Neuroradiology job search – part I – Preparing for the search

You may be thinking, “I just became a fellow, and now you want me to immediately start looking for a job.” However, the fellowship year goes by quickly and a little preparation can make it a smoother process. I would emphasize the importance of finding a rewarding job that matches your interests, uses your specialized skills, and provides appropriate compensation. The goal of this guide is help you make this happen.

The guide is divided into two main parts:

This first section will cover a few key steps that you can take before applying or taking an interview.

1. Think about your goals

The first step in the process is to think about what you want from your career. This can be a daunting step to convert your intangible desires into concrete goals. After an extended time as a trainee, your first instinct might be to say that you just want a job, any job, and you want to be open to as many possible options as possible. While counterintuitive, this can make it harder to find a job which matches your interest. Putting some constraints on your search can help focus your efforts on those options. You will be a better applicant, and we can more convincingly refer you for a position when they are a closer match to what you desire. The best way to approach this is to think about three major considerations: academic vs non-academic, subspecialty fraction, and geography.

After an extended time as a trainee, your first instinct might be to say that you just want a job, any job… this can make it harder to find a job which matches your interest.

Academic vs. non-academic. There is a continuum of jobs ranging from large academic research institutions to small private practices. The largest of academic institutions will emphasize subspecialized care, and each faculty member will likely have an emphasis on research, teaching, or service (and sometimes all of the above). Teaching and working with trainees is a large part of these positions. Case volume and call are often less, but salaries are also often less and physicians are most often employees of the hospital system. Mixed type institutions would include smaller academic centers, non-profit/private health systems, and other hospitals which may have trainees and be very subspecialized (e.g. VA hospitals, Kaiser, etc). These institutions often combine features of big academic centers and private groups.

Private practice groups are at the other end of the spectrum and range in size from less than 10 to more than 100 physicians. Case loads and call may be higher, but there also are also often fewer administrative and teaching requirements. Specialization varies widely, with smaller groups tending toward the general and larger groups as subspecialized as academic centers. Radiologists may be part of a physician group which owns the practice and sometimes imaging centers or equipment. In this case, physicians will often be on a partnership tract in which they are group employees for several years before becoming partners and sharing in the profits of the group. Depending on group structure, salaries may increase significantly upon becoming a partner. If a group owns imaging centers and equipment, there may be a monetary buy-in to become a partner. Other groups are salaried employees of the hospital system or physician group.

Subspecialty content. It is important to think about how much you wish to practice in your desired subspecialty, in this case neuroradiology. With neuroradiology being a significant component of radiology overall, it will likely be a big part of any career. Some people may like the challenge of covering all areas of radiology, while others will prefer to do predominantly neuroradiology. This will somewhat guide you in terms of group size. As part of this, you may think about areas in which you would prefer not to practice (e.g. non-neuro procedures, mammography), which may be a consideration. In general, there has been a tendency of private groups to consolidate and become increasingly subspecialized. In many groups, call is general, but larger groups may even have specialized call pools for neuroradiology.

Geography. Where you want to live is a huge consideration. Many of you may want to stay in the area where you have done your training. Others may seek to return closer to family. Still others may not have a geographic preference at all. It is important to think about what you want, as some geographic goals can help guide your search.

Overall, it is valuable to place some combination of constraints on your search. You may prefer any job type in a specific area if you are very eager to move closer to family. Alternatively, you may be looking for the best academic job in a city, regardless of region.

2. Find a trusted advisor

Finding a faculty member you trust can be an important first step. All faculty have been through a job search and have a wide range of experiences, including some in private practice. That said, it does not have to be someone from your own department. You may have a good relationship with a mentor from residency who can serve in this role. If you don’t have someone in mind, a good way is to approach one of your fellowship faculty either in person or by email and let us know that you would be interested in discussing your job search. Fellowship directors and associate directors are almost always willing to help you through the process, but other faculty members are available.

