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New grad struggling to find work


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I am still struggling to find work @ 6 months post graduation.  I have had my school's career and development center critique my resume and made changes they recommended about 5 months ago. I have been looking for jobs in about 10 states in the North East. I am open to any specialty (except Psych). I have had 5 in personal interview which all seemed to have gone well. I had 1 offer which I turned down because didn't offer health insurance and pay wasn't the best. The other 4 interviews also went really well with one of the interviewers even going as far as telling (at the end of the interview) to get all my references ready and apply for a license, but not the DEA because the company pays for it.  That was 2 months ago. I have emailed and called check on the status but crickets.

I am now at a point where I don't know what to do. I have been using indeed, glassdoor, doccafe, independent recuiters, NHSC job sights. I have probably gone to 50 hospital websites and applied there. Most of the calls I get say something like: Right now we're looking for someone with experience but we'll keep your resume should there be a match or that position is current under negotiation but we would like to pass on your resume to other recruiters for other positions.

 

One of the concern I feel employers have is that I have no connections to the areas. I keeping getting the question what brings you to this area? or do you have ties to this area? What do you look for in a community? Have researched this community and think you would like it here?

I have applied to ED jobs, hospitalist, primary care, surgery, internal medicine. I feel like I have done everything. The only thing I have not done is stand by the road site with a sign "PA looking for work" I welcome any suggests on that I can do improve my chances. 

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network...network....network. Other students, preceptors, practicing PAs you may know.  If they don't know of anyone ask them for their contacts and reach out to them.

I think you have a hill to climb being a new grad and trying to get interest from other areas where explaining why you want to be there is tricky. Employers want a sense you are coming to stay a while. You need an anchor. "I'm coming to get closer to family/girlfriend". Something credible that explains your interest. Employers are like first dates...they can smell desperation and it is a turn off.

When possible face to face is always best. Show up at clinics and hospitals with your resume and cover letter. As for the hiring authority/physician/office manager to give you a few minutes. If they can't or won't leave your CV.

I'm sorry you are having to grind this hard but keep grinding. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.

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Everyday that goes by makes you more unemployable. The longer from school you get the harder it gets for an employer to take the chance and offer you a job. Without being in your shoes over the last six months we can only speculate why you have only had one offer. 

At this point you have two paths. Send out more resumes within your same search area or widen your area. 

You are much more employable when you are currently employed. Take a job. After six months look elsewhere for the upgrade if you aren't where you want to be. 

Good luck. 

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Welcome to the new normal.  I feel for you I really do.

My advice would be to widen your net to areas no one wants to go to. i.e. super rural.  Just make sure you have a good doc or PA to lean on.  You don't want to be a solo flyer as a new grad.  Large metro areas are becoming or already are over saturated.  I reference DFW all the time, but it's true.  I was told last year when I got my current job that they had over 60  (SIXTY!) applications for one UC slot.  The only reason I got it was my over 20 years experience in UC.  Sucks for new grads, but with literally over 600 new grads NP and PA's being dumped into the DFW market every year, there just comes a point of maximum saturation. And we are there.

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When I graduated, I also moved directly to an area that I did not go to school in or live in before school. I applied to several jobs through Indeed, Glassdoor, etc. but I also started googling clinics and sending my cover letters and resume directly to the clinics regardless of whether their websites had job postings. I ended up being hired by a practice that wasn’t even technically hiring at that point.

As others have already said, you may need to start “cold-calling” via email and/or in person rather than using the traditional avenues for job-hunting. I think it will probably be easier to do this with private practices or clinic-based practices rather than hospitals simply because hospital HR offices are so large, odds are your resume will end up in the hands of someone who doesn’t really have the authority (or direct access to authority figures) to push it forward. Don’t give up! 

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1 hour ago, PAHopeful1819 said:

Reading this post and other posts similar to it is scaring the living heck out of me. Starting school in the fall and will be looking for a job in a very competitive area (Michigan - Ann Arbor area). 

