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The Job Doctor Mailbag: Employment Gaps and Competitive Job Markets

The Job Doctor Mailbag is a collection of job- search related questions, emailed to us (, tweeted to us, or sent via our Facebook & Google + pages.

The Job Doctor answers any type of question related to healthcare job searches and healthcare recruiting. The Job Doctor draws from his years of successful recruiting experience and his professional contacts to provide expert and unbiased advice to your job search queries. Send your questions, and he will answer as many as he can. We will edit the questions to remove identifying information and preserve anonymity.

pharmacist job search, hospitalist job search, competitive job markets, employment gaps
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Pharmacist Job Search in Charlotte Not Working Out

Jenny, Pharmacist from Charlotte, NC: I’ve been searching for a pharmacist job in and around Charlotte, NC for the past 6 months, and I’m not really making any progress.  I am coming off of a 6 month sabbatical, which was a planned extra-long vacation that I took at the conclusion of my training. I don’t know if the gap is hurting my job search, or why I’m having such problems. I’ve already started looking for options within a commutable distance from Charlotte, 30 miles or so, but still no luck.  Any advice for me?

Job Doctor:  Thank you for your question, Jenny.  There are likely two main issues that are holding back your job search, and I do have some advice on how to proceed.

The first problem is based on location.  Charlotte, NC, is a very popular city, and for most healthcare jobs, there is going to be an abundance of applicants.  Finding a job in a competitive market isn’t easy, but there are steps you can take to improve your chances. Network every chance that you get, and let friends and colleagues know that you’re looking for a job.  Apply to each and every reasonable job for which you are qualified. You’ve been looking for a while, and the gap on your resume is getting longer and longer, so don’t be too choosey.  Also, send your resume to every place that employs pharmacists, whether they are advertising a job or not. You might get lucky and find a new job that isn’t advertised yet, or you might impress a hiring manager with your interest in their organization, which could result in a job down the road. Don’t just send your resume to prospective employers, either; take time to let them know why you are interested to work for them.

The second issue could be the 6-month gap on your resume, and you’re correct to be suspicious of it. Hiring managers often view employment gaps with a critical eye, and especially so in competitive job markets where it may be easier to find candidates without this perceived shortcoming.  Despite the potential for extra scrutiny, the best way to deal with an employment gap is to be upfront and honest about it. List the gap with accurate dates in the employment history section of your resume and explain the gap. Consider creating a personal statement to tell the employer more about yourself.

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Unfruitful Physician Job Search in Philadelphia

Dr. T, Family Practice Hospitalist in Pennsylvania: As I went through my family medicine residency, I discovered that I enjoyed working with higher acuity patients and determined that my best fit as a clinician would be to work in Hospitalist medicine.  I also had ambitions to practice in the Philadelphia metro area.  I quickly realized that interest in my services within the Philly area was limited, and the positions that I could possibly have been considered for appeared to be both lower paying and more demanding than the positions I located in some of the smaller towns/rural areas throughout Pennsylvania.  I eventually decided to accept a position in rural PA with the hopes of paying down my loans and building my skill set and experience to become a more competitive candidate in Philly or possible other Northeastern metro areas.  Long story short, I’ve been in practice for three years now, and I’m still not gaining any traction with locating better positions in areas where I’m more interested in living.  Is there any advice you can offer to help?

Job Doctor: Thanks for your question, Dr. T.  Unfortunately, there may not be an easy solution to the problem you bring up.  Philadelphia is a very competitive market for physicians, and given the amount of training programs in and around the city, it will likely remain so.  It’s not impossible to think that you could find a better position around Philadelphia through your new job search, but the odds are still stacked against you, because in a market like this, there will always be a fresh graduate who is willing to do more work for less money.  My advice is to continue with your Philadelphia search, while also beginning a new search for secondary job markets with higher demand where your experience will be more highly valued.

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About The Job Doctor

The Job Doctor is a team of healthcare job search and recruiting experts made up of the co-founders of, and several outside experts. We answer any type of job search or recruiting question honestly, and without bias. The Job Doctor is not affiliated with any of the employers who advertise at, and all questions selected for publication will be posted in an anonymous format with all identifying information removed. Email your questions to or tweet them to us at @HospRecruiting.