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5 tips for getting the most out of a physician career fair

Physician attending career fair

Physician career fairs are an important tool that can enhance your job search and increase your career options. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, you now have even more opportunities to attend hiring events with the rise of virtual career fairs — and no traveling required!

Physician career fairs provide you the opportunity to meet with a variety of healthcare employers face-to-face or virtually, and they are a great way to make connections with the physician recruiters who drive hiring at their facilities. Follow the tips below to maximize your experience and get the most out of attending physician career fairs.

1. Create a game plan

Many physician career fairs publicize the names of employers attending the event. Research those organizations beforehand to find out which ones you are interested in that are recruiting in your specialty. Then write down any questions you have and map out a plan of attack. Make sure you allow plenty of time to visit with the recruiters from your top choices first so you can make connections and get answers to your questions. The exhibitor list is continually updated, so check back often to make sure you don’t miss any potential employers you would want to meet with.

2. Dress to impress

You never know when the perfect job opportunity will present itself, and you’ll want to be ready to create a good first impression when it does. Whether the career fair you’re attending is in person or virtual, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely speak with an employer, so it’s recommended you dress similarly. Some suggestions include dress pants or skirt, and button-down, long-sleeve shirt or blouse.

physician at job fair

3. Prepare in advance

Even if you aren’t seriously looking for a position right now, it’s important to update your CV before attending a physician career fair. Some career fairs allow you to upload your CV to their site before the event for exhibitors to access. However, if you’re attending an in-person event, bring a few hard copies of your CV to share with potential employers. If you’re attending a virtual career fair, upload your resume as a PDF rather than a Word doc to preserve the formatting and make it easier for employers to add it to their online resume book.

If you don’t already have one, create an email address that is solely for professional use and check it often. Also, if you’re interested in working locum tenens, include on your contact card any areas or locations you’d like to work.

4. Go virtual

The onset of the pandemic has made it easier for physicians to broaden their job search to new geographic areas through virtual interviewing, and many physician recruiters changed their career fair strategy to participate in virtual events as well. For example, Mary Jo Burkham, FASPR, senior director of physician recruitment at Sanford Health, which has healthcare facilities in several Midwest states, found that virtual career fairs were a very successful way to connect with qualified candidates across the nation.

“Before, most residents and physicians only attended the career fair that was hosted in their local community. Now they can be part of ones that are hosted seven states away because they can sit on their couch and join,” Burkman says.

Virtual physician career fair attendee

Although you’re not speaking to recruiters face-to-face, most of the in-person career fair tips also apply to attending virtual career fairs. Preparing your CV in advance, ensuring your technology is working, and dressing the part is still important.

  • Prepare your space. Make sure your Internet and technology is working properly in a neat, clean, well-lit room.
  • Use confident body language. Eye contact and a genuine smile are important.
  • Take notes on paper. Using your computer may make you look distracted.
  • Get contact information and follow up after the fair

5. Follow up with new contacts

Whether you attended an in-person or virtual career fair, the follow up is typically the same. Create a list of recruiters and other attendees with whom you want to keep in contact. Following the event, send them a personalized email, thank you note, or LinkedIn invitation to maintain the connection and continue the conversation. Remember: recruiters get busy and some may not respond right away, so it’s ok to send a reminder email so they see that you’re genuinely interested and paid attention during your time with them.

RELATED: How to evaluate a physician practice opportunity

For more tips on finding the right job, check out our resources for residents, fellows, and new grads.

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