How to build your support network to find a job

Your support network helped you get where you are today in your medical career. Now enlist their help to find the job of your dreams.

Think of a person in your life - or perhaps several - without whom you wouldn’t have selected a career in medicine or pushed through when you felt like you couldn’t go on. Someone who encouraged you in residency or told you years ago that you had what it took to become a physician.

Maybe it was a peer, a friend or a mentor. In the same way that other people helped you get to where you are today, the best way to make it to your future goal of landing the job of your dreams is by enlisting the help of others.

Find your support network

People who thrive have support networks. When you have a challenge ahead of you, such as a job search, you want to have people on your team.  People on your team are people who you can call to help you tackle action items on your list - providing references, sharing job leads, evaluating an offer - or they are people who can help you with the mental and emotional labor of job searching, giving you the encouragement and kudos you need to push through. In fact, getting crystal clear regarding who is on your team - and going as far as writing down who can help you with what - will be both comforting and time-saving when you need to get something done. You’ll know exactly who to call.

Enlist the help of residents, your program director and your fellowship leader

Here’s some good news: your starting lineup is right in front of you. You can work with your fellow residents, your program director, and your fellowship leader to network, find job openings, and nail down the right opportunity.

Look to the program director or the residency director. If you have an existing relationship, you can tap these individuals in leadership roles for advice, job leads, references, recommendation letters, and introductions to employment attorneys who can help you parse through your offer letters.

Residency and fellowship colleagues are also some of your best potential job-search teammates because they are often job searching at the same time as you. Although it may seem as though they’re your competition, they’re not. Your fellow residents may be able to put you in touch with the recruiter for a job they didn’t take, or they may have come across other opportunities through their searches that weren’t a fit for them but could be your dream practice.

Share information about jobs and recruiters

Be proactive about creating an environment where you and your peers share information and experiences so that you and others can see what kind of offers are coming in. As you are job searching, you can elevate others around you by sharing information about upcoming job fairs, introducing other residents to recruiters you’ve met, and passing along links to job opportunities that may be of interest to someone in your cohort.

Deepak Chopra, M.D., a popular author and speaker on alternative medicine, is quoted as saying: "Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging." It’s a good approach to networking, and it’s doctor’s orders.

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