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First Year PA

Semper Gumby!

Published April 14, 2014 8:31 AM by Caroline Pilgrim

If there’s one thing most of us learned in our post-graduate training it was “semper Gumby” (translation: always flexible). And I have learned that lesson in my hunt for my first PA job. My last post I boasted on landing a great job serving the underserved but in the words of a good friend, “It seems like the more the organization wants to help ‘needy people,’ the more financial problems they tend to have. And that is what I encountered. That reality translated into the group redacting their offer to me due to “unforeseen financial difficulty” and threw me back into countless hours of online job applications, phone interviews, and email responses.

I am happy to say that currently hold in possession a legally binding contract with a great group that serves their community’s primary care needs in a financially sustainable model. My state license is rolling as is my DEA application.

A few lessons I learned in my job hunt number two that I hope might help you new NPs and PAs land a job efficiently. 

1)      Go to Craigslist.  I applied to at least 50 positions in two weeks.  I had a total of seven interviews and an additional two interview offers and seven out of those nine jobs were found on craigslist.  Most of the phone calls I got back were a result of CVs sent out to craigslist. 

2)      Practices generally are not interested in you if you cannot get to an interview on your own.  I speak as a new grad, but I noticed that having my address on my CV was a negative in getting call backs out-of-state.  I suggest taking off your mailing address if you wish to locate out-of-state.  Obviously, it will come up in a phone interview where you live but removing your address may help get you to that phone interview.

3)      Hospital applications seem to be a black hole unless you know someone who works at the hospital.  I applied through hospitals roughly 15-20 times and never received any response back.  I would love to hear feedback of success with this medium.

4)      Reach out to friends but realize they can only help so much.  I just read “The Defining Decade” by Meg Jay who says to utilize your fringe acquaintances to get a good job.  I took her advice and facebook messaged, emailed, and texted old classmates, relatives and distant “friends” for leads.  A few responded but nothing materialized remotely except my increasing lack of faith in humanity

5)      When you get an offer, ask them to give you at least five business days to decide.  For one position, this gave them time to actually offer me an increase in salary and gave me time to consider the other offer I ended up accepting. 

I have other tips, like how to get through six interviews in three days and still not chuckle with you hear, “What is your greatest weakness?” asked for the sixth time. Or how to survive an 8:30 p.m. interview (that was supposed to be at 7 p.m.) at the most disorganized practice you have ever seen. But I will leave those for another discussion.

I am new at this job search business so comments from human resource experts on do’s and don’ts appreciated.


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