ThePhysicianCareerNetwork |ARTICLE
Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians.

  Career Transition Flow Chart by William S. Frank

Since 1978, physicians have been asking me two questions about career transition and job search: 1) what is the process, and 2) how long will it take. Length of time is addressed by the Change Meter. This flow chart attempts to explain the process. There are four steps:

  1. Diagnosis
  2. Market Readiness
  3. Marketing
  4. New Beginning
The Career Diagnosis™ involves structured testing and assessment, and detailed paper-and-pencil exercises to create a vision of your future. The outcome is focus and clarity, such that you could describe your career direction in a simple sentence, or "elevator speech," such as: "I'd like to be a medical researcher for an orthopedic device company in the Midwest."

Market Readiness involves preparing you to look good to employers: 1) determining your 6-12 core competencies [marketable skills], finding and writing your major work acccomplishments, creating your resume or C.V., compiling a list of friends and professional acquaintances, creating letters to executive recruiters or headhunters, letters to want ads and job postings. During this phase you'll design and order business cards and letterhead. At, my favorite online printer, you can get 250 premium quality, color business cards FREE!

You may want to create a web-based LinkedIn profile to broadcast your credentials to a national, even international, audience. The outcome of the Market Readiness phase is to be prepared to respond to employment opportunities instantly: "I can FedEx my resume, work samples and list of references to you right now."

Marketing involves launching your campaign and getting yourself known. In this stage you go from "paper to people" by launching your letters, networking, attending organizational meetings. The outcome is visibility as you communicate your central theme: "I'm great at explaining difficult medical concepts in very simple terms."

In the "Offer Phase," you sharpen your interviewing skills, learn to use "closing comments," prepare for interviews [four hours of preparation for a one-hour interview], develop 6-12 "warm leads, continuously follow-up, and develop several job offers. You make counteroffers, negotiate salary, and accept the offer that best meets your needs. The outcome is a good fit.

New Beginning involves getting started on the right foot, transitioning out of the old, into a better future. The outcome is happiness, such that you'd say: I am very happy, happier than I've been in years. Leaving clinical practice was the right decision, and I'm grateful for this new opportunity."

As you look at the flow chart on the next page, you'll see the yellow column called Ongoing Learning. Throughout the change process, you'll learn to become an "instant expert" on many topics, by reading, researching, and conducting informational meetings. The outcome is market knowledge, meaning you'll know more about what's going on in the world outside clinical medicine. As an "instant expert," you might say something like: "It's hard to believe I became an 'expert' in venture capital in less than ten days."

As I've said before, physicians in clinical practice occupy only 1% of the workforce. There is a big world of opportunity ahead.

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