Jump Starting Your Job Search While In Medical School: Part 1

When you are in medical school, your job search may feel like a project that’s light years away. While it’s true that your number one priority is succeeding in medical school, it’s a good investment of your time to get educated about what your job search will look like. If you’re knowledgeable about what the job search process is, you can take small, but meaningful steps now, like cultivating great relationships with potential references, attending conferences, and gaining clarity around what kind of work environment is a match for your preferences and goals. Consider these steps to jump start your job search while in medical school, and integrate these steps into your process as you learn and prepare for your career.
Step 1: Consider where you may want to live.
Start thinking about the cities or regions where you may want to live. Of course, you don’t know yet where you’ll be matched for your residency. But if you have a few target regions in mind, you can take a glance at the health systems and hospitals operating in those areas. Search for job opportunities on to familiarize yourself with the research phase of job searching. You’ll learn what specialties are most in demand and what the job market is like in the areas in which you are most interested.
Other resources that can prepare you to start your job search are association websites, physician conferences, medical journals, and job fairs.
If you are an international medical student, you will want to educate yourself on what visa sponsorship you will need. You may want to have an exploratory conversation with an immigration attorney so you are knowledgeable about how your job search will be slightly different. Different states have different numbers of visa slots available, so you may want to plan your search strategically.
Step 2: Be proactive about your CV
Technically, most physicians use a resume in their job search, but you’ll hear recruiters and your peers casually refer to the document as a CV (curriculum vitae). Your CV lets potential employers know about your education, training, interests and background.
Your CV should include most, if not all, of the following sections: Contact information; objective; education; academic honors; board certification, specialty, and licenses; internships, residencies and fellowships; volunteer experience; clinical experience; publications/ presentations; professional memberships; awards and honors; cultural activities and interests.
Of course, as a medical student, you don’t have board certifications or licenses; you’re working towards it. But now is a great time to take action around the other ways that you can stand out as a well-rounded candidate. Consider exploring local volunteer opportunities, getting involved with a local charity, or joining a steering committee or board of a local non-profit organization.  Consider learning a foreign language: bilingual doctors can care for diverse patient populations. Research conferences you are interested in, and if you can, attend them or watch presentations that are streamed online or uploaded to YouTube; you can get a sense of how presenters discuss their areas of expertise and consider whether you’d like to present at conferences in the future.

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