Medical Job Search
Getting Started Guide
Looking for a new job is stressful, and even those of us who are usually calm and confident can get jitters about all the headaches and risk involved in moving to a new organization or position. It can be hard to know where to start.
This guide will help you to prepare for the next steps of your big change to a new job that you will love.
The first step in a big life change like a new job is to reflect on why you want the change, what you hope to gain from it, and what you fear you’ll lose.
Below you will find some exercises that will prompt you to think about the process and about your needs. Find a quiet place, pick up a notebook or open a new document, and give yourself a chance to think through these questions.
Exercise #1: Where have you been?
A. The big WHY: Why are you leaving your job?
- Driving factor. It’s important to know how you’ll answer this question when asked, but it’s also important for informing your next steps. There’s something about the job that isn’t working for you now, or that could be better. The more you understand that, the more easily you can evaluate future options.
- Supporting factors. What are the things that might not make you leave on their own, but combined make it time to look for a new job? Could you have overcome your driving factor if not for these additional elements?
- What did you like about the position you’re leaving? Think broadly. Who did you like working with? What tasks and projects excited you? Which patients? What worked well as far as administration and management? The location and physical space? Salary and benefits? Future plans? Philosophies?
- What didn’t you like? What were your pet peeves? Which projects or tasks did you dread? With whom did you find it difficult to work? What bothered you about the location and physical space? What values didn’t align with yours? How were the salary and benefits lacking?
- Compensation. How much would you make? How about bonuses? Health insurance, retirement plans, perks?
- Time. What is your ideal schedule? How many hours would you work, and at what times on which days? Vacation and holidays?
- Responsibilities. What would you love to be in charge of? What would you never have to do?
- Colleagues. Who would you work with, and in what capacity? How would you be treated?
- Environment. How far away from home? What sort of physical setting? Is it important to have access to natural areas, or do you want the newest technology?
- Compensation. You accepted a salary and it turns out it’s not adequate. What was it? Why isn’t it working?
- Time. How many hours are you working? What is your terrible schedule? What do you not have time for in your life?
- Responsibilities. What do you have to do that you absolutely hate? That you didn’t expect?
- Colleagues. Who is making things difficult or unpleasant for you, and how? What red flags might you have ignored?
- Environment. What is your space like? Office and clinical space? How far are you driving and why is it worse than you expected? What is or isn’t nearby? What did you think you could ignore early on that is intolerable all day, every day?
- Compensation. If everything else were perfect, how low would you go? What number would sway you to take a position that you would refuse otherwise? Consider benefits, too. What level of health insurance do you and your family require? Where would you draw the line between an acceptable and unacceptable package?
- Time. In healthcare, there’s generally no such thing as too few hours. So consider how much time you’re willing to put in if needed, and what schedule variations you could accept.
- Responsibilities. What are you willing to take on, even if you don’t enjoy it? What will you give up that you would otherwise like to do?
- Colleagues. Is there anyone you’d particularly like to work with if given a chance? What sort of difficult personalities would you be able to deal with?
- Environment. Are you willing to work in an old, run-down facility given the right work? Would you drive further if the job was worth it?
Image matters when “dating” employers, too. You don’t want to deceive anyone; you just want to show yourself from a flattering angle.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with what other people see when they look for you, and make any changes you need to project your competence and professionalism.
And if you’re actively providing information—a CV, resume, or cover letter, for example—it needs to be flawless.
Exercise #2: Ready for your close-up?
Here are a few steps to make sure you’re looking your best:
A. Check out your online presence
- Social Media Profiles. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn… Look over your profile. Scan through your photos and recent posts. Especially look at your bio: what does it say about your current situation? This is the time to put up a nice new picture—and your profile picture should only show you, not friends or family.
- Posts. Any embarrassing rants posted on a bad day? Delete them. True, nothing’s ever truly gone on the Internet, but at least don’t make it easy for a future employer to find. You may also want to tone down any strong political commentary or controversial positions. You don’t want these factors to detract from your qualifications. And it should go without saying that highly unprofessional photos need to go.
- Google yourself. See what comes up, or if there is anything you should know about an unfortunately shared name. It may be hard to change these things, but at least you can know they’re out there.
- Go incognito. Your computer and your phone know you and tailor what you see. To get a neutral perspective, use a private or incognito window in your browser.
- Watch the layout. Your page should have white space and a clean format. Opt for common fonts like Times New Roman and Calibri, in 10- to 12-point font.
- Keep it concise.Put yourself in the shoes of the reviewer, looking through a huge stack of resumes, and don’t make it any longer than necessary.
- Get more eyes on it. Have at least two people proofread what you’ve written, finding any errors and pointing out anything that seems too wordy or doesn’t make sense.
