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New grad struggle to land a job

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I graduated from my PA program in August and moved back to Michigan (attended school out of state). I am interested in primary care, cardiology, psych, and women's health primarily, but it seems that there are very few openings for these specialities. And, I am not hearing back from a majority of the places I put in applications at - rejections, interviews, nothing. I am starting to feel defeated and am not sure how to sharpen my application as a new grad with limited experience. I also have few contacts in medicine in the area. Any advice would be appreciated. 

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Do...A....Residency.....

You guys can't just graduate and expect to have a job waiting.  Those days are at an end.

Edited by Cideous
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14 minutes ago, Cideous said:

Do...A....Residency.....

You guys can't just graduate and expect to have a job waiting.  Those days are at an end.

I agree. If you complete a residency you'll likely be able to get a job anywhere. 

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A quick internet search did show jobs, including primary care, in Michigan that said they would take a new grad.  Don't know if any of these were ones you have contacted or are in areas you've looked.  Some other suggestions:

- check with the state PA society, often they have job postings

- check with Michigan PA schools - see what jobs they have posted for their grads - those will be new grad friendly jobs

- consider other fields, e.g. urgent care

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Do...A....Residency.....
You guys can't just graduate and expect to have a job waiting.  Those days are at an end.

Just want to say to fellow new grads: this isn’t a blanket statement. If you’re willing to move, finding a job is easy. I had 2 offers in 2 different states (both in family med) MONTHS before I graduated. I accepted one and start in a couple weeks, no residency needed. If however, you want a specific area/specialty, yes, having a residency under your belt may make it easier. But I know how statements like this worried me prior to graduation, and it turned out not to be the case

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1. Rotate where you want to work after graduation.

2. Network in the area you want to work after graduation.

3. Do elective rotations in the specialty(ies) you want to work in after graduation.

4. If you really want to work in a field where PAs are not hugely represented (Psych, Women's health), then all three of the above suggestions apply doubly.

So... how many of those did you do?

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If you limit your options you limit your options. This little bon mot I have used for years and what I mean is the more limited your desires are for a job in terms of specialty and location the more limited your choices are. You seem to be casting a pretty wide net and that is good though your geographic restrictions may limit your choices.

A residency is a great thing but I think sometimes people give it too much power. If you are in a highly competative market it can certainly make a big difference. But there are other options. Just as an example I live in Texas and we probably have more under-served counties than any other state in the country. If you are willing to go where other people arent you can start work tomorrow. Just food for thought.

Best of luck.

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When I graduated our program told us there were 11 jobs for every PA graduating.  NP's were not even on the radar in the early 90's.  There was simply no competition and every practice wanted a PA back then.  Oh...and you didn't have to move states or leave the city to find a job.

So easy to find a job now as a new grad?  I would argue that is not the case.  I don't think having to pick up and move states as something that should be required of our field, and certainly does not meet the criteria as easy.

I stand by what I said...Do a residency.  That new grad job you land in another state might suuuuuuuuck.  Then where are you?  Looking for another job in yet another state still with little experience and no residency.  Just suck it up and get the residency done now while you are young in your career.  10 years from now you will be thankful you did.

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13 hours ago, SeeSee said:

I graduated from my PA program in August.....And, I am not hearing back from a majority of the places I put in applications at..... I am starting to feel defeated 

Not to worry.  I just checked my calendar.  Apparently, this is September.  I did a Google search to find out which month comes before September, and I'll be damned if it isn't August.  Not having a firm job offer within one month of graduating is not the end of the world.

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I was unemployed for nearly 6 months 6 years ago after graduation. There are markets that are saturated and markets that are just dominated by 1 or 2 major hospital systems that put limits on hiring at times. While a residency is a good option, there aren't exactly a lot of of them and they tend to not have a lot of slots for students. I suspect the problem is also that there simply aren't a ton of family medicine, cards, psych, or women's health jobs generally. In the new graduate PA job world, I see a fair number of postings for jobs that aren't in generalist fields (e.g. surgical sub specialties, pain mgmt). I would recommend that you reach out to your school and see if they can connect you with the alumni base that are currently working in your fields of choice. They tend to have insider info about jobs that are available or soon to be available. On that note, if possible, be ready to move!  

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Here's another vote for relocation.

I relocated after PA school, because I was set on EM. Now that I have a year under my belt, the doors that were once closed to me are starting to open. Find a job in a location that you can tolerate for a couple of years. Do good work and learn all that you can ... then leverage those experiences when you are ready to move on. 

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Have you passed the PANCE yet?  You may find that employers are more interested in hiring you once you have PA-C after your name and a valid state license. 

