A physician in his late 40s with a distinguished reputation and a robust practice in a large metro area fell in love — with the science and art of management.
He saw in this discipline an opportunity to improve the practice of medicine and delivery of care — helping people — on a much broader scale as a senior hospital executive than he could ever experience with his practice. So while maintaining his clinic schedule, this physician earned an MBA. It took him three years because he opted for a special program designed for physicians that blended class and online learning. It was tough on his family life but his wife was only too happy to support this new calling; she felt a renewed sense of energy and passion that had slipped over the years.
When it was all said and done, our physician was at the top of his class, a distinguished graduate. Then the reality set in. No one would hire him. He had the degree but no real leadership or medical affairs experience.
He learned a lesson that most physicians never experience: finding that first job is always the hardest. No one slammed any doors, he said, but without experience he could not even get an interview.
When he called me, his frustration was more than a little apparent. “I would like to stay here — I thought there would be ample opportunities in a metropolitan area of this size, but I obviously did not think that part of the process through.”
While there is a demand for capable physician leaders, that demand is for those with relevant experience and a track record of accomplishment.
Our physician was particularly interested in strategy, but when I asked what his strategy was for developing a career as an executive, he went silent, reaffirming yet again that sometimes the most obvious issue gets overlooked. Developing a personal career strategy had not crossed his mind.
“So how can I earn a chance show them what I can do? If I can’t find a job because I have no experience, how can ever get the experience?” His words were reminiscent of comments I frequently hear from newly minted college graduates who are entering the workforce for the first time.
Here are steps I suggested he take:
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© 2016 John Gregory Self
As a hospital executive responsible for setting priorities and allocating resources to fulfill your important healthcare mission, the question is where do you prioritize the care and safety of the patient? Are they number one or are they lower? You might be surprised to hear the answer from some healthcare leaders.
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© 2016 John Gregory Self
“Historically there may have been periods on our planet where it was conceivable to “not change” for most of a person’s lifetime. Mostly because people tended to die off before things changed materially. Those days are gone and we are now entering an era of exponential change – where ground breaking and fundamental change in all aspects of life happens within years or months (not decades or centuries).”
Stefan Korn, CEO, Creative HQ, Wellington, New Zealand
How helpful are job posting boards like LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and iHire? If you are seeking executives in specialty fields such as healthcare finance, not very much. They tend to open the doors for dozens, in some cases more, of candidates who do not meet the minimum requirements — such as experience in the industry doing the recruiting.
This is a time wasting proposition for executive recruiters but we still use the services because, for the money we spend, even if we identify only one qualified candidate that we did not know about from our extensive telephone networking, it is worth it. The time we waste looking at resumes from candidates who are not even residents of the US, or who do not meet even the minimum job requirements, is just an accepted part of the routine for recruiters and their researchers.
But here is my real concern: All those people wasting their time applying for jobs they have no chance of landing. The sad part is that many of these candidates have no clue how to go about looking for a job. Many are so obsessed with the financial reasons to find their next position that they mistakenly believe that the volume of applications they submit is more important than the quality of the applications they make — that is to say to companies in their industry who are seeking individuals with the competencies and experience necessary to be successful in the job.
I do not know if they were told to throw dozens, hundreds or even thousands of applications against the wall in hopes that something would stick, or if they came to that inaccurate conclusion on their own. If they were given that advice by some career counselor or outplacement consultant, shame on those supposed professionals. By the way, for every good to great outplacement or career counselor — and make no mistake, there are some really good ones in a variety of professions — there or four or five that probably should find a new line of work. This is based on our research with candidates we interview and the resumes they present from such career counselors/resume writers.
Here are three big ideas I want you to think about for career management and your next job search.
© 2016 John Gregory Self