Landing Your Dermatology Dream Job – Your Job Search Countdown
If you completed your medical degree immediately after college, you’ve been in school for two decades (sometimes longer) by the time you become a dermatologist. If you’ve made the time to go back to school after a career in a different field or while still working, you’ve likely juggled multiple responsibilities on your way to earning your medical degree and are excited to get working. If you’re currently a dermatologist, but you have a move coming up or you want to transition to a different type of practice, you probably already know what kind of work environment you prefer. Whatever your specific situation, whether you’ve recently finished your training or are ready to switch to a new dermatology practice, you want a great job, but you should also be looking for the right job for you. In this blog, we’re going to walk through the steps of a successful job search and discuss when you should be doing them in order to have the right job waiting for you when you’re ready.
18 months Before Your Start Date
If you’re finishing up a residency or fellowship, you should start looking into practice styles and opportunities in the area you plan to live about two years before you hope to start your new job. In addition to looking into potential dermatology practices you may want to work with, you should also do research about the state and local licensing as well as look into insurance providers and third-party payers you want to register with. If you are certain of the state that you will be practicing in, apply for your license early to avoid delays in your start date. Payor credentialing requires a full unrestricted license before they will even begin the process which can take as long as 120 days to complete. Getting started early is essential to ensure you feel prepared for the application and interview process as well as knowing your options and feeling prepared when it comes time to finalize your salary, benefits, and other job details.
15 Months Before Your Start Date
It’s time to start writing your curriculum vitae (CV). A CV is like a resume, but it should include more detail, and it may be several pages long, depending on your experience. It’s often the first impression a prospective employer will have of you. In short, you should make sure you are providing accurate details that are easy to read and accurate. However, you also need to emphasize all of your skills and experience, so a potential employer knows exactly how valuable you are as a member of their clinical team.
The following elements need to be included in a good CV:
- Start with your name and credentials. – You will also want to include your contact information including your cell phone and personal email address.
- Professional Summary – At the top of your CV, provide a brief professional summary so recruiters or hiring teams can easily see your basic details and current title or position. Include your professional goals and the type of practice setting and patient mix you are looking for.
- Education – Starting with the most recent schooling, go through your educational history, listing the school, dates attended, and degree earned. You can also include references to any research, awards, or other special recognitions you received.
- Professional experience – Starting with the most recent work, detail your work history, including the practice, position held, dates employed, and a bulleted list of relevant work experience and job duties. Dates should be written in MM/YYYY format. You can also include past work experience not related to dermatology, but you need to provide details explaining the relevance. For example, if you worked as a research assistant during college (even for a degree in a field other than dermatology), you can include elements like project management, organization, research methods, and teamwork as items on the bulleted list detailing your experience within the position. Be sure to include explanations for any gaps in your work history.
- Professional training and affiliations – If you’ve been practicing for years, it will be easy to fill up this section with professional organization affiliations. If you’re newer to the field, don’t forget to include any participation with student dermatology organizations and honor societies. You may also want to consider joining professional organizations as a student member to begin networking.
- Licensure – list all active state licenses
- Special duties, awards, and/or recognitions – This can include things like serving as Chief Resident, an officer for a professional organization, receiving service awards, etc.
- Research, publications, and presentations – Only include this section if you have done clinical research, writing, and presentations. This section should be at the bottom of your CV with accurate citations included.
- Volunteer work and community involvement – If you have participated in any volunteer work or otherwise gotten involved in your community, this can be a great way to differentiate yourself to potential employers.
- References – These are other physicians and supervisors who can vouch for your character as a person, work ethic, and skill as a dermatologist.
In addition to your CV, you should write a general cover letter that introduces yourself, your experience, and your professional goals. Before submitting this cover letter, you should customize it for the position. Try to include similar or the same wording found in job listings in your cover letter to directly link your experience and qualifications to what the employer is looking for.
15-18 Months Before Your Start Date
At this point, you should start seriously considering what matters to you when it comes to the ideal workplace. Do you prefer the busy, fast-paced atmosphere of a large practice? Are you interested in purely medical dermatology, or would you like to also do surgical excisions, cyst, and lymphoma removal? Do you have an interest in cosmetic dermatology and if so, which services? What technologies or practice amenities do you feel are necessary for you to provide the best treatment? What benefits, and workload do you think will offer you a good work-life balance? Really consider all of the different aspects of potential practices and find the one that feels right for you.
You should also request your references. Consider not just who can give you a reference but who can give you a good reference. When you ask for references in person or in writing, be sure to include some pertinent information about your work together that you would like them to include. For instance, if you assisted with a professor’s conference presentation, you could remind the professor of how you helped and connect this experience and knowledge with how it can be applied within a dermatology practice.
Contact potential employers and/or clinicians who currently work at practices that you are interested in to learn more about the available opportunities. This can be a great way to get a feel for what the practices are really like versus how they sound in a job posting.
12 Months Before Your Start Date
Start practicing your interviewing skills. Interviews can make or break the job search process. Even if you’re an excellent dermatologist, your ability to make a good first impression is a very important soft skill in the field of dermatology. If you can’t make a good impression, you may be off-putting to patients, which impacts the bottom line of a dermatology practice. Most potential employers will use the interview process as an opportunity to find out how you will work with their patients as well as how you’ll fit in as a member of the team. In short, the interview is important, so don’t go in unprepared. Practice some common interview questions with friends or loved ones. Write out a list of thoughtful questions you can ask the employer at the end of the interview. Go into the conversation knowing what you are looking for in a practice. How many days a week do you want to work? What type of volume are you looking for? What mix of patients do you want to see? Finally, make sure to familiarize yourself with any technology that will be utilized for the interview. Many initial interviews are being conducted over video conference, so try out the software in advance, make sure you have a quiet area to conduct the interview, and clean up your office or other space.
After doing all the work to research job opportunities, consider your practice goals, contact current employers, and narrow your selection down to a few practices that feel like a good fit, it’s time to start interviewing. Be clear with employers about your timeframe for employment. A year out is relatively common for hiring at many dermatology practices, but some employers may be looking for someone to get started more quickly. A faster transition can be a negotiation tool to ask for moving benefits, help with licensing, or other additional support. If you have not already done so, now is the time to apply for your license in the state you want to practice. Some states take up to six months to issue a license and you cannot begin credentialing until you have a full, unrestricted license in hand.
9 Months Before Your Start Date
Once you start getting job offers, it’s time to review these offers and negotiate a contract. You should have a lawyer review any contracts to ensure the agreement adequately reflects your best interests, and most importantly, that the contract is in line with any verbal offers from the employer.
Once you have chosen a practice and negotiated your contract, it’s time to start the transition process. This includes getting all your professional licensing and credentialing in order, as well as your personal transition like finding a home and planning for your move.
Want to Work with a Great Team of Dermatology Professionals?
With 90+ locations in Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Arizona, Maryland, Virginia, and Colorado, U.S. Dermatology Partners is a growing network of dermatologic offices that provides exceptional levels of patient care and service like you’ll find in a small dermatology practice. If you choose to become one of our dermatology partners, you’ll work in a state-of-the-art practice with a knowledgeable team of professionals – not to mention our great benefits package. We hope you’ll consider some of our current job opportunities during your job search.