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He/she graduated in August. 

All of the above are good suggestions. As an NP, I’m a different species, but there are some similarities, as well as some observations from the other side.

My gut belief is that with the level of education and training that you folks come out of school with, it’s a shame that you would then need to go find a residency just to set you apart. Its certainly not an idea anyone can knock, but I prefer to suggest just holding off on that until you’ve tested the waters. Of course it’s resume enhancing, but it’s a lot of work that might not be necessary if you work all the angles beforehand. You could go ahead and get started on the paperwork for a residency just in case.

First thing... PA training is fabulous, so recognize your worth. Right out of the gate you folks have some advantages against NPs. I hear Michigan has some favorable laws recently passed, and California might be on deck next. Those might be the only places in the county where PAs stack up against NPs as good if not better as far as regulations. So you are going to be valuable, or else quickly can be valuable to an employer. Go forth with confidence.

Second.... network... with everyone. Have no shame. Be unapologetically optimistic. Be transparently eager for work. At every rejection, ask for leads for any other jobs. When I was looking for jobs (granted, psyche NPs have been hot for a while), I was telling everyone at the sites that I did clinical at that yes, I wanted a job. I wasn’t coy. My problem later on became too many job offers, and too many kind people wanting to help me out. It’s hard to tell people “no thank you” when many of them went out on a limb to try to work something out for an eager student. Even when I was really forward, I had some folks straight up tell me that they had nothing to offer right then, and I responded back with something like “well, if it’s all the same, just keep me in mind and watch me work in case something changes, or in case you hear of something you can recommend me for”. So network without shame. 

Attend drug rep dinners, approach clinic systems and the middle men and assistants that guard the gates to the providers, and be pushy in a friendly way. Everyone will tell you to apply online, and resist dealing with you face to face if they can. That’s fine, but also insist on leaving a card and a hard copy resume. Admit vocally that it’s a tough market and you want to make some headway. If it doesn’t work, you still made an impression. That kind of tenacity helps you stand out because it’s applicable to taking charge to get stuff done when there are roadblocks... ie pharmacies that are causing problems, or just some other hiccups during a days work. I liked the suggestion to contact the state PA society. People want to help people more when they meet in person. 

Recruiters..... 

Social media groups that are specific to your location or circumstances. Do some internet research of different places that appeal to you.

A caveat to the networking is don’t be weird. I stressed above about being eager, but that mostly works if you have life skill and can read people, and respond appropriately. Presentation involves as much about what you don’t say vs what you say. I found I didn’t impress people as much by anything profound that I said in front of them as much as what I exhibited through my restraint. 

I’ll turn this back a bit to the PA vs NP dilemma out there. With many new grad PAs not having health care experience like they used to have from a prior career, theres a disadvantage to nurses who know how to press the flesh and network. Nurses have seen it, done it, and perfected it. Even the new ones have done it at least once to get their nursing job, and have seen how professional interactions and networking works. They also learn it OTJ in quick fashion once they start working as RNs. Nurses know they can wait for the right opportunity and skip places that are offering them bad deals. Often, they spent their whole time in NP school working on networking and setting up where they would land upon graduation. I don’t know how to counter that specifically other than through actually working on people skills. My workplace has enough students flowing through it that I can see the difference from the provider perspective. 

Even NP students that are young or older ones that lack confidence wind up in the same boat. But a PA with prior experience and confidence turns heads. So maybe I just reversed course on the residency idea just now and didn’t realize it. That might be how you turn the tide in your favor. But overall, I’d try a lot of things before I dove in for more training. 

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On 9/10/2019 at 12:37 PM, PickleRick said:

Not to worry.  I just checked my calendar.  Apparently, this is September.  I did a Google search to find out which month comes before September, and I'll be damned if it isn't August.  Not having a firm job offer within one month of graduating is not the end of the world.

This.  Did you just start applying?  I graduated in May and was applying in January.  Had a contract signed 3 months later and that was considered speedy for my graduating class.

If you know you won't move,  make sure you get PANCE passed and get your state license.  Those things will help move the process along later.

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On 9/9/2019 at 11:41 PM, rev ronin said:

1. Rotate where you want to work after graduation.

2. Network in the area you want to work after graduation.

3. Do elective rotations in the specialty(ies) you want to work in after graduation.

4. If you really want to work in a field where PAs are not hugely represented (Psych, Women's health), then all three of the above suggestions apply doubly.

So... how many of those did you do?

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! I attended PA school in a different state from where I wanted to reside. I struggled a lot to land my first job because I had no contacts back home. 

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