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Elements of An Effective Physician Job Search

Jackson Physician Search
June 28, 2019

There are more practice opportunities than there are physicians to fill them and the demand for physicians is forecasted to grow. That means the job market is in favor of physicians. Don’t settle for a position that doesn’t fit or that you’ve outgrown. Find your best fit by focusings on the elements of an effective physician job search.

When to Start Looking

Now is the best time for a physician to look for a new practice opportunity. Most physicians are open to a new practice opportunity.1 It doesn’t hurt to always have your ear to the ground. Networking is a great way to stay up to date with what is going on in your specialty and to learn about practice opportunities. If you’re feeling burnout, changing where and how you practice can make a difference. It’s important to remember you have options and that it’s much better for you and for patient care to change where you practice instead of leaving the practice of medicine altogether.

Increasing Job Satisfaction

How would you rate job satisfaction at your current practice? Here are a few ideas to improve your satisfaction. If you can’t change how you practice, then changing where you practice can achieve the desired results. Are you spending too much time doing paperwork, you’re not alone? In a recent Medscape poll, almost 60% of physicians responded that they are burdened by too much charting and paperwork.2 Find a practice that has tools or services like medical scribes to help streamline these tasks. A job that fits your ideal work/life balance is key to job satisfaction.

Advancing Your Career

Have you reached a point in your career where you want more control and decision-making abilities? Then it is time to explore leadership positions. That may mean changing organizations or practice settings to position yourself for leadership opportunities. Consider going back to school to become a Certified Physician Executive or to complete an MBA. If your career aspirations don’t involve becoming an executive, there are other options such as academic medicine, research, and non-clinical jobs.

Improving Your Compensation

Compensation models can be complicated and understanding your actual compensation is difficult until you reach the reality of an actual paycheck. When computing compensation make sure you consider salary, benefits, and bonuses. When negotiating your compensation check to see if you are satisfied with the PTO plan. Ask about retirement savings options and the option of deferred compensation. If you have student loans, don’t hesitate to ask about student loan repayment. Use our Salary Calculator to compare compensation in different cities.

Preparing for Retirement

Are you getting ready to retire soon? Have you considered being semi-retired? If you dreamed of moving to the beach to retire you can make the dream a reality while still practicing. You can find opportunities in your dream location with a lighter schedule. Maybe you’re not close to retirement but planning for retirement has become a focus. Changing jobs to get better retirement benefits is an option. No matter what your retirement goals are, there are practice opportunities that can help you achieve them.

Satisfying Family Needs

Are you exploring opportunities so you can spend more time with your family? Is it time to find a new place to practice so you can accommodate a growing family? If your family situation is changing because your children are reaching adulthood, then downsizing and moving will make sense. Because your profession is in such demand, it affords you the flexibility to move closer to your grandchildren. Your career offers you options to find the right work/life balance and prioritize family.

Choosing the Right Location

When looking at practice opportunities don’t focus on a specific location, focus on the lifestyle you want. When the cost of living is factored in, location has a major impact on your financial situation. Where you practice also determines patient volume and diversity. Traffic, nightlife, outdoor activities, and other factors outside of medicine are tied to location. Plenty of cities have similar attractions, activities, and sports teams. Outdoor activities such as golfing, skiing, or fishing can be enjoyed all over the country. You can find a practice opportunity in whatever climate and geography you prefer. Determine what you want and go from there.

Evaluating the Community

Your living situation will evolve from residency to practicing and will continue to change as your career matures. When assessing potential communities, it is important to ask the locals about traffic, security, and what they like most about living there. Do a trial run of your commute to see what grocery stores, schools, and other important resources are on the way. There are online tools for assessing school districts. Top universities don’t just consider academic performance, they also take into consideration extracurricular activities and athletics. Get to know as much as you can about the community, start your research at the local chamber of commerce (or their website).

Preparing for a Change

Start preparing for your job search by updating your CV. Practice interviewing and make a list of questions you want to ask. Ask for letters of recommendation and references from your colleagues. Define exactly what you want from a practice opportunity. Make a list of must-haves including compensation requirements, preferred schedule, community features, etc.

Weighing Options

Finding the perfect fit is possible. It takes some effort but is ultimately worth it. Defining your priorities before you start looking eases the decision-making process. Once you identify new opportunities, it’s time to weigh your options for the best fit. Making a list keeps everything organized. Don’t forget to factor in both state income and personal property taxes and the cost of insurance when comparing compensation and cost of living. Beyond the list, how did the staff make you feel during your interview? Was there a strong sense of community? If you have a spouse and family, what do they think?

Physicians are in demand across the country. If you aren’t satisfied with your current practice, now is a good time to explore new opportunities. Talk to a recruiter to see what is available. They will help determine what opportunity is a good fit and then assist you with every step of the process. They can answer your questions, help you communicate with organizations, and even offer advice.


  1. “The Best Strategies for Recruiting Passive Candidates” Doximity.
  2. “National Physician Burnout, Depression, and Suicide Report” Medscape.

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