- Structure it well. Make sure the most important information is easy to find. That means subheadings and putting the top points first.
- Try to get fancy. Unless you’re an expert, your style shouldn’t stand out; usually if it does it’s for the wrong reasons.
- Leave in an irrelevant objective. You wouldn’t believe how many people leave the name of a different organization right at the top! In fact, objectives rarely help and often hurt, so you may want to skip it entirely.
- Inflate your achievements with convoluted wording. Did you successfully produce life-sustaining nourishment modules, enhancing the productivity of your project team? Or did you bring muffins to a meeting? These ornate descriptions rarely fool anyone, and they may be hiding items that shouldn’t even be on the resume.
- Customize, and double check your customizations. If you know the name of the person you’re addressing, use it. If you name the organization in the letter, make sure it’s the right organization and you didn’t just cut and paste from another application.
- Keep it short. As with a resume, no one wants to read huge blocks of text. And as with an objective, it can do more harm than good. But do include it unless your recruiter instructs you otherwise.
- Make it sound natural. Read it out loud; if it sounds ridiculous, you have some editing to do.
- Tell your life story. Even if it’s an interesting story, more than a couple of sentences is too much.
- Go overboard on flattery. If there’s a particular reason you want to work at this organization, you can mention it; but don’t spend your precious space telling them how great their organization is.
- Be self-serving. You probably want this job because it will be great for you. That’s fine! But your cover letter should be about why you’re a good fit for them.
Exercise #3: Checklist
- Your fresh, error-free resume or CV
- A list of your degrees, certifications, and test scores, and dates you received them
- Names and contact information for possible references (and their permission to use them)
- Your list of needs, wants, and deal breakers (for your own or your recruiter’s use)
- Government-issued ID
- A planned response for anything you anticipate to be a red flag (resume gaps, current unemployment, legal issues or credit issues that might show up in a background check)
Recruiter to the rescue
For most of us, a job search is stressful and seems like a job in and of itself—a job with which we have limited experience. If your specialty is healthcare, no one is hiring you to find vacancies, submit applications, and interview with hiring teams. In other words, you need help from someone who is good at matching the right people to the right job. That’s where the recruiter comes in.
Healthcare organizations may hire a recruitment firm, such as Genesis Healthcare Consultants, to fill a particular vacancy (contingency recruiting) or to manage placement on an ongoing basis (retained recruitment services). These firms may have inside knowledge of the organization and hold sway over who is presented as a candidate, and therefore who gets the job.
When you approach a recruiter, then, you are helping them by offering yourself as a top job prospect, and helping yourself by getting closer to the inner circle for hiring.
Recruiters may also have information that you can’t get on your own, like new position vacancies on the horizon that have not been promoted yet.
Furthermore, they have relationships with people in the healthcare industry, decision makers in particular, providing a stronger connection than you would demonstrate if you were doing the job search alone.
Choosing a recruiting firm
There are multiple recruiting firms out there. So how do you know which one to choose?
First, they should have expertise in the healthcare area. Some recruitment firms work with many different industries, but how can they expect to know all they need to about each? Additionally, healthcare is a unique field. It takes a unique approach. Genesis Healthcare Consultants focuses exclusively on healthcare recruiting. This allows them to go in depth and really understand the needs of the employees and employers.
Next, they should have a healthy history of success. Genesis Healthcare Consultants’ specialists have over 18 years of experience in medical recruiting, so they can guide the process in the most effective way.
Finally, they should put you first. At Genesis Healthcare Consultants, you’re not a number. You’re not a small fish in a large pond. You’re one of a kind, and you are valued as a potential match for the right open position. The recruiter will get to know what makes you unique.
What to expect from a recruiting firm
When you reach out to a recruitment firm like Genesis, our consultants will ask you questions and learn more about you as a healthcare worker and as a person. They will ask you about your past experiences and what you are—and are not—looking for.
Then they’ll consult their open positions and reach out to their networks to find potential matches for you. They will work with you and the organization with a vacancy to see if your skills are a match, and they may set up an interview.
If a new vacancy comes to their attention, they will review your qualifications and share the information with you.
You can bring your questions; Genesis’s expertise is there to serve you.
How much does it cost?
At Genesis Healthcare Consultants, the healthcare professionals pay nothing out of pocket. The fees for the work they do are paid by the organization, based on a percentage of your negotiated compensation—that means their incentives are aligned with yours: getting you the salary you deserve.
It’s worth it to these organizations; they keep coming to us for help because we do the job right and find the best fit between employees and employers.
Researching potential employers
In order to find the right match—or to evaluate an option provided by a recruiter—you’ll want to get to know the organizations you’re looking at. The easiest place to start is online.
