The much-feared "EM job apocalypse" during COVID?
You're going to have a job.
Despite all the rumors of mid-level creep and rising numbers of EM graduates, there are still tons of great jobs out there.
The trick is finding them.
I stumbled through this process myself a few years ago, and this is the guide I wish someone had written down for me.
To find a good EM job, every resident (or established attending) uses some combination of these methods:
- Get a job at your residency program
- Use a jobs board
- Cold call an ED
- Word of mouth
- Social media groups
Get a job at your residency program.
This is probably the easiest way to get hired. You already know most of the attendings (and hopefully the Chair of the ED).
EM interviews are usually not stressful.
But its even nicer when you don't have to travel for the interview, don't have to navigate a new parking lot and hospital buildings, and already know the interviewers.
The attendings have watched you work for the past 2-3 years. They already know your strengths and weaknesses, and have decided they're willing to work with you.
Another upside is that its a fairly easy transition into life as an attending. You're comfortable with the logistics of your ED, who to trust, and which services have difficult consultants.
One downside to staying at your home institution is that you won't be exposed to the way other hospital systems work. I didn't realize this as a resident, but a big part of our job is knowing how to interface your medical expertise with your local hospital system. There's a steep learning curve when you start working at a brand new hospital. Your medical knowledge will take a huge step forward, in a way that you just can't experience if you stay in the same ED.
Use a Jobs Board
A jobs board is just a website where hospitals, recruiters, CMGs, or democratic groups can pay to post their openings.
There are several different types of jobs boards out there, and its worth knowing the differences before you start looking.
They're not all created equally, and many are a complete waste of your time.
- General job boards like Indeed.com will post any job, from anyone, about anything. It doesn't make sense for a rocket scientist, a waiter, and a landscaping professional to all be using the same jobs board. They have no idea what an EM physician would be looking for in a job, which is why their posts are basically worthless. Most of these massive job sites just use "scraping" software that will automatically pull in anything it finds on the internet. They're a waste of your time.
- Hospital-specific job boards are great if you have one specific ED that you want to work in. You can simply go to the hospital's website and click on the "Careers" button. The problem with using hospital-specific job boards is that many hospitals contract with a democratic group or a CMG to staff their ED. In this case, you may not see any EM jobs listed whatsoever, but that doesn't mean they're not hiring. Another issue is that they won't show you the breadth of jobs available in a given area.
- Professional medical association job boards seem promising in theory but fail in reality. Some are run by contracted third parties, not the medical association itself. Most of them are insanely expensive, starting at $600/month with prices up to $1500/month. No wonder medical directors are hesitant to use them.
- EM-specific job boards like the one you're looking at right now. In my opinion, this is the best way to find a good EM job. There's not an overwhelming mass of irrelevant job ads. The ads are more likely to address the things you care about. EM groups actually want to advertise on them because they're more affordable and they know they can find good candidates. I'm slightly biased given that I run this site, so I'd encourage you to look around for yourself and decide.
Cold Call an ED
What do you do if you're curious about an EM job at a particular location, but can't find any information about it online?
You pick up the phone and call the ED.
This is scary to lot of young doctors. We don't like talking on the phone.
But its time to get over your fear. You're already a pro at arguing with difficult consultants on the phone, and this will be way easier.
Just Google the ED's main phone number and call.
Then you say: "Hey there, I have a bit of an odd question. I'm an ER doctor looking for a job. Do you know if there's a secretary for the doctors that is available?"
If you're not getting anywhere, see if they know the medical director's name.
It's fairly easy to find someone's contact information once you know who is in charge.
If a call to the ED doesn't produce any good results, you can also call the hospital administrator's office.
If you're dedicated enough, I guarantee that you will eventually get through to the right people.
Word of Mouth
If you hear that a desirable ED group is going to be hiring, there's a chance that they'll fill the position before publicizing it.
It's especially effective if the person who tells you about the job can give you a personal recommendation. EM is still a relatively small community, and these recommendations go a long way.
The downside of using this method is that you simply won't hear about the majority of opportunities, even if you're a very well-connected person with a great resume.
Social Media Groups
There are some good social media groups where EM doctors post openings.
I don't have their permission to share about them publicly, but if you ask around you can figure out how to join them.
The downside is that the jobs posts are sporadic and you may have to check back for years before finding a job in the area you're searching.
Use a Recruiter
Recruiters are a mixed bag. As with any profession, there are good ones and there are bad ones. Somewhere along the line you probably (naively) signed up for a conference with your real contact information, that promptly got sold to every recruiter in the US. They'll text and call constantly.
If you're applying at a big hospital system, they probably have internal recruiters (employed directly by the hospital) that will help you navigate the process. Its normal and expected that you'll work with them. Don't be scared. They're not "head hunters" that are just looking to make a fat commission when you sign a contract.
You are going to find a great job.
The good jobs are still out there.
Make sure you look at a few different options.
You'll find an excellent situation if you look hard enough.
Start your search for a great job here: www.attendingjobs.com
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