How to get a job after residency is the big challenge once your medical residency years are over and you’re an official practicing physician. Getting a job and starting your career is part of , but entering the job market can be an intimidating experience. Fortunately, there are many diverse career paths available and plenty of potential jobs after your residency for you to choose from. In this blog, we’ll look at what you need to do to get a job after residency, the top tips and components for a successful job hunt and who can help you find your dream job as a practicing doctor.
Now that you’re finally done—or nearly done—your residency, the future looks bright. You’re officially done with med school and you’re looking forward to some freedom and new career opportunities. But the future can also be full of uncertainty and the eternal question: what’s next?
Many residents feel some anxiety when faced with the question of what they will do next after their residency is over. And while there are many potential career paths to follow, it can still be overwhelming to narrow down your choices and begin the dreaded job search, especially if you’ve never done so before. For many med students, the path up until now has probably been very linear with clear next steps. You’ve already invested a large , and yet there’s more to be done. Even if you’ve always had a clear vision of what sort of medical setting you want to work in, going out in the real world and finding a job is still a big task.
Residents have a multitude of options once they’ve officially graduated. Once your residency is over, you’ll officially become a board-certified attending physician, able to work on your own like any doctor. You might choose to work in a hospital or a public health position. Maybe you’ve always wanted to work in family medicine or something more high profile like . Or, if you’ve decided to pursue a sub-specialty first, you might have your eyes on a fellowship position. Either way, you’ll need to have that trusty ready to go and brush up on your physician interview skills, whatever job market you’re looking at.
As you begin your job search for your first physician position after residency, it’s important to remember that this will be your first official job as a new doctor. Now is the time to allow your horizons to be broadened, to open yourself to some exploration and take some chances. But it’s also a good time to make some decisions about your future and be sure you’re choosing the best position for you and your situation. First, we’ll talk about how residents actually find physician jobs and some tips for navigating this new job market.
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Just like any other job search, snagging a physician’s position depends more on who you know. If you’re currently a resident, you already know this. Your professional network will have naturally grown by this point, and don’t be afraid to let it grow further. All the other medical professionals you know right now are potential connections to your first job out of residency. There are also bound to be recruiters already showing interest in you and your colleagues. Networking with these recruiters can be invaluable. Recruiters, like and can provide you with much of the insider information at various positions you might be looking at. Finally, plenty of residents use job search websites and online career boards looking for new positions. In short, the job search for a new doctor looks no different than most job searches. Below, we’ll look a little deeper at your three primary options for finding a job after residency.
Getting that perfect job after residency can be a long process, and it requires yet more work and dedication on your part. But if the result is a satisfying work experience, then forward preparation and careful consideration of job offers is worth it. When it comes to job hunting as a physician, it’s best to start early, make some decisions and carefully consider your choices. Because once you’ve secured your first job as a doctor, you want to be able to enjoy it.
Job hunting can be a competitive environment, and for physicians completing their residency, they might find their chosen field has some tough competitors all with their eyes on the same prize positions. Standing out is essential, so putting together a killer job application is a must. The building blocks of your candidacy—your resume, cover letter and interview—may be the minimum that is asked when you’re applying for jobs, but they are also the foundation you’ll need to grab that dream job.
As we’ve already mentioned, physician career advisors or services like can help guide you on mapping out your future career as a doctor. Services like these can be beneficial in informing you on the potential career pathways available to you and what they look like. But in the end, it’s up to you to fill in the blanks of what you want to do and what you want to achieve in your career. While career advisors can certainly ask the right questions and provide some answers, begin doing your research for yourself, too.
Another great resource to take advantage of is your professional network. It can be more than your way into the hidden job market and an excellent way to get recommended for your dream job. Reach out to your professional network for advice or ask others about their own experiences as a doctor. If you have an interest in working in private practice, ask an attending physician currently working in, or who formerly worked in that same setting. Hearing about these experiences directly from your professional network will give you the best picture of what different medical roles and settings look like and what you can expect.
Want to know which specialties are the highest paying? Check out this video:
1. What do you do after residency is over?
Once your residency is over, you’ll become a board-certified attending physician. After that, you can go out and start looking for a full-time position!
2. How can I get a job after my residency?
The best way to get a job after your residency is to start talking to others. Get in touch with recruiters, career advisors or your professional network and start exploring your options.
3. Where can I look for a job after residency?
Along with recruiters, there are job boards and job sites online dedicated to the medical field where you can look for recent job postings in your chosen area.
4. Can I use my professional network to get a job after residency?
Absolutely. Many residents find their dream jobs by using this “hidden job market” or professional network of friends and acquaintances. Using your network can be the best way to get an ideal position.
5. Can I pursue a fellowship instead of looking for a physician’s job?
Yes; some residents may choose to apply to a fellowship program instead of entering the wider job market.
6. Should I accept a job after residency that pays off my student debt faster?
If the job is right for you in other respects, yes. But many residents take jobs they aren’t happy with trying to pay off their student debt as quickly as possible, leading to job dissatisfaction. Weigh your job offers and take the option that is best for you, not necessarily the best-paying option.
7. Who can help me figure out what to do after residency?
Resident career counseling or physician career advisors are great resources to help you find out what your career options are and how to apply for them. You can also reach out to your network to talk about their experiences and ask for their advice if you’re not sure what kind of job position you want after your residency is over.
8. Is it hard to find a job after residency?
It depends on your chosen specialty and the availability of the type of position you want in your chosen area. For the most part, you won’t have trouble finding good job opportunities, as doctors are in demand everywhere.