Do a residency RIGHT out of school.  Start thinking about it right now.  Honestly, I see a day in the very near future where a residency is required, especially for new grads.

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11 hours ago, Cideous said:

Welcome to the new normal.  I feel for you I really do.

My advice would be to widen your net to areas no one wants to go to. i.e. super rural.  Just make sure you have a good doc or PA to lean on.  You don't want to be a solo flyer as a new grad.  Large metro areas are becoming or already are over saturated.  I reference DFW all the time, but it's true.  I was told last year when I got my current job that they had over 60  (SIXTY!) applications for one UC slot.  The only reason I got it was my over 20 years experience in UC.  Sucks for new grads, but with literally over 600 new grads NP and PA's being dumped into the DFW market every year, there just comes a point of maximum saturation. And we are there.

I read about the growing need for medical providers as well as the projected job growth for PA's at 37% from 2016 - 2026 (per Dept. of Labor).  Out of curiosity, if markets are becoming over saturated why are new PA programs popping up everywhere?

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1 hour ago, MaryFred said:

I read about the growing need for medical providers as well as the projected job growth for PA's at 37% from 2016 - 2026 (per Dept. of Labor).  Out of curiosity, if markets are becoming over saturated why are new PA programs popping up everywhere?

New programs do not mean jobs.  They mean money for the new program.  Period.

 

There are still some rural areas with open PA markets, but most metroplexes are completely saturated.  I'm sorry to have to say this, but it's the truth.  As a new grad, if you want to live in a large city, it is going to be tough.  Very tough.  This is why I am telling all new grads to knock out a residency.  Without it, there is no way you can compete with all the PA's and NP's out there with experience.  Sorry, it's just the way it is.

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9 hours ago, PAHopeful1819 said:

Reading this post and other posts similar to it is scaring the living heck out of me. Starting school in the fall and will be looking for a job in a very competitive area (Michigan - Ann Arbor area). 

There will always be jobs for the people who are good candidates:
- More work experience prior to PA schoiol
- Higher quality Pre-PA PCE
- Top-notch verbal and written communication skills
- A CV that includes a lot more than just school: certs, CME, workshops, unique backgrounds...

Research and publications don't matter unless you're looking for an assistant professor job.

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Every market is probably different to a degree. For example, I live in Columbus, which has two local PA programs, maybe four NP programs, and one each MD and DO programs. Columbus is one of three large metro areas in the state and >100 miles from either of the other two (Cleveland and Cincinnati), each with their own PA,NP, MD, and DO programs. Also several other programs of all types let their students come here for clinicals.

People do get jobs here right out of PA school, though probably not as easily as 15 years ago. It depends on the specialty, etc. Some graduates are at the right place and time, some are starting to do residencies, and others are getting jobs in outlying areas (Dayton, Mansfield, Zanesville, Cambridge, etc). Many students get their first leads during clinical rotations. Some actually have leads from their PCE, like previous surgical techs going back to their old practices, etc.

The local hospital systems (we have three) are all in the growth stage and all are hiring, but not in all specialties, so it takes some footwork to get a job. I occasionally have independent docs ask me about whether I know any new PAs interested in x or y. These jobs often aren’t posted yet.

I imagine that the job markets in other parts of the country likewise have their own special characteristics.


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To more experienced PAs: 

Roughly how many years of experience as a practicing PA do you think negates the need for a residency in order to be a competitive job applicant? 

Obviously other factors (skills you’ve honed within your specific job, staying in the same specialty vs. changing specialties etc.) impact the competitiveness of an applicant as well, but at what point does years in practice trump residency experience? (does it ever?)

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3 hours ago, PA-C said:

Roughly how many years of experience as a practicing PA do you think negates the need for a residency in order to be a competitive job applicant?

Based on what I've seen in job ads, people typically want a couple of years experience.  After 2 years, you're no longer a new grad, really.  The more the merrier and all your caveats (that I didn't quote) apply, of course.

