Networking is hard. Remember that every pathologist was once like you, looking for a job. To practice, look for others standing alone and introduce yourself. “It’s easier to network with a buddy, plus they can introduce you to their contacts,” says Roseann Wu, MD, MPH, FASCP. “After introductions, ask questions and be a good listener. Finding something in common can lead to more in-depth chats. Once you’ve connected, mention that you’re looking for a job and would appreciate staying in touch, even if nothing is available at the moment.” Don’t get discouraged if not every interaction ends in a job offer. Building a broad network is helpful throughout one’s career; you never want to burn bridges.
Getting a job is easier if you already have connections where you’re most interested in practicing, Dr. Wu adds. “Word of mouth moves faster than official job postings and is the preferred recruitment method. A glowing endorsement from a group’s existing pathologist is often more impactful than letters from unknown individuals,” she says.
However, if your reference is a well-networked pathologist, their emails and phone calls on your behalf may be instrumental in securing an interview. If you’re reaching out to practices without any personal connection, you should explain why you’re particularly interested in them. Practices are also looking for someone with the right personality, who will work well with existing personnel. Always be courteous to administrative staff.
Getting a job offer is exhilarating, and if you get more than one offer, even better, Dr. Wu notes. Practical considerations including salary, benefits, responsibilities, schedule flexibility, commute and cost of living are certainly important. “But reflecting on your values and priorities, your compatibility with the group, whether your family will be happy and mentorship are just as critical,” she says. “Your first job doesn’t have to be your last, but treat it like a long-term relationship.”