents and physicians. Click here to learn more about ways that Guthrie Clinic is making practice purposeful.