Your first career as a new physician assistant may be more important than you think.

You worked hard in school to obtain your degree and further your medical training; now it’s time to apply that knowledge to the real world.

Use this guide to help you choose the right position as you begin your career as a physician assistant.

Tip # 1 – Understand Your Career Goals

Taking the time to really understand your career goals can help you narrow down your employment options. By now, you have likely already chosen a career as a physician assistant.

Understand Your Career Goals

However, you can still narrow down your career options by considering the type of employer or patients you want to work with most. 

Some physician assistants may work in a family care setting, offering medical care to families across different generations. Other physician assistants may work in a hospital or outpatient environment.

Still, others may find fulfillment in working in nursing homes. You have a lot of options when becoming a physician assistant.

Some physician assistants may also choose to work with specific specialties, like emergency medicine, internal medicine, dermatology, or psychiatry.

Some of these specialties may require additional schooling or certifications, but seeking physician assistant job openings that expose you to these populations can help you decide if more training will help you reach your career goals.

Tip # 2 – Polish And Perfect Your Resume Before Applying

Your resume is one of the most important hiring tools as you go forward into your physician assistant career search.

Since becoming a physician assistant requires a degree, patient care experience hours, and successful completion of a state exam in all states, your education and training won’t be enough to make you stand out. 

Find what makes you different from other candidates and highlight this on your resume. Be sure to include any specialized training or certifications you might hold.

Call out any special interests you have, such as working with certain populations or groups. Experience in business can also be helpful since many physician offices are structured as small businesses.

When it comes to physician assistant jobs, teamwork is especially important. Highlighting accomplishments or positions that demonstrate your teamwork skills is especially useful when applying to physician assistant positions.

Another important skill is communication. You can demonstrate your communication skills in your cover letter by connecting specific points in the job listing to your qualifications.

Don’t be afraid to give your resume some personality. Let hiring managers know why you chose a career in medicine.

Let them know why working as a physician assistant is so important to you. Expressing your personal interests can help your resume stand out and could be the reason you end up landing your dream job.

Narrow Down Your References Now

Tip # 3 – Narrow Down Your References Now

Many employers will ask for letters of recommendation or a list of references. Rather than waiting until they ask, narrow down your options now.

Reach out to previous professors, residency leads, or physicians you have worked with during school to find out if they’ll be willing to write a letter of reference for you.

Make sure you give anyone who agrees ample time to write a letter of recommendation.

Rushing the writing process can lead to less-than-stellar letters that do little to help your career. At a minimum, try to give at least three to four weeks of time.

Tip # 4 – Meet the Team Of Any Positions You’re Considering

The team you work with as a physician assistant is extremely important. Since most states require physician assistants to work closely with a medical doctor, you’ll want to ensure a good relationship.

Make sure meeting the team is a part of your recruitment process. Meeting with the office staff can also be helpful since you’ll work closely with them, too.

Your patients will schedule appointments and communicate frequently with the front office and billing departments.

Since building your career as a physician assistant requires building your caseload, you’ll want to ensure all of these moving parts fit with your career goals.

Some physician assistants may even find value in talking with other healthcare team members in the office.

Find out what other physicians or physician assistants enjoy about working at the specific office and what they believe could be better.

Ask around to your professional peers to get a general idea of the overall reputation of the employer.

Your first position as a physician assistant is important to the rest of your career. You’ll use this position to apply your training to real-life situations.

This learning opportunity will help you build your caseload and narrow down your career goals.

Taking the time to understand what those goals are and your ideal work situation can ensure you choose the right position.