Emergency medicine jobs are a dime a dozen, right? So it shouldn’t seem unusual that doctors will work in a local ED for number of years before getting out and moving on to a new facility. It’s actually quite normal. The question for doctors planning a move is this: are you ready for the job search you know is coming?

Looking for a job in any industry can be stressful. In emergency medicine though, job hunting can be particularly challenging due to the employer’s costs of hiring and onboarding. Employers put tens of thousands of dollars into every new hire, so they are very particular about who it is they actually recruit. They want to know that any candidate they seriously consider will, if hired, stick around for at least a few years.

For the doctor, this presents the challenge of a good impression without making any guarantees. The ED physician does not want to present him/herself as a locum tenens doctor without a staffing agency behind him/her, but he/she also doesn’t want to commit him/herself to an employer for the next decade. So what does the doctor do?

  • Plan to Put the Best Foot Forward

Dr. Graham Walker, an ED physician from San Francisco, recently wrote a post for Emergency Medicine News describing his experiences with a historic heatwave that struck California this past summer. To hear Dr. Walker describe it, San Francisco was completely unprepared for temperatures in the low 90s, let alone record-setting temps that eclipsed 110° at the height of the heat wave. Moreover, Walker said there really was no way to prepare. It rarely gets above 80° in the City by the Bay. Most homes and offices don’t have air conditioning.

Walker’s advice for preparing for future emergencies in San Francisco is pretty simple: have a good emergency plan in place and be ready to implement it when the time comes. That is what the team at his hospital did, and they managed to handle an excessively high workload very effectively.

Preparing for a job search you know is coming is similar to what Dr. Walker described. There is no way to know for sure how a job search is going to go, what a doctor will encounter, and what will ultimately be necessary to land that new position. But doctors can put a plan in place that facilitates putting the best foot forward. When it does come time to look for a new emergency medicine job, implementing the plan will go a long way toward achieving success.

  • What a Good Plan Entails

The locum tenens physician puts certain practices into place in order to guarantee access to the best assignment choices. Employed physicians can use the same strategies. It begins by maintaining a detailed CV at all times, a CV that can be easily modified to tailor it to specific jobs being sought.

Next, doctors should maintain open lines of communication between themselves and all their other contacts within the medical field. Often times, finding a new job is as much about who you know is what you’ve done the past. Those connections can be leaned on once the job search begins.

Finally, getting ready for that job search you know is coming is about managing expectations. The doctor should know what he/she is looking for, what he/she expects to earn, where he/she hopes to look for work, and so on. By keeping expectations both reasonable and manageable, doctors can keep what might otherwise become a frenetic job search from getting out of hand.