Looking for your first job in any field is always a time of excitement and uncertainty. Even for physician assistants, the process must be handled effectively and intelligently.
While the medical field holds tremendous opportunity, there is still a lot to navigate along the path to landing your first PA job.
The good news is that there is a lot you can control during the process of looking for that first step in your career. NPPA Recruiters know that a proactive approach to job searching is the best one to have if you are going to be successful.
Consider the following 8 tips to help you find your first job as a physician assistant.
- The whole process of applying for your first PA position should start before you even graduate. While you might not be able to obtain a job in your first couple of applications, it does allow you to make contacts in a situation that is less stressful for you.
The process toward being hired can last many months and the sooner you can get your name out, the smoother the process will be for you.
- Networking is another critical component to your job search and another thing that should start well before you finish school. While as a PA student, you will meet your fair share of medical professionals, whether they be PAs, MDs, or other members of the medical field.
Every person you meet can potentially open a door to a position down the road. It is important to get to know as many professionals as possible and to familiarize them with what your goals and interests are. They may have information on openings before they are posted to job boards and valuable information on what to expect at different job locations.
- Don’t underestimate just how much there is out there on the internet that can help you. Beyond career sites like Indeed, there are many other options for you to look into.
It is a good idea to check out hospital websites in addition to job boards like those found on NPPA Recruiters. The PA chapter for your state will also have job postings on their website.
- You can find useful forums filled with blogs and articles from current PAs who have gone through the hiring process and are at different stages in their career. Sites like Physician Assistant Forum offer useful platforms for PAs to tell their stories and contribute to the professional community.
The input and guidance found in those blogs and articles can prepare you not only for job hunting but for what to expect as you progress through your career as a PA.
- While you are looking for open positions, make sure to stay up to date on current salary and benefit trends that are happening in the locations you are job hunting. You should not go into an interview unsure about how you should be compensated.
Knowing the fair market value of your skills also means that you don’t have to settle for the first offer that you get. Be prepared to negotiate for the best possible deal and any extra money you can obtain, whether in salary or through other incentives.
- As you go through the process of applying and interviewing to become a practicing PA, you will accumulate a lot of information and come into contact with a number of people. You should set up a system to keep track of where you are in relation to each application and what you’ve learned about the different jobs you have applied for.
This system should include names of the recruiters and locations of the positions, how to get a hold of them, when you were interviewed, when you will be interviewed for certain positions, and other related information. Just how much you keep track of depends on you. The most important information boils down to contact, who and when and did you follow up.
- It is important to make the follow-ups as personal as possible. But an email or phone call is a must if you are not able to connect in person.
Following up in person makes your response quicker and gives you more face to face time with interviewers, giving them another chance to remember who you are.
- One way to tie all these things together, both at the beginning of your job hunt and as your career progresses, is to join a professional organization like the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA), The Society of Early Career PAs, or your state chapter for PAs. They not only provide access to many of the topics already covered but they also have additional incentives.
Like many professional societies, you can get discounts on certain things like hotels and car rentals. On a bigger scale, you have the opportunity for leadership positions within the organization to help develop skills that will help you as a PA. You can also make your mark professionally by publishing articles in journals, magazines, and other media.
While this list is not exhaustive, it shows there is plenty you can do to help yourself as you look for your first PA position.
NPPA Recruiters understands the potential you hold as a new Physician Assistant graduate and we are here to help you unlock all those opportunities. Contact us today at (956) 772-1400 or at (214)351-3880 for the help you need to start your amazing career as a PA.