I’m graduating this summer and still don’t have a job lined up – what do I do?

It’s May, and you still haven’t signed a contract for your first physician job. You’ve invested years and hundreds of thousands of dollars into your education and training, and you’ve finally reached the end of the road. What’s next for you? The thought of not having a job lined up when you’re graduating in less than two months may be daunting, but it’s not the end-all be-all. There are many reasons and circumstances that may have led you to be here in this position, but it’s not too late to find the job you’re looking for, as well as a way to close the gap between paychecks.

If you’re approaching the end of your residency in July and haven’t secured a job yet, you can:

  1. Expand your search: Cast a wider net in terms of geographic locations or practice settings. Consider exploring opportunities in different regions or even locum tenens positions to gain experience while continuing your job search.
  2. Utilize your network: Reach out to your professional network, including mentors, colleagues, and faculty members. Let them know about your job search and ask if they have any leads or can provide referrals. Networking can often uncover hidden job opportunities, and word of mouth can be invaluable.
  3. Contact your training program: Reach out to your residency or fellowship program director or coordinator to inquire if they have any job leads or connections with employers. They may have resources or contacts that can assist you in finding suitable positions. Remember, your program is also invested in your success because having unemployed graduates goes against everything they are aiming for!
  4. Attend job fairs and medical conferences: Look for job fairs, career events, or conferences that cater to physicians in your specialty. These events provide valuable networking opportunities and allow you to connect with potential employers directly.
  5. Update your application materials: Review and update your curriculum vitae (CV), cover letter, and other application materials. Tailor them to each job opportunity you apply for, highlighting relevant experiences and skills. Make sure you have your updated materials with you when attending job fairs, medical conferences, and any other possible networking event.
  6. Consider locum tenens or temporary positions: Temporary or locum tenens positions can provide you with an income and valuable experience while you continue your search for a more permanent job. These opportunities may also open doors to more permanent positions within the same organization or network. Read more about locum tenens positions here 
  7. Work with a recruitment agency: Consider partnering with a physician recruitment agency or staffing firm. They have expertise in matching physicians with job opportunities and can help you identify positions that align with your preferences and qualifications. They know what it means for you to be in the job search this late in the game, and they know how time is of the essence.
  8. Be proactive and persistent: Take a proactive approach to your job search. Regularly check online job boards, hospital websites, and professional association listings for new openings. Follow up with potential employers after submitting applications or attending interviews to express your continued interest.
  9. Consider moonlighting or part-time work: In the interim, consider taking up part-time or moonlighting positions to gain experience, build your network, and supplement your income while continuing your search for a full-time job.

Remember that the job search process can take time, and even if it is not convenient, some physicians secure positions after completing their residency. Stay positive, maintain a proactive mindset, and leverage the resources available to you to increase your chances of finding a suitable job.

Once you have a job offer in hand, you may feel the pressure to immediately sign your contract. Your timeline does not change the legal obligations you are signing on to, so make sure you do your due diligence and consult a physician employment agreement attorney.