After Rounds
Female doctor candidate performing job search

Finding a Job After Residency: How to Get Started

How can you make finding a job after residency easier? Read more for tips on how and where to start, how to use job boards and recruiters — and more.

As a new physician job seeker, your options are broader than those of any generation before you. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fundamental steps you can take to start your medical career off on the best foot possible.

To aid you in finding a job after residency, here are answers to some of the most important questions you’re likely to have when — or even before — you start your search.

When Should I Start?

Timing matters when you’re beginning a physician job search or applying for a fellowship. Both take time, so get started 18 months to two years before your residency is complete. This will give you ample room to complete some of the key tasks that should be on your list, including:

  • Organizing and drafting your best CV

  • Prioritizing and outlining your goals

  • Acquiring key documents like licenses and visas

  • Preparing paperwork like hospital credentialing and your FCVS application
  • Sitting for phone interviews

Along the way, remember that it’s never too early to start nurturing your network. If you’re looking to stay local, put extra effort into connecting with program directors and coordinators in your area. Regardless of where you want to launch your career, start building connections with peers and other professionals in areas where you want to lay the foundation for your future.

Where Should I Start?

Your physician job search will be unique. From practice types to location, you have abundant opportunities to find the practice that fits your personal goals and needs. But you do have resources to help you sort through your seemingly endless options.


Even if you have an attractive CV and a large network, it’s wise to take advantage of the people whose jobs are dedicated to helping you find a position as a practicing doctor. Contingency recruiters will take care of much of the job search legwork for you, and they can dig up opportunities you may not have considered.

Job Boards

Generic standards like Monster do list physician positions, but boards dedicated to doctors are better tailored to your needs. Make sure to consider options such as:

If you’re looking into a post-residency fellowship, you’ll be taking a different path. Consider starting your fellowship research with the American Medical Association’s (AMA) FREIDA database, which allows you to search over 11,000 programs, all of which are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

How Do I Build My Application Shortlist?

You might be busy preparing for boards, but now is an ideal time to start narrowing down a list of potential post-residency employment options. From practice groups to hospital-based employment to even opening your own practice, you have a few medical settings to consider.

A hospital-based practice might mean a slightly smaller salary, but you’ll have much less paperwork to be responsible for. On top of that, you’re graduating at a time when hospitals are actively recruiting graduating physicians from residency programs, so you may be able to take advantage of that extra energy, along with health insurance and administrative staff.

Opening a private practice will mean more flexibility and probably higher pay, but as a small business owner, you’ll also have to manage logistics like staffing, billing and technology decisions.

What Not to Do

You’ve made it through an amazing amount of work, self-discipline and sacrifice, and while you won’t likely set yourself off course with one less-than-optimal decision, there are a few mistakes it’s best to avoid.

Don’t Give In to Outside Pressure

Now is the time to decide for yourself what kind of life you want as a practicing physician. Burnout rates are at epidemic levels among doctors, reports the AMA, so do your research. Avoid being swayed too heavily by high salaries that might be masking a location or specialty that doesn’t fit your goals.

Don’t Be Afraid to Explore

If you’re having trouble solidifying what you want to do, don’t commit to anything permanent that you might later regret. Consider a locum tenens position that can expose you to a mix of inpatient and outpatient settings, rural and urban locations and even practices of different sizes.

Don’t Take the First Offer

While it might be exciting to take that first position, make sure to negotiate. Between salary, noncompetes and even schedule, consider having an attorney review any employment contract before you sign.

Remember to keep your long-term career, financial and health goals in mind, and you’ll have a much easier time finding a job after residency that fits your life.

Megan D. Williams

Megan D. Williams

I'm a freelance business writer with 10 years' experience in healthcare (hospital consulting), over a decade's work in online content creation, and an MBA. I create engaging, informative content on general B2B topics, healthcare B2B, mobile healthcare, nutrition and supplements, and freelancing as a career. I have created content for clients including Samsung, Cintas, NutraScience Labs and Business Solutions Magazine. While I specialize in healthcare, my education and experience also give me the ability to create engaging and effective content on almost any business topic.

I create thought leadership articles, blogs, news stories, case studies, and website content for emerging and established B2B healthcare brands. I have a unique mix of style, industry experience, and education that brings a signature tone and competence to my work.

I have 10 years experience in revenue cycle/IT consulting for hospitals, an MBA, and I run Locutus Health Communications, a content strategy company dedicated to the B2B healthcare space. I've also been certified in online content marketing by Copyblogger Media and have been creating online content for over a decade.

My Work
I write on healthcare IT (EHR, data analytics, security, cloud storage, MU/HIPPA, etc.) at BSM Info. I also create in-depth content for my clients ranging from blogs and articles, to website content and white papers. My understanding of the culture of the industry and constant contact with advancements and trends allows me to create work that is connected, in-depth, and engaging. I specialize in revenue cycle, healthcare IT, and startup content.

My Outlook
Most importantly though, I believe B2B content in healthcare will benefit from a shift in tone...a shift to one that is rooted in the seriousness and formality of the industry, but that still understands the need for humanity and a more editorial feel. Thank you for your time

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