Doctor Job Hunt: How to Stand Out in the Competitive Medical Field

There aren’t too many professions that can say they’ve been around as long as that of the physician. As a doctor, you’ll always have job stability. The problem is standing out in such a competitive field.

Since the pandemic, there’s been a massive shift in the healthcare system. New physicians entering the field must deal with never-before-seen expectations in the interview process. Experienced doctors are leaving their high-stress specialties for less demanding roles to avoid burnout.

These changes make it more challenging for doctors on the hunt for a job. Whether you’ve just graduated or are looking for a change, you need to know how to make your resume and communication stand out from the crowd to land a good impression.

Here, we’ll share the tips and tricks others like you have found work in this new, post-COVID world of competitive physician job searches.

1. Expand Your Social Network

You’ve likely experienced interviews where the hiring decision isn’t based on what you know. It’s who you know.

Now that the world is globally connected, competition can come from anywhere. But this works both ways: You never know who you know who knows someone. 

Keep expanding your social network. Stay active in social media and in local and professional networking events. Maintain the connections you create.

As long as you’re developing your reputation as someone knowledgeable and dependable, you’ll build connections that might come in handy during a job hunt.

2. Consider a Recruiter

Job recruiters can make the search substantially easier for you. When you hire someone to advocate for you on your hunt for a particular position, your potential openings become significantly wider. Recruiters know which job boards have the type of role you’re looking for, where and when to search, and who to talk to when they find the opening that matches your request.

In many healthcare facilities, vacancies are posted internally first. Recruiters often have the first line of contact with Human Resources. HR knows that the recruiters will only send them qualified applicants, and the recruiters know which job openings meet your criteria.

You can tell the recruiter you work with what your expectations are, including responsibilities, benefits, and salary. If necessary, they’ll advise you as to how realistic your expectations are in that area using resources like the updated MGMA salary data (read more on that here at Physicians Thrive) to correlate their suggestions.

The dream job you’re looking for might not be available just yet. However, having someone out there looking on your behalf lets you focus on other important things, which is crucial if you’re still working somewhere else.

3. Make It About the Team

Doctors have stereotypically been independent and demanding. You’ve gone through years of medical school, so you should have the final say in every decision, right?

Well, that type of thinking doesn’t fly as well in today’s team-focused world. Now, hiring managers want to know that you’re willing to work together with the other physicians, nurses, and the rest of the staff to foster a comfortable work environment.

This is essential for a few reasons. First, when you’re working in a high-stress environment, you don’t want emotions to cloud someone’s ability to follow directions. If you have a working relationship with others and you’re demanding in the moment, it’s easier for them to listen respectfully without feeling attacked.

Second, any healthcare role is team-based. What one person does or doesn’t do can clog up the system, ultimately causing delays in patient care. For example, if you’ve referred a patient to another specialist but haven’t done the notes yet, the staff sending the referral can’t finish their job because they’ll need the documentation to go with the request.

Finally, willingness to work as a team member shows your character. If you have a good attitude and can roll with the rest of the staff, you’ll be an asset instead of a liability to the facility. That’s a soft skill that can help you stand out from a sea of doctors who want to be in full control.


In the past, heading out on a job search meant updating your resume and cover letter and tweaking your CV. Today’s physician interviews still require those documents and the hard skills necessary to do the job. 

But to stand out from the other applicants, you need to highlight your soft skills, build those social and professional networks, and let a recruiter do the heavy lifting for you. Concentrate on finding ways to showcase your knowledge, reputation, and work ethic, and you’ll find your dream job sooner than you might expect!

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