What do they say about themselves?
Look at the organization’s own website and make some notes about how they present themselves. What are their main focus areas and prominent achievements? What does it say about size, number of buildings, and how long it’s been around?
Find staff listings, if possible, for your prospective department and look at bios to see who you might be working with.
Next, check out the organization’s social media accounts. LinkedIn is a good place to start, since it’s targeted at the world of work rather than your personal life. Then see what they’re saying on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other network they may use.
What do others say about them?
You’ll also want to see what others are saying about the organization. Seek out tweets and posts from happy or disgruntled employees or satisfied and outraged patients. What is the general mood? Note that this might not be the best gauge of how things are day-to-day. The extremes are typically what people find worth sharing.
Finally, look to places like Glassdoor.com to get reviews and data from actual employees. You will need to provide some information of your own in order to see all the content.
What is the going pay rate for this place and time?
This information can be hard to find for privately employed professionals, but if the government signs the checks (at a state university hospital, for example) that information may be publicly available.
If you can’t find the first-hand data, look for suggestions elsewhere. Glassdoor provides estimates for many jobs based on the reviews they get. Their accuracy depends on people telling the truth and accurately categorizing their own roles. Other sites, like salary.com, give a broader estimate based on your location and the level of responsibility you report.
Reach out to your personal network
Who do you know who has had an experience with the organization, whether as an employee or as a patient? Ask them for their honest assessment of what was good about it and what could have been better. If they were previously employed, why did they leave?
Do you know anyone who can help you get your foot in the door? You might try looking at mutual friends on Facebook or seeing if you can find someone closer than you in your LinkedIn network. In the best case, you’ll find someone you can talk to personally and name-drop (respectfully!) in an interview situation.
Preparing for the Interview
If you’re working with a recruiter, be sure to leverage them for interview advice. The recruiter may know the organization well, or have inside knowledge of their hiring process. They may be able to give you key points to mention.
Remember that your recruiter is also speaking for you, so make sure they think you are a great candidate, too. Provide any information that will back up your resume.
When to get outside help
If you have some idea of what you want, it’s always a good idea to get the help of a professional. Actors and athletes have agents because their talents lie in their performance. You are a healthcare professional, so it makes sense to hire someone who is a professional at the employment process.
Even if you’re not sure, it’s best to get your name in to a recruiter so you can be notified if a particularly good opportunity comes along.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking for a new job, but you don’t have to go it alone. Not only can you get help; you should! Resources like boutique medical recruitment firms are available to your competitors, just as they are to you, and you can be sure some of them will take advantage of the opportunities offered to them by a recruiting service.
Call or email Genesis Healthcare Consulting today to set up a free appointment to discuss what you’re looking for with our friendly, experienced team members, and get on the fast track to your new and improved career opportunities.
- 1,260,000 projected average annual job openings 2016-2026 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- 624,000 projected job openings per year for practitioners and technical occupations, including 204,000 RN job openings
- 14% expected growth in healthcare occupations 2018-2028 (Source: AMN Healthcare)
- $66,440 Median annual wage for healthcare practitioners and technical occupations (as of 2018) versus $38,640 median annual wage in the US for all occupations. Support occupations like home health aides, OT assistants, and transcriptionists made a median annual wage of $29,740 in 2018.
- Median salary for Certified Nurse Midwife in Orlando, FL: $103,921 (lowest 10% under $87,939; highest 10% over $130,355)
- Median salary for Obstetrics/delivery nurse in Orlando, FL: $68,920 (lowest 10% under $57,094; highest 10% over $86,343)
- Median salary for Obstetrician in Orlando, FL: $270,090 (lowest 10% under $201,696; highest 10% over $375,165) (Source: Salary.com)
- 4,911 Average full-time staff for hospitals with 500 or more beds
- 1,303 Average part-time staff for hospitals with 500 or more beds (Source: BeckersHospitalReview.com)
- 7.4 seconds average number of seconds someone looks at a resume, based on an eye movement tracking study in 2018. (Source: HR Drive.com)
- 12 Average number of jobs on average for a US worker in their lifetime (Source: thebalancecareer.com)
- 4.3 years (men) and 4.0 years (women) – Median employee tenure in the US at current job
- 4.9 years – median years of tenure with current employer, hospitals (2018 study; high of past decade was 6.0 in 2012)
- 3.5 years – median years of tenure with current employer, health services, except hospitals Source: BLS 2018 Employee Tenure Summary
- 5,000 hours saved per year by reducing commute time by 10 minutes (each direction) (5-day week, 50 work weeks/year)
- 6,146 hospitals in the US (Source: https://www.aha.org/statistics/fast-facts-us-hospitals)