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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More on Job Searching

          I wanted follow-up on a question I got from a reader.  She wanted to know the process of job searching.  I realized I did not fully touch upon this in my last post.
          I have been using, the aapa job website, and  I have also used monster. com and craigslist but there is really not much on those two sites.  I check every day.  I mostly have been emailing or submitting applications with my CV and a cover letter. Occasionally, there is a job that has their own online forms to fill out. Our school went over with us the correct formate and what to include in the CV and cover letter.  I made sure to have many people look it over before sending any of them out.  The worst thing you can do is send out something with spelling mistakes or format issues.  Makes sure your CV and cover letter are concise and neat.  I made a general cover letter and tweak it depending on what position I am applying to.  PLEASE don't lie in your CV or cover letter.  You may be asked about a position you "worked for" or they may expect you to demonstrate a skill that you said you had in your cover letter on the job.  This did not happen to me, I am always honest, but I have heard stories.  The best relationship you can have with your employer is an honest relationship.  Similarly, let yourself shine on paper.  I know that sounds corny but it is true.  I try to always put myself on that page, not just my credentials and experience.  I let them know who I am because ultimately, I want someone to hire me for me.  So, if you find a CV and cover letter template use it, but make it your own.
        Advice on interviewing: be yourself, be calm, and enjoy the experience.  The answers will come to you, just be honest.  Don't be afraid to ask questions!  At the same time, do your research on where you are interviewing before asking a question.  You are already a qualified applicant, that is why you got the interview so just be yourself.  They want to see how well you fit in with their practice and their patients. You got this!
         I hope this helps some of you.  If there is anything I missed shoot me a message and I will try to answer it the best I can.  Have a good day everyone!

Life After PA School

       Well everyone PA school has officially been done for a month!  I can’t believe how fast that was.  I have been doing a lot since graduation.  I took a much needed week vacation, a very important week of NOT studying.  Since then I have been trying to see as many friends and family as possible.  It is amazing how much I have missed in these past 26 months!  Currently, I am studying for my certification exam, the PANCE, which I take September 6th.  Studying has pretty much been my job about 6-8 hours a day.  I have been going through each topic and doing questions.  Some of my classmates have already taken the exam and passed with flying colors.  I am so proud of them!  During my time off I try to relax and do something fun.  The monotony of studying can get to you sometimes so you have to know when to relax.  In the meantime, I have been job searching.
            I started my job search earlier than most, in June.  Looking back on it I think I should have started later.  It seems like most practices wont give you a second look unless you have graduated and taken the PANCE.  Here is what I have found in my job search.  I am looking for a primary care job: Pediatrics, Family Medicine, or Internal medicine.  I also have an interest in Dermatology and Gynecology.  The job market in Philadelphia, Pa for primary care is not very good.  If I wanted a job in Emergency Medicine, Surgery, Pain Management, Orthopedics, Oncology, or a Hospitalist position I would be golden.  This seems so surprising to me since I have always been told there is a need for primary care practitioners.  I am sure it is because this area is very flooded with applicants due to the location and the proximity of 6 PA schools.  While my training is extensive in all areas of medicine, I am unwilling to settle for anything less than what I know makes me excited about medicine.
 That being said, I have applied to a handful of positions and have had a few hits.  I have currently had 3 interviews and I am waiting on another.   The rush when you get your first call/email stating that a company is interested in you is very exhilarating.  It is a rush of nervous and excited energy all at once.  Reality hitting you in the face.  Thankfully, all the interviews I have had have been straightforward.  I feel as though I have handed myself well in them. I always answer honestly and ask appropriate questions. 
 I had my first working interview 2 weeks ago.  That was definitely nerve wracking.  It was really no different than a rotation.  You see a patient, formulate a plan, and meet with the attending physician and present to them.   I did that with 2 patients and I came up with the same conclusion as the doctor so that was good.  I felt calm with the patients and the Doctors.  In the working interview I also saw how the Doctors interacted with their patients. I have to say, I liked what I saw.  I prefer this type of interview to the standard meet and greet.  In a working interview you are able to show your stuff and prove that you have what it takes to be hired.  In a standard interview, they make the decision on how qualified you are by your responses but not with what really matters, the patients.  Similarly, I was able to evaluate my “hopefully” future employer just as much as they were evaluating me.  It is very important that you as well feel you fit in with the practice.  Sometimes, I feel we forget this because we just wanted to get our first jobs as PAs.  I hope that I get the job that I interviewed with. I am keeping my fingers crossed.  I will definitely post on here if I get good news. 
            Alright, it is back to studying.