Change Your Strategy for NonClinical Career Success

Seeking a non-clinical job is a different world from working with medical recruiters. Your focus is on being active, proactive and building a strong value proposition for yourself, while effectively communicating your Intelligence, your Background and your Personality. 

Seeking a non-clinical job is a different world from working with medical recruiters.

I’m writing this post because I just received this email:

My name is Dr. John Doe. I am a board certified internist. I have practiced for 15 years, including 5 years of military service. I am writing to get information regarding non-clinical positions for physicians. I have worked in the occupational medicine industry, as well as, private practice for more than 12 years. Please contact me by email, if there are any opportunities available.

If John was searching for a new practice, and just sent this email to a medical recruiter, he’d probably receive a quick response asking for a current CV, income targets, preferred geography, and further, “how may I help you,” questions. However, in the non-clinical world, Dr. Doe is most likely to receive no response – why?

Non-clinical recruiters – let me define, individuals who recruit for either medically related, i.e. pharma, or non-medically related industries – expect:

  1. A resume or at least a “resume/CV” focused on presenting the individual’s value proposition – what they are going to bring of value to a given opportunity, industry or area of business focus.

  2. Enthusiasm, expressed as, “I can...” and “I have...” statements. For example, “I have provided medical surveillance and medical planning for up to 500 individuals during military deployments, illustrating not only my leadership, but also considerable ability in strategic planning, operational management and organizational skills..” Give the recruiter something that says “I have accomplishments.”

  3. Easy, eager contact. Saying to “contact me by email, if...” says, I don’t have time to be bothered by this, I simply expect you to find me a job.

Searching for a non-clinical opportunity is a different experience. First, the demand for your services is very different. You’re not changing jobs, you’re changing careers. That may sound like a “slight of hand” difference, but it’s not. It’s monumental. Think of it in reverse. What if you have your medical degree, completed your residency but then spent fifteen years advising investment banks on medical investments. Then you decide you want to practice medicine. Do you believe medical recruiters would champion your cause – you know better. Forget about the basic requirements organizations and licensing boards would have to reenter practice, just consider how “attractive” you’d be to a potential employer or partner. While you have documented knowledge, you don’t have demonstrated application.

It’s the same in leaving practice for a non-clinical job. Let’s go the other direction, from practice to investment banking. You have accomplishments outside clinical practice and you can cite the portability of your critical decision-making powers and how well you’ve managed your own and your group’s investment portfolio. Do you believe a recruiter is going to take your CV to an investment banker and say, “just take a chance, I believe this physician can do the job for you.” It won’t happen.

A professional human capital researcher and analyst recently commented to me that three criteria determine an individual’s success quotient in their work:

  • Intelligence
  • Background
  • Personality

There is no doubt most physicians have the intelligence to do most any job they wish. And while you may see your background narrowly in practice, practice is really a very wide-ranging activity and includes everything you do in and out of the exam room – not to mention your activities outside your office. Everything counts as background. It’s up to you to interpret your background to fit where you want to go rather than just where you’ve been. 

Finally, personality. “Find a job for me,” statements cause a recruiter to define your personality for you, and it’s a definition that’s most likely wrong. You’re accustomed to the job process following a certain path – the path has changed, and you need to learn a new route.

The road signs on that new route are titled:

  • Intelligence • Background • Personality

Communicate them well and you’ll achieve your goal of a rewarding non-clinical career.

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