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Finding a Job- Tips and Tricks

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I’m certainly not the job search expert but having gonethrough the process last year and after finishing boards and reflecting thelast few weeks, I thought I would leave a few words of advice. One of the mostdifficult things I found was how to even start the process and where to go, whoto contact, etc. As always, I would appreciate if some the more senior postersadd their 2 cents and divergent thoughts as I’m sure each of us had differentexperiences.

PGY 2/3- This is really a time to immerse yourself inRadiation Oncology and gain the knowledge and skills you need to have a goodfoundation. You don’t need to do much onthe job front (exceptions below) but if you the chance to give a presentation,work on a manuscript, etc. and it won’t jeopardize your clinical duties orsanity, go for it as it can help in the job search in the future.

1. Remember that you are always being observed.That’s not to say you can’t have a good time at meetings and enjoy yourself butremember that we are a small community and people will remember you if you arethe drunk resident at ASTRO or on the flip side if you give a great oralpresentation. The same goes in your own department; it’s not just about keepingthe attendings happy, I know of several people who had jobs contact theirdepartments and speak with nurses, secretaries, dosimetrists, therapists, etc.People want someone that will get along with the team.

2. If you are interested in a competitiveregion/narrow geographic window/have a dream practice in mind, I know ofseveral people who became familiar with the groups in the area they wanted andreached out to spend a day or two observing while they were free andcommunicated with partners at meetings so that people in the group werefamiliar with them.

PGY-4- This is a tough time. You are starting to master somethings but still aren’t ready for prime time yet.

1. Prepare a CV and have a senior/attending review-If you need a template ask a senior or an attending. Also, try to enhance yourCV as much as possible without killing yourself, even if you think you want togo to private practice.

2. Start perusing the ASTRO job center to at leasthave a frame of reference for salaries, positions, and skill requirements.

3. This can be difficult but if you are looking atdepartments/positions that require a certain skill set that you don’t receivein your training find a way to get some experience if possible- ex.Brachytherapy- apply to ABS brachy fellowships, Cyberknife- contact departmentsfor an away if your PD will allow, Protons- same thing.



PGY-5- I didn’t really start the job search until afterphysics/bio boards were done. After that, I spent a few weeks looking atpostings on ASTRO and going through academic programs I thought might interestme. I came up with a cover letter and cold emailed some academic programs thatI thought would be a good match as well as some private groups with my CVattached. I sent in a few CVs over the ASTRO job center. Most of the academicprograms initially told me they were uncertain of what their needs would beuntil closer to ASTRO but I did get a few interviews for academics and privatepractice in August.

1. Even if you think you are sure you want privateor academic, take the time to research both. I thought for sure I was headed toprivate practice but at the suggestion of my mentors applied to academicprograms as well. I learned very quickly that I had misconceptions about bothand was floored by the diversity of practices in both academics and privatepractice and ended up signing at an academic institution where I found theperfect fit for myself.

2. When you interview ask to review charts, plans,etc. You need to know if you see eye to eye in treating philosophy with yourpotential colleagues- that doesn’t mean it has to be exactly what you do but ifyou’re seeing mean lungs of 40 Gy , or 20 fraction palliative cases consistentlythat may be a warning side.

3. Don’t be shy/afraid to ask the questions youreally have. I found it difficult but necessary to discuss salary, benefits,etc. up front because I didn’t see a point in wasting their time or my time ifthe fit wasn’t going to be there.

4. Have some idea about what fits you. You knowgeographically and practice fit wise what your hard limits are. I know a fewpeople who interviewed all over the country and at every type of practice whichcan be informative but if you know that you or your family would never livein a certain locale, or you would neverwant to practice in a certain practice setting don’t waste your time or thejobs time.

5. Don’t ever think a position is beyond you. WhatI learned as that while there is an advantage coming from a Top 5-10 program,after that, jobs want the best candidate based on their CV, letters, and peopleskills and not as much on where they went for training. I didn’t experiencethis as much but I have several friends that have told me that in morecompetitive cities there was a push for pedigree grads but I never encounteredthis.

6. Do what’s best for you and your family.

Best of luck to the current PGY-5’s. It’s a long, stressful,and difficult road but it means you are closer to doing what you spent allthese years studying and training for. May you all find the position that isbest for you.
 

RadOncDoc21

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I definitely appreciate the advice, as a new pgy-3 I'm starting to "smell myself" a little bit more but realize I have a lot to learn in a short amount of time. It is good to see others share their experiences and advice because this site has been priceless in helping me grow.
 

iradi8u

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Thanks a lot for this information - it is quite helpful. As a PGY5 just buffing up my CV, I felt like I was way behind the rest of my colleagues, but I seem to be following a similar timeline to yours.
 
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I would emphasize that being a nice, normal person goes a long way. AND... the best part is that all of your interview costs (car, flight, hotel, etc) are paid for this time around. :)

Honestly, the process is a lot like dating. Both parties are looking for a good fit in terms of personality, work ethic, research interests, etc. I really enjoyed the job search - it was probably the most fun I had during residency. :)
 

Cardano

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Hey all,
My first post here. I've checked in from time to time over the years for some good advice, so thanks to all the active members.

I had 2 quick questions:

1. I'm a 2013 grad looking for jobs in major metro markets in the western U.S. I'm still early in the job search process, but everything I've tried thus far: ASTRO website, talking to recruiters, tapping my faculty for contacts have only turned up jobs in small markets, the midwest, etc.
Is it just that it's too early in the process? To find openings in the larger markets is cold-calling/e-mailing the only way to go?

2. How are people finding the current hiring climate? (Again, I know it's still early on, but just curious as to what people's impressions are).

Thanks everyone!
 

Gfunk6

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1. I'm a 2013 grad looking for jobs in major metro markets in the western U.S. I'm still early in the job search process, but everything I've tried thus far: ASTRO website, talking to recruiters, tapping my faculty for contacts have only turned up jobs in small markets, the midwest, etc.
Is it just that it's too early in the process? To find openings in the larger markets is cold-calling/e-mailing the only way to go?

It is never too early to get started. However, some practices may not have clearly established their needs this far in advance.

In larger markets you simply have to cold call/email as there are many extremely good practices that will never advertise. These practices are well-known enough that they would be flooded with application if they put a job listing out in the open. The way they figure it, interested/qualified applicants will always be knocking on their door.

2. How are people finding the current hiring climate? (Again, I know it's still early on, but just curious as to what people's impressions are).

Cautious optimism or pessimism (depending on your perspective). The last few years have been a period of perpetual uncertainty for Radiation Oncology and hiring practices have reflected that. Nevertheless, finding a job is not a problem but finding one in high-demand areas is always challenging.

BTW, for those of you who may have missed it, here are my thoughts on the job search in 2011 (part 1, part 2, and part 3).
 
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