Co-authored by Annie Lee, M.D.
A recent article in the ASA’s January edition of Monitor magazine, “The 2015 Job Market for Graduating Anesthesiology Residents,”1 focuses on residents’ job-searching experience, using data collected from 192 residents from the Western region. This piece by Stein, Mesrobian and Abouleish quotes an anonymous resident who advises, “Get involved with your state society to network. Do your residency in a region you'd like to work. Don't be a complainer or a lazy resident. Work hard and be a team player."
We recently conducted our own survey within California, specifically targeting practicing anesthesiologists who offer a different perspective than graduating residents. We hope that by surveying practicing anesthesiologists about best strategies for the job search, we can provide residents with important advice on how to successfully land a job after they complete their residency.
We began by distributing a job survey to members of the California Society of Anesthesiologists (CSA) at the 2015 ASA meeting, soliciting advice about the job search timeline and recommendations for graduating residents.
We received 28 individual responses with 10 out of 14 CSA districts represented, including San Diego, Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties, the Eastern Sierra, the Bay Area, Monterey, Sacramento, Western Los Angeles, and the San Fernando Valley.
Fifty-four percent (15/28) of respondents were from private practice, 39 percent (11/28) were from academic practices, and the remainder were from government (1/28) or no response given (1/28).
When Should I Start Actively Looking for a Job?
Multiple respondents recommended that residents start the job search early, noting that credentialing could take several months. The majority of respondents indicated this process should start during the fall months in the year prior to graduation.
When Should I Submit Job Applications?
Similarly, the majority of respondents indicated that residents should submit their applications for jobs in the fall months prior to graduation.
When am I Likely to Receive a Job Interview?
The majority of respondents indicated that job interviews occur on a variable timeline, but the most common time is from November to February.
When are Job Offers Typically Given?
The majority of respondents indicated that job offers also occur on a variable timeline, but the most common time is in the first quarter of the year.
Other Helpful Info
Eighty-nine percent of respondents (25/28) suggested that having personal contacts is the best way to find a job. Several respondents noted that references from someone known to the practice and from the applicant’s program director are also useful.
Several respondents recommended targeting the area where an applicant would prefer to live and identifying practices in that area. Making their ideal geographic location known to the group or interviewer may play a role in the hiring process.
Sending practice leaders a well-written letter and organized CV are helpful. It was also recommended that applicants follow up with contacts, including sending thank-you notes after interviews.
On average, respondents gave the importance of a fellowship a 3.8 on a scale of 5, (with 1 being not at all important and 5 being very important). Academic respondents rated the importance of a fellowship higher with an average of 4.3/5, while private practice respondents gave an average of 3.5/5. The most popular fellowships included regional, pediatrics and cardiothoracic.
Successful applicant characteristics:
Several common key attributes of successful applicants were emphasized, including someone who brings value outside of the OR, ie. leadership or committee membership in the CSA. Other qualities that were valued included being a team player, a hard worker who is willing to take any call, and having a positive attitude. Finally, multiple respondents viewed one’s reputation at the training program and recommendations by program directors as very important.
We hope that this information will help prepare residents as they search for positions and enter practice in anesthesia.
1 Erica J. Stein, M.D., James R. Mesrobian, M.D., Amr E. Abouleish, M.D., M.B.A.; The 2014 Job Market for Graduating Anesthesiology Residents. ASA Monitor 2015; 79(6):54-57.