Planning a Career Strategy
by Patrick C. Alguire, MD, FACP
Director, Education and Career Development, ACP
Most residency and fellowship programs do not offer guidance on finding employment after training. Nevertheless, to be successful in securing the best position, you need to complete a number of tasks in their proper sequence. Topping the task list is creating a career strategy, yet the most common mistake made by residents and fellows is beginning the job search without a clear and definite plan. Consider this: somewhere between 40% and 60% of newly graduated physicians change their job after just 5 years. In my own case, it was after 6 months!
A career strategy entails nothing more than making a choice based upon what is important to you. Some important factors to consider might include family priorities, location, financial requirements, and working conditions. To help organize your thoughts, write down the answers to the following 12 questions:
- How do you wish to practice medicine?
- as a hospital employee
- in a single specialty group
- in a multispecialty group
- within an HMO
- in another setting (urgent care, outpatient student health, public health department)
- no preference
- What kind of compensation would you most prefer for your first
- income guarantee
- salary with a production bonus
- bank loan
- What level of compensation do you expect in your first
- How do you view working in a managed care environment?
- do not prefer
- have no preference
- In what type of setting do you prefer to practice?
- In what type of setting do you prefer to live?
- What type of school system will be important to you?
- public schools
- private schools
- not an issue
- What is the most important consideration in selecting your
first professional practice setting? The second most important
- geographic location
- financial compensation
- quality professional environment
- What type of patient mix do you prefer?
- all hospital
- all ambulatory
- mix of hospital and ambulatory (specify)
- How many hours per week do you wish to work (excluding call)?
- less than 35
- between 34 and 45
- more than 45
- How many days of call each month are you willing to take?
- 4 -5
- more than 10
- How important are job opportunities for your spouse/significant
- very important but not essential
- not important
You may wish to rank these 12 factors as most important, important, and least important. Use your ranked list when assessing the desirability of job opportunities, making the best match between the various opportunities and your needs. Meeting most or all of your career needs will not guarantee job satisfaction, but it does represent a rational approach to career planning.
The information in this paper was drawn in part from "Making the Right Practice Decisions in a Rapidly Changing Environment" published by ACP.
ACP Career Connection's
Job Search Advantage
Search for jobs that suit your internal medicine and/or specialty career path. Register as a Job Seeker for additional benefits.
- Build, edit and store your Job Seeker Profile
- Select Early Job Notifier to have job alerts e-mailed to you
Career Advice Videos
Got 3 minutes? Get prepared for your job search with these short videos.
Watch Videos (ACP Members Only)
Resident/Fellow Member Benefits: ACP offers Resident/Fellow Membership for internal medicine residents and subspecialty fellows-in-training.
Join ACP: Take advantage of members only benefits by becoming a Resident/Fellow member of ACP today.
Connect with your peers
Join this ACP members-only virtual community to connect with other residents and fellows.
Find a Mentor
Find an experienced physician who can answer your questions about internal medicine.
What will you learn from your Annals Virtual Patient?
Annals Virtual Patients is a unique patient care simulator that mirrors real patient care decisions and consequences. CME Credit and MOC Points are available. Start off with a FREE sample case. Start your journey now.
Volunteer through ACP
ACP recognizes the importance of volunteerism and community service at both the national and local levels as part of its commitment to universal access to health care. View current volunteer opportunities and network with other ACP member volunteers today.
Internal Medicine Meeting 2015 Live Simulcast!
Unable to attend the meeting this year? On Saturday, May 2, seven sessions will be streamed live from the meeting. Register for the simulcast and earn CME credit after watching each session. Watch it live or download for later viewing.