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5 hours ago, PA-C said:

To more experienced PAs: 

Roughly how many years of experience as a practicing PA do you think negates the need for a residency in order to be a competitive job applicant? 

Obviously other factors (skills you’ve honed within your specific job, staying in the same specialty vs. changing specialties etc.) impact the competitiveness of an applicant as well, but at what point does years in practice trump residency experience? (does it ever?)

 

8 years in the field negates the benefit for a residency.  In other words....do a residency right out of PA school.

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1 hour ago, Cideous said:

 

8 years in the field negates the benefit for a residency.  In other words....do a residency right out of PA school.

8 years sounds a bit long. Generally 2-3 years in a field would make you very competitive for a new job opening. While 8 would be better, it doesn't take 8 before you don't need a residency. 

The PA positions are plentiful if you are willing to broaden the search. If you limit yourself geographically or specialty you will have a much tougher time finding a job. 

If you haven't followed the plight of pharmacists the same holds true. If you want employment on the coasts, good luck. If you want employment in just about any flyover state you are fine. There are parts of the country that can't get good candidates. On indeed we have three listings where I am for jobs in the Dakota's, Kansas, other I can't recall but isn't local. 

There are plenty of jobs out there. You have to be willing to take them and get the experience. 

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In EM, recruiters consider 5 years of EM experience in most cases to be considered an attractive experienced candidate.  In a few cases, 3 years of EM experience is considered enough.  I've not talked to them about residency trained EM PA's just because I have the years of experience but did not do a residency.

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5 hours ago, Cideous said:

 

8 years in the field negates the benefit for a residency.  In other words....do a residency right out of PA school.

depends. 8 years of doing fast track is not the same as a hard core em residency where you intubate, run codes, etc. Honestly, I am 22 years out and have been doing solo coverage for > 15 years and there are things recently graduated new em residency grads are better at than I am. 

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6 hours ago, bovineplane said:

8 years sounds a bit long. Generally 2-3 years in a field would make you very competitive for a new job opening. While 8 would be better, it doesn't take 8 before you don't need a residency. 

I think it also might matter more for things like EM than it does for FP. But then, the niche areas I've worked in (Occupational medicine, sleep medicine) don't have any residencies that I'm aware of.  It's clearly an interesting question...

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One problem that I have seen that I don't think anyone else addressed...you are 6 months out with no license. Pick 1 or 2 states and get licensed. Most companies don't want to wait months for you to get licensed and then credentialed. You are looking in the northeast...NE = lots of PA and NP schools. There are infographics around with number of PAs/NPs/Docs per 10 or 100,000 residents...take a look at them.  Once you have license in process, add that to your resume. If you don't get a job by the time your licensed, get a DEA if your state allows it without an SP (Texas does not, I believe WA does for example). Let the company pay for a renewal after you have a job. I cant tell you how many jobs I have seen that want DEA in hand, and how many more want license in hand. If it is not a large hospital system with long credentialing process (read private practice)...they often want you to start ASAP, not in 3 months. And what everyone else said about networking...join the state PA organization where you are getting licensed. 

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On 5/11/2019 at 5:59 PM, Cideous said:

Do a residency RIGHT out of school.  Start thinking about it right now.  Honestly, I see a day in the very near future where a residency is required, especially for new grads.

Would you go as far as saying "do a residency in an area you may not even be extremely interested in because the advantages to your hiring ability are worth it"?

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17 minutes ago, PAHopeful1819 said:

Would you go as far as saying "do a residency in an area you may not even be extremely interested in because the advantages to your hiring ability are worth it"?

No. Please please please, do not seek work that you are not interested in. It will not go well for you, or your employer (and of course your patients).

I spent a lot of time in a past life screening job applicants. I concluded that the right candidate will have three things: 1. right training; 2. sufficient intellect for the role; 3. motivation. If you are missing any of those three, then it is a bad hire.

The first person I hired, is still at the job 15 years later (and in fact, has my old job).

You have your experiences in rotations, to know how interested you are in different fields. Go with your gut feeling on this.

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