Making the Move
Dear Career Coach:
I am planning to seek a job in a completely new community. Currently I live in a small town and would like to relocate to a larger community within my state or possibly a long distance move to another region of the U.S. I am wondering if you can give me any advice about the best way to approach finding a job in a health system that I am completely unfamiliar with?
Dear Job Seeker: You are wise to give some thought to your job search before you begin. Applying for jobs without a solid and well thought out plan is to set yourself up for failure. This is true whether you are looking locally or making a big move.
As I was pondering an answer to your question it occurred to me that your situation is not that different from the challenges as a recruiter. Every day I was tasked with finding applicants that would be a good fit for positions with employers who were located in all different parts of the country. In order to find the right clinician and make a successful match it was imperative I learn about the culture of the organization. I will share the strategy that worked best for me.
Don't be afraid to ask questions. Get someone on the phone and ask them as many questions as you can think of about the job and their organization. Before you even begin telling them YOUR story you should start by asking about the people who work there. What types of personalities fit in best? What is the history of the job - who did it before and why did they leave? Next, ask them about the patients who attend that clinic. Are they young working families, retirees or a mix? Ask also about the community. Try to get a sense of what people who live there like to do for work and recreation. What are the major attractions? What challenges is the community facing?
I know you are thinking this sounds like a lot to ask of a stranger but if you are genuinely interested people will respond to you. Of course, prior to your call you should have thoroughly researched all of the above. This will help you sound knowledgeable and ask questions that make sense. The internet is an invaluable tool to gather info. You can quickly and easily review the mission and value statements of prospective employers as well as if they have won any awards, have any initiatives or projects in the works. And here is the insider tip - look at the healthcare organization from the patient perspective. Pretend like you are thinking of going to their clinic for your healthcare - what would you like to know?
And lastly, contact any local professional organizations in the area you are thinking you might want to live and work. Most have a website and many have Facebook pages where you can interact with clinicians who already live there.
Good luck and happy job searching!