Be true to yourself


By casually looking at job opportunities and talking to other physicians, you are starting to get an idea of what you are looking for in a practice and a community. Take all the information you have gathered and define your search goals. Write it down – it helps to get it on paper.

What is important to you? What is important to your family? What type of practice do you want? Where do you want to live and work? Keep in mind that the answers to some of these questions might change what your CV looks like. That’s OK – remember, you want your CV and cover letter to be relevant to the job you are looking for. The biggest mistake most residents make when they start their job searches is not wanting to rule anything out, then tightening up their parameters only as their job search continues. Try reversing this trend and turn that funnel upside down. Start out being very picky. You have given yourself enough time for your job search, so you have time to open up your parameters if you don’t find utopia right from the start. Your time will be better spent on jobs and areas that really fit you instead of trying to fit yourself into any available job.


Minimizing your stress during your job search is important for your own well-being – and the health of everyone around you. As you investigate your goals and priorities, ask yourself questions about the following:

  • Your life purpose. What gives your life meaning? What inspired you to go into the field of medicine, and what do you wish to be remembered for?
  • Beliefs and values. What scruples do you live by? What are and aren’t you willing to compromise? Do you feel like you’re honoring your values? What would you change?
  • Mistakes and successes. What errors linger in your memory? What do you most regret? Where have you succeeded? Of what accomplishments, professional or otherwise, are you most proud?
  • Short-, medium- and long-term goals. What does your ideal life look like? What steps are required to get you there? Specificity is key.

– Excerpted from “Keeping burnout at bay.”

Before you take a job offer, you will need to answer only two questions: Can you work there? Can you live there? Don’t wait to get to an on-site interview before you start investigating those questions. And don’t think that answering “yes” to one of the questions makes the position a match.

Many former residents can attest to the fact that just because you have found a place where you could work doesn’t mean it’s a location where you and your family could live. The recruiter or someone else at the facility can provide you with community information including the area’s educational opportunities, housing suggestions, activities for you and your family, an overview of the local economy, etc.

As you research your options, know that it’s common to view job postings that do not mention salary packages or compensation ranges. Employers can be hesitant to list this information publicly, though they often know the salary range and are happy to discuss it with you at the appropriate time. When comparing opportunities, take into account differences in reimbursements and cost of living. Try to get a feel for the entire compensation package, including bonuses, relocation assistance, loan assistance and benefits. But don’t make money your first topic.

Ask colleagues who have finished their training in the previous year or two about their experiences, too. It’s important to use every resource available