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how to approach job search as new grad

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I've spent the past couple of hours combing the forums to find advice on this topic, but I wasn't able to find answers to some simple (and probably naive) questions.


So I am in PA school and approaching graduation in August. My fiance and I have decided to move back to Buffalo, NY (we are currently in Philly for school) so I am limiting my job search to that area specifically. I am absolutely interested in pediatrics and will consider both inpatient and outpatient experiences, and I am torn about peds sub-specialties as I haven't had any exposure to them through rotations. Anyway, I haven't applied to any jobs yet so I have a few questions on how to approach things.


First off, there don't seem to be any specific job postings online for pediatric PAs in the area right now. I can see through various peds office websites that most have at least 1 NP working there... how do I go about contacting these places to send my resume/cover letter? Email vs phone call? HR vs individual docs? Also, is there a good resource that I can include on the differences between NPs and PAs?


Second, once you start to get responses back, how do interviews work if I don't have any breaks in my clinical schedule from now until August graduation and it take 7.5 hours to drive to Buffalo? Am I starting the job search too early (should I wait until after graduation)? Are places willing to do an initial phone or skype interview first?


Third, what is the timeline usually like once you have an interview? How much time do you have to negotiate contracts and accept or reject the final offer? Do you have to be ready to say yes or no to each place individually or is there some time that overlaps so you are able to compare positions?


Those are my questions as of right now... lol I realize it's a lot and I'll probably have more along the way, I'm just trying to figure out how to time everything. Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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0. You're setting yourself up for a challenging job search if you're unwilling to move away from one specific area. Doesn't mean it won't work, but it's going to limit your options. The old adage is "location, specialty, pay: pick two" So if you're set on doing Peds in Buffalo, especially as a new grad, you have almost zero negotiating room.


1. Are you checking the NY state PA society's job board? I recommend becoming a member NOW, student membership is often cheaper, so you get to see as many job listings as possible. You can cold-call/cold-mail anyone a cover letter, but your yield rate (number of solicitations needed to get an interview) is going to be a LOT lower than responding to specific job openings. I don't think an initial email vs. phone call matters much--either way, you're just asking for their address.


As far as explaining NP/PA differences... I never applied cold for a place that didn't have a PA first. I think that would be a real challenge as a new grad, since neither you nor your prospective boss will have ever been in a successful PA/physician partnership recently.


2. Do phone screens first, and then worry about in-person interviews. Yes, every job I've applied for in the last decade has had a phone screen first. If you DO get an offer for an in-person invite, then work that out with your clinical site. In my experience, most are absolutely willing to let you go for a job interview.


3. It's usually a matter of weeks to months. If you happen to get job offers at the same time, you can compare them against each other. If not.. then you have to deal with each one as it comes in. I had a phone screen for a second position immediately after I received a verbal offer for the first position I'd applied for. I ended up accepting the first position, so I never interviewed in person for the second one. I ended up taking the first position because I liked the specialty, the stability/size of the group, and the pay was reasonable for a new grad. Both positions were within a two blocks of the closest hospital to my house, ~5 miles away. For reference, I did one additional phone screen and was not offered an interview for that job, was offered two jobs at previous rotation sites that were too far away from my desired location, and emailed one or two additional cover letters/CVs to posted jobs and was never called back. I considered that an exceptionally rich and fruitful job search, and had my post-graduation employment agreement signed 8 weeks before graduation.

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I'm interested in responses to this question also...


I am not attached to any specific specialty. I kept waiting for my ah-ha moment in clinical year and it didn't happen. I truly believe I would be happy in any number of specialties, although there were a few that I disliked. I'm also not committed to the geographic area in which I currently live - I am willing to move. These two factors have combined to give me a practically unlimited search with WAY too many options. I'm overwhelmed.

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just remember for most folks until you are VERY experienced this rule applies:

pick 2 and only 2 of the following:

1. location

2. specialty

3. salary


so there probably is a peds pa job in buffalo that will take a new grad...for 70k/yr....or a peds surgery job for 100k/yr....or a peds hospitalist job with a significant commute....you get the idea...

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There are many job search engines to provide you info on various job opportunities. You need to get registered in job search engines and upload your resume. They will send you info on job vacancies in the form of mails. If your interested, then you can contact them.

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Another thing to consider (and given that the above, about "pick 2 of the 3" is correct) is that a lot of new grads work someplace for a year or so, and then switch specialties entirely. At one point, I had read that the number is something impressive, like 40% of all new grads jump to a different type of practice, a different specialty, or at least a new job within 2 years of graduating.


I'd love to know what the updated, most-recent statistic is.


That might come into play because there is an annual flood of new grads. Quick question, because I don't know: is there a PA program in Buffalo already? Albany? You might find yourself competing with a fairly big herd. Consider the value of doing something in Family Practice or inpatient Peds for a while.


But at the same time, be cautious. My first job had great pay and was less than three miles from my house... but it was a terrible job, working in a disorganized group that was carrying way too many patients. Also, it turns out that as a new grad, I was a crappy hospitalist. It turned out well for me, but the stress and poison to the ego pretty much required the big paycheck. And now that I've been free of that place for 3 years, the paycheck wasn't all that great.


It's better to take an extra 3-6 months to find something that fits you, as opposed to landing yourself in a job that's a bad fit.

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