 

The faculty/fellow relationship has multiple goals. First, we can help you hone your goals and make decisions about what kind of job you are interested in. Second, we can help you prepare for the process, including getting a CV and letters ready. Finally, we can get to know you a little better so that we can help identify jobs which may be of interest. Our faculty members frequently hear about job openings before they are posted, and if we know your interests we may be better prepared to recommend you for a job.

3. Get your CV in shape

It is extremely important to prepare your curriculum vitae, or CV, so that you have it available when an opportunity arises. Many times, exchanging a CV by email is the first step on a job application. A professional looking and streamlined CV may be your best first impression. Most of you have a CV which you used during fellowship applications, but it may not have been updated since then. It should be up-to-date, accurate, and easy to read. Contact information should be prominent and current.

CVs for academic positions and private practice tend to be slightly different. While all CVs include education, awards, and publications, academic CVs may include sections on research or teaching goals. Private practice CVs may include more personal details such as family locations and personal interests. There is no right CV, but it is important that your CV reflect the goals of your career. If you are applying for a variety of jobs, you may have more than one version which is tailored to each job type or location.

Finally, a short cover letter or email can be helpful. This is usually a 1-2 paragraph summary of who you are, what your training is, and what you seek to achieve. This can be emailed to people to give them a quick overview without needing to review a multipage CV.

Your faculty advisor can help you prepare and review your CV. There are a number of CV templates which can be used and its largely a matter of personal preference.

4. Update your online presence

There are two major components to your online presence: your professional presence and your personal social media. Professional social media includes sites such as LinkedIn and Doximity, which are geared towards professionals, are important to make your information available and accurate. Recruiters may search for individuals who meet certain criteria and contact you directly through these sites. More likely, individuals at groups to which you have applied will search online to confirm and find more information about you. For this reason, it is important for your information to be accurate.

Personal social media is delicate balance between staying in touch with friends and family and being appropriately professional. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and others, can be a great way to communicate with current contacts and meet new ones. Furthermore, it can even promote your career by getting out knowledge about your education, work, and achievements. On the other hand, poorly thought out social media messages may inadvertently close doors. Family events, vacation photos, and social activities are well within the range of acceptable behavior. Problematic topics are wide-ranging but include such thing as alcohol/drug-use, criticism of individuals or employers, and excessive complaints about current employment. Political comments can be quite risky, particularly in the highly polarized environment in which we live. Comments about patients or which could potentially identify a patient should definitely be avoided. Each individual must consider the balance between self-expression and restraint that will be different for each person. Going forward, be thoughtful about what you are posting and how it may be perceived by someone who does not know you. Looking back, if any tweets or posts are questionable, consider removing them. It sounds crazy but I’ve personally seen people miss out on job opportunities because of social media.

It sounds crazy but I’ve personally seen people miss out on job opportunities because of social media.

Personal social media is delicate balance between staying in touch with friends and family and being appropriately professional. Social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and others, can be a great way to communicate with current contacts and meet new ones. Furthermore, it can even promote your career by getting out knowledge about your education, work, and achievements. On the other hand, poorly thought out social media messages may inadvertently close doors. Family events, vacation photos, and social activities are well within the range of acceptable behavior. Problematic topics are wide-ranging but include such thing as alcohol/drug-use, criticism of individuals or employers, and excessive complaints about current employment. Political comments can be quite risky, particularly in the highly polarized environment in which we live. Comments about patients or which could potentially identify a patient should definitely be avoided. Each individual must consider the balance between self-expression and restraint that will be different for each person. Going forward, be thoughtful about what you are posting and how it may be perceived by someone who does not know you. Looking back, if any tweets or posts are questionable, consider removing them. It sounds crazy but I’ve personally seen people miss out on job opportunities because of social media.

The second part of this article will focus on the process of finding opportunities, applying for them, and taking a job.

Continue to Part II – Applying and getting a job

 

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