Job search sabotage: Avoid common mistakes

People can inadvertently sabotage their job search efforts in several different ways when searching for jobs. This can happen in a variety of ways.

An unfocused job search results from not having a clear vision of what you are looking for or which industries and roles match your skills and interests. The goal and position you are aiming for should be clearly defined. It’s not enough to say, “I want to transition to Pharma.” A clearer response would be, “I want to secure a position as a Medical Affairs Medical Director at XYZ Pharmaceutical Company.”

When you submit the same resume and cover letter to multiple employers, it may seem like you are uninterested or unqualified for the job. Show why you are a good match for each job by tailoring your application materials. Taking the time to do this requires effort, but the rewards are worth it.

The job market today is highly competitive, so networking is essential. Your opportunities can be limited if you do not leverage professional networks, attend industry events, or connect with others in your field. The career transition strategy plan should include both online and offline networking in today’s job market.

I occasionally come across physicians who do not even have a Facebook profile. Facebook might not be the app that comes to mind for professional networking, but it is a goldmine of information and resources for those looking to transition out of medicine. If you’re not a member of one of the career transition groups on Facebook, then you’re missing out. It is common for employers to search for candidates online. It can hurt your chances if you have an outdated or unprofessional online presence, such as inappropriate social media posts.

Employers value soft skills like communication, teamwork, and adaptability. One-dimensionality can result from focusing only on technical skills. It is not easy for all applicants to articulate their soft skills well during the job search process, whether it is on their resumes or during interviews. To help my clients understand themselves and learn the vocabulary to describe themselves, I recommend tests like DiSC to them.

The transferrable skills you possess should not be underestimated. When someone says, “But I am just a doctor” or “All I know is clinical medicine,” how often have you heard that? There is much more to you than just being a doctor. Your training in medical school and residency, as well as years of clinical experience, have prepared you for a variety of nonclinical careers.

Interview preparation is not optional. If you don’t research the company or practice common interview questions, you may not only appear unprepared and disinterested during interviews, but you may also lose a high-paying, highly desirable job. Similarly, failing to follow up after interviews or submitting applications shows a lack of enthusiasm.

Consider feedback from interviews or applications constructively. In the future, you might repeat the same mistakes if you ignore feedback. Keep an eye on the job market, and don’t overlook small details. Job markets change, and certain industries might be more competitive at different times. Not adapting your job search strategy can result in missed opportunities.

Jawaria Suhail is a family physician and dedicated life coach who specializes in guiding physicians and health care professionals through various challenges, including life, career, business, and divorce. She can be reached at The Nonclincial MD.

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