Looking for a job, and even more so a new job, can be a stressful process. For those coming out of residency, the decision to start looking has been made for you with the impending graduation after PGY-3 (or 4). But for those currently in practice, the decision is entirely of your own discretion. Regardless of your situation, the process is generally the same.
Personally confirm the need for a (new) job.
  • New resident graduate = “I need a job.”
  • Currently employed = Why do you need a new job? What are you missing in your current employment that you are looking for? Is the change work versus personal/out-of-work related? These questions will guide how you move forward.
Figure out what is most important to you in the new job. Generally, for most of us it comes down to…
  • The “best” job – with the key word “best” being defined only by you. Is it the…
  • Type of practice (solo vs. group podiatry vs. orthopedic vs. hospital, etc.);
  • Type of pathology (general podiatry, wound care, reconstruction, trauma, etc.);
  • Quality of life in/outside of the practice;
  • Highest paying (*note that your starting point does not correlate with your “end-point” down the line).
  • The location
  • Do you desire to live in a certain location;
  • Are you geographically bound by a particular reason (often spouse or family directed);
  • Location specifically may/not be related to quality of life factors.
Once you decide on the above, you can start to narrow down the search based on what is out on the market, or what you search out yourself based on your goals.
The first and easiest place to look includes the various websites and listings of jobs found on the internet. This includes:
  • National societies (e.g., ACFAS, APMA, AOFAS, AMA)
  • State organization websites
  • Podiatric medical school website classified pages
  • Podiatry related organizations (e.g., Podiatry Management, Podiatry Exchange)
  • General medical job websites (e.g., DocCafe, MDJobSite, Physician Job Plus)
  • General job websites (e.g., Indeed, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn)
The other main resource is networking-based. This includes:
  • Conference job message boards and in-person networking
  • Residency attendings – They may be directly hiring or know a colleague that may be hiring. Directors sometimes get emails from practices looking for new graduate hires.
  • Medical device representatives – Ask your local rep if they have heard of anyone looking to hire. If you are looking for a different location from your residency, ask your local rep to put you in contact with the rep for that specific location for the same purposes.
  • And…really any personal interaction you have with someone related to the field of podiatry could lead to a job, whether directly or indirectly.
While no singular resource has “every” podiatry job on the market, links to most of the available online websites described above can be found at PodiatryContractReview.com
One final method of finding a job is the proactive approach. If you know where you want to look geographically, access google maps and search out any/all the possible job-potential practices (e.g., terms include “podiatry, podiatrist, foot and ankle, orthopedic, wound care, hospital, multi-speciality, etc”), make a list, and start with the “cold-call.” This can be a direct phone call to the office manager, faxing or emailing a cover letter and resume, or both. See if they are or have thought about hiring a podiatrist? They may not be actively advertising a job, but have considered the possibility and you as that “first ” contact may help in creating your own position at that particular practice.
With this tactic, (which should really be a general rule across all job contacts you make), be sure to direct the cover letter specifically to the practice you are applying for (e.g., Dear Dr. John Smith, DPM or Dear John Smith Foot and Ankle Associates) to make it personal. This was a lesson I learned after reading an article by Dr. Lowell Weil Jr., DPM, FACFAS several years ago: “Are Residencies Really Preparing Doctors for Practice?” Podiatry Today, 4 May 2016. More information and strategies on this can be found here.
The job search is really what you make of it. As one can see, there are various avenues of finding a job from the traditional postings, to word of mouth and making networking connections and opportunities, to even creating the job yourself.
One closing remark is specifically for those applying for a new job while currently employed. Often this is done in private without the current practices’ knowledge of your future intentions. Their finding out prematurely may cause unnecessary tension within the workplace until you hopefully/eventfully move on, which can sometimes take several months or longer to find the right job to transition into. You want to keep your cards close and not tip your current employer off until you need to, being respectful of their situation and need to hire a replacement and giving “appropriate/ample” time to find the replacement. If you are applying for a new job while currently employed, remember to take these few steps prior to your search.
  • Remove from your Cover Letter/CV any contact info to your current practice. This would include a phone number contact and work sponsored email address, often listed in your header (across all documents).
  • Note in any initial contact whether a brief email that may include your CL/CV, the CL itself, and/or during any phone contact with the prospective employer something to the effect of…
  • “My current employer does not know I am looking for new employment. I would like to keep all contact directly between your practice and myself. When the time is appropriate, I will notify my current employer of my plans and intentions, respecting their time and need to find a replacement. I appreciate you respecting this ask.”
  • Reiterate this point during your first phone and/or in-person interview so remind them of your specific situation.
Dr. Christopher R. Hood Jr., DPM, FACFAS is a foot and ankle surgeon at Hunterdon Podiatric Medicine in Flemington, New Jersey. He is also the owner and operator of PodiatryContractReview.com, a podiatric-specific career services website offering information on securing employment and document review of cover letters, curriculum vitae/resumes, and employment agreements. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter at @crhoodjrdpm. Email him at: sherwoodacresllc@gmail.com