1. Remember: your career search started years ago. Whether you realize it or not, your career search started when you decided to become an Optometrist. That decision set in motion a chain of events that will eventually influence where you live, how much you will make, and how you will make your mark on the world.Some of the best connections you can make to land an ideal first position may come in the form of professors, classmates, or OD’s you shadowed during breaks.

    Make a list of contacts you have made to this point in your education and career. Don’t be afraid to ask these people for suggestions for placement. Be proactive in collecting contact information and letters of reference from those who are willing to give you a recommendation. This is a process you should continue throughout your career.

    Though it may seem that there will be time to do this later, people move, professors get new jobs, and OD’s retire. Getting contacts promptly is a way to create a sense of commitment and build a support network for your career.

  2. Make a five-year plan. What does a successful career look like to you? What size practice do you see yourself working with? Where do you wish to live? What kind of patient population do you prefer? How much money do you need to make?This is more than a simple visioning exercise. Deciding what your best-case scenario looks like will help you create a roadmap for which job opportunities to prioritize.

    At the same time, flexibility is important. Few people have the opportunity to make their career unfold exactly as they conceive it, but it is important to start with a plan.

  3. Resumes, CV, and Cover Letters. It is an interesting time in the eye care industry and job market. While it is important not to ignore the traditions of the profession, it is unrealistic to think that a 1990’s approach to finding a position will work as well in 2020.First, make sure your resume or CV and cover letter are professional and typo-free. Be realistic in your abilities in doing these things. After all, most exceptional writers cannot capably run a tonometer. Here are some suggestions for preparing your job search materials:
    • Lean on the career center of your institution. Most schools have professionals whose job is to assist you.
    • Look at the CVs of graduates who have been successful in their job search and model your materials after those.
    • Have someone else proofread your  writing. It is difficult to spot errors or inconsistencies that you wrote because you know what you are trying to say.
    • Don’t be afraid to consult a resume writing service or call on ETS Vision for guidance.
  4. Understand how job searches have changed. Most applications are handled digitally today. Do all you can to make your personal brand stand out digitally.  It is important to understand that most successful job searches are the product of some type of connection to the firm seeking a candidate. Leverage any possible connection.
  5. Keep grinding. Few people find their ideal match after the first interview. At times, the process for finding a good start to your career can seem overwhelming.Treat every interview as an opportunity. Even if a job offer isn’t tendered, you have made a connection and learned from the experience. Stay positive.

    Ultimately, you are looking for just one opportunity. The right one is out there, and you are not the first Optometrist to face this challenge. Everyone you meet has gone through the same process at one time in their careers.

  6. Consider ETS Vision. We are in conversation with Optometry and Ophthalmology practices every day and are often aware of practices who are confidentially looking for a new associate (so you won’t see their positions posted anywhere online). A professional recruiter can serve as a great mediator between you and the hiring practice, and can often ensure both parties are in-sync throughout the interview and hiring process. Once you have a plan for your career, ETS Vision can help you find opportunities to make it a reality by providing you with a cheerleader and advocate.

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