Job finding techniques for international medical graduates in Canada
The Canadian job market is very competitive, so be prepared and understand each of the steps needed to gain employment. As well, finding a job in Canada may be very different than in your home country.
The licensure process for the medical profession is long and you have to negotiate a complicated and costly series of evaluating and licensing examinations. To support yourself during this period, you may need to work temporary jobs in alternative or other fields. You must look for jobs in the region where you will be registered. Therefore, take your time to research job requirements in that region and develop a plan for finding work.
There are many ways through which you can search for jobs in the sector.
- Broaden your search and include alternative careers.
- Seek out a mentor in the medical field – for example, a retired physician – who would give you valuable insight and advice and probably introduce you to their professional network.
- Join healthcare related job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attend medical or healthcare related job fairs and regularly check the employment sections of your local newspapers.
Immigrant settlement agencies
Most settlement agencies and other immigrant-serving organizations offer help with finding job vacancies, updating your resume, writing cover letters, preparing for interviews and understanding what Canadian employers are looking for.
To find immigrant services in your area, click here.
A medical resume is not that different from a standard one, but like all resumes for high-level positions, small errors stand out. A sound resume acquaints your prospective employer with your expertise and achievements in the medical field as well as your language skills.
Like many medical professionals, you may choose to retain the services of a professional resume writer to stand out from the crowd. Regardless, it pays to have an understanding of what makes a quality resume no matter who will be doing the writing.
Below are a few tips that will help you ensure that your medical resume is cleaner, easier to read, and more likely to get you interviews.
- Ask your prospective employer if there is any standard resume template that you need to follow. If not, you may search for physician templates online.
- Consider giving your medical degree following your name as in – NAME SURNAME, M.D., to impress your qualification on the prospective employer right from the beginning.
- Potential employers may want to know your citizenship/visa status and it would be helpful to mention it.
- Give details about your medical licensure and certification. Specify the date (month, year) you received the license. List your certifications in your specialty; use bulleted points.
- Write about your academic achievements. Mention academic scholarships, honors bestowed by prestigious medical associations or any/all such academic accomplishments here. Specify the details of the institutions where you carried out your fellowships, residencies and internship.
- Highlight, don’t elaborate. For example, if you are a physician with an extensive research background in your respective field, naturally you’d like to explain each study. After all, you invested a significant amount of time researching. Fight this instinct. A resume is designed to highlight professional experience, not to explain it in detail.
- If you had private practice earlier, mention it along with the location and duration of the practice. Include details about any academic positions you held.
- Write about your memberships or affiliations to any medical boards or societies.
- References: The medical field is a small world and for this reason, the amount and quality of references is used to distinguish one candidate from the other when determining the right fit for the position. Many resume guides discourage the inclusion of references on a resume. Instead, they suggest that a line stating, “References available upon request,” be included at the bottom of the resume. This is not recommended in the medical field because it is built on trust. References imply that the applicant has nothing to hide and invites scrutiny. This is an admirable trait in the medical community. It is understood that’s the more reputable and well-respected the reference is within the medical community the better.
As a medical doctor, you must have a great desire to become a doctor, as it is a challenging and demanding career. You must also have a driving passion to help people, to learn new methodologies, to sacrifice your time and energy for the health care of the patients.
This job requires you to have great intelligence, integrity, competence and social skills, and so much more. So be prepared for a thorough and exhaustive interview.
Here are a few questions you may be asked during job interview for a medical doctor position:
- Why did you choose this career? Why did you choose this specialty?
- Your professional experience: Tell us about your background as a doctor: education and experience. What are your specialties/ expertise?
- Why are you interested in this hospital/department?
- What are you career goals? Is this hospital a proper fit?
- How do you handle workload stress and emergency situations?
- Describe your day to day activities, priorities and tasks.
- Describe your most successful accomplishments.
- What are the key challenges of this (field of medicine)? What are your personal challenges?
- Do you have references? How would your employers describe you? How would your patients describe you?
In responding to these and other questions you may be asked, review your career, starting with your schooling. Consult with colleagues and friends, and prepare answers for the questions above. Rehearse them, and incorporate all applicable feedback. Do not memorize your responses, but be very familiar with them. Be succinct in your replies, and emphasize your good qualities, without arrogance. “Wrap” any negative comments with positive remarks.
While there’s a shortage of physicians in Canada, landing that next opportunity – especially for newcomers like you – requires extra effort and outreach.
Informational interviewing can be viewed as a way to put your wonderful empathetic yet professional communication abilities, research skills and time management talents to work for your own benefit.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in an industry to learn more about that particular industry.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out whether or not a particular position or industry might be a good fit for your interests and your personality. An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information because, in addition to basic information about a particular type of industry (such as you might find on a company website), it also offers you the benefit of a professional’s first-hand experiences and impressions.
- Make a list of the hospitals, clinics, public health agencies, and others, as desired, that operate in your area.
- Use your resources including professional organizations, LinkedIn, and other networking tools to identify organization insiders, such as pharmaceutical recruiters, health unit coordinators, etc.
- Create 15-20 or so open-ended questions that will yield full and immediately usable information.
For more information on informational interviews, click here.
Networking is an essential tool that may give you job leads, offer you advice and information about a particular firm or industry, and introduce you to others so that you can expand your network. As many job vacancies are not advertised, you must make connections with practicing medical doctors and others in your field.
Good places to network are gatherings such as conferences, association luncheons, and industry get-togethers for the convenience in meeting people, building relationships, and sharing information.
LinkedIn is another important professional tool for networking. It is great for reconnecting with your ex-colleagues and employers, search by company or jobs, and get introductions and recommendations.
You can also mingle with people in the healthcare sector and join some related professional groups.
But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.