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Trouble Breaking Into Competitive Fields


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Hello all,

I am a new grad PA (PANCE in 2 weeks!!), and I'm interested in surgery, and dermatology.  Unfortunately, I have been finding it impossible to even get a reply from potential employers.  I selected SICU and Derm as my elective rotations (unfortunately derm was cancelled due to covid), as to make myself more attractive to employers.  Every job is looking for people with experience.  I'm applying to them anyway, but I'm getting basically immediately rejected.  I've looked at surgical residencies, but they all require letters of rec from a surgical preceptor; and though I did well in the rotation, I rotated with different surgeons daily, so I don't have anyone who could write such a letter for me.   I've begun to expand my job search, and have been applying to EM/Urgent Care positions as well, but I've still nothing to show for it other than a few scheduled Zoom interviews that I was ghosted on.  I also am very open to relocating (currently temporary living situation and no wife/kids), and have been applying to locations all over the country.  It's been over well over 100 applications and I'm probably pushing 200.  PAs who got hired into these specialties right out of school: How?!

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The days of being sought after right out of PA school are long over.  The Physician Assistant field has rapidly morphed into a "not what, but who ya know to get a job", profession.  I don't know what to tell you other than to do a residency and network like a mofo.  What's really bad is that there are a lot of us with experience who are having issues as well.

Edited by Cideous
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See about going through your preceptors from your surgical rotation. Or SICU. You need a letter of reference from someone in those fields or this isn't going to work. 200 applications is absolutely crazy. Surgeons are well used to being asked for letters of reference. Someone at that hospital was in charge of you during your rotation (even if you worked with multiple surgeons); track them down.

My surgical offers straight from school were all from my rotations. I didn't do a surgical elective. The PA in charge of me during my surgery rotation never worked with me in the OR, but he gathered feedback from the people who did work with me and wrote me a letter.

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