women networking and working together


Interested in non-clinical physician jobs?


Today we’re talking about one of the most common questions I get asked, which is how to get your foot in the door to find non-clinical jobs as a physician.

Many physicians and healthcare professionals are looking for a career transition, a career pivot or some kind of new career – many times a non-clinical career.


In This Episode of The Career Rx You’ll Learn:

  • How to get your foot in the door to find non-clinical jobs as a physician.
  • My four-part framework to help you create new opportunities by networking the right way.
  • Communication strategies to leave a positive lasting impression when networking.
  • Tips to stay connected with your network to help provide future interviews and job opportunities.





If you want to go beyond today’s episode and really learn how to position yourself for a non-clinical career switch, check out Industry Insider – a webinar series for physicians interested in pharmaceutical or medical device careers. This series covers transferrable skills, networking secrets, interview prep, and much more.


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TRANSCRIPT AND SHOW NOTES (Physician Non-Clinical Jobs: How To Get Your Foot in the Door)


Today we’re talking about one of the most common questions I get asked, which is how to get your foot in the door for a career transition, a career pivot or some kind of new career.

Very often it is a non-clinical career, or at least a non-patient care related shift for physicians, but sometimes it’s something completely outside of medicine, and it is absolutely doable.

I’m going to give a four-part framework on how to get your foot in the door. Everyone knows it’s not so much what you know, it’s who you know.

So, it’s important to grow that network in that new industry or new career field in order to get your foot in the door and not feel like your CV is going into a vortex.

This leads people to ask a very reasonable question, which is…

“If you don’t know anyone in the industry, how are you supposed to get to know anyone in the industry?”

This is a little bit of a part two from a prior episode about side gigs. Specifically because of the timing, and we’re in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis right now. That episode was about whether or not to continue pursuing a side gig during times of stress like this. Those lessons are applicable no matter the circumstances, so months and perhaps even years from now, those will still apply.

Today we’re focusing on wanting to really change up your main gig. So, let’s get into it!


How To Get Your Foot in the Door For Physician Non-Clinical Jobs: 4 Part Framework

physician networking about a non-clinical job via video call


1. Initial Network Strategy for Non-Clinical Jobs


First and foremost, if you’re a physician looking for a non-clinical job you must network. This sounds like an obvious one – but the question is how to effectively network, in a new career where you don’t know anyone.

What you need to do is think strategically about who you need to meet in order to really understand more about the role or the industry/path you’re pursuing.

You might be able to think of some people to network with, but you don’t officially know them.


My recommendation: Create a list of people you would like to network with.

You can:

  • Make a list of names of specific people
  • If you don’t know people by name, make a list of job titles and job descriptions
  • Now, if you’re unsure of job titles and descriptions you can at least make a list of the types of industries you’re interested in, plus a description of the kind of person you want to meet in your own words.

You can start your research on Google, Glassdoor.com (one of my favorites) and my absolute favorite – LinkedIn.

  • Start to look around and understand what kinds of jobs exist.
  • Know what kind of job titles are used.
  • What types of words are described for different types of roles in different kinds of industries?

This will help you to make your list for your initial networking. This list doesn’t need to be long because you really just need to get that one foot in the door and the rest will cascade, assuming you bring your A-game and do a good job.

Assuming you bring your A-game and do a good job, once you have established your network or Once you have established your network or your list to begin your networking then the next step is to…


2. Set Up Informational Interviews


The best way to get an informational interview is to have a personal introduction via email from a mutual contact.

That’s why I like LinkedIn so much. You might be very surprised as people you’ve known from a prior time in life, school or different community, will know some people they might be willing to introduce you to.

How can you go about setting up these interviews?


Secure A Personal Introduction


That’s the best way to get that personal introduction. It’s what makes someone perhaps most likely to answer you.


Reach Out Directly


If you don’t have this kind of connection that’s okay. You can still reach out with a short communication to the person you’d like to network with.

It should be specific that you would like to spend no more than 30 minutes at most with them in an informational interview. Communicate your interest in connecting as you want to learn more about their industry as well as their career path.

Importantly, the informational interview is all about the person you are going to meet. It is not about you.

This interview is definitely not about you asking for a job, although you do want to be ready to talk about your own skill sets.

You will want to have done your homework in order to:

  • Describe your transferable skills.
  • Articulate your interest in the industry.
  • Explain your long term career goals and how that fits together.
  • Communicate your elevator pitch which will be tied to your professional brand messaging.


Related Professional Branding Articles & Resources:

I have a lot of information on professional branding in the podcast, the blog and in my course, The Industry Insider. You can check these resources out here…


Remember that the informational interview is about the person you are meeting with.


It is not about you finding a non-clinical job immediately. The short communication you send to them should also be about them.

There should be some kind of hook that indicates you know a bit about them. You’ve done some research and you’re specifically interested in them for a specific reason. Ideally, a reason that is complementary to them, so people will be inclined to tell you more and to talk about themselves.

It is important to be specific as well.

I get many requests from people who say they’re interested in knowing about non-clinical careers and they would just like to connect. Or they would like to collaborate. I don’t really know what that means.

Everybody’s busy! You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all super busy, and I most definitely cannot connect with everyone who wants to connect.

I also can’t get on the phone for 30 minutes with everyone who wants to “connect”. That’s one of the reasons I do this podcast, write blogs, have webinars and create courses. I do this to help as many people as I can. I simply cannot connect with everyone one on one.

Having said that, there are some people I do connect with. Usually that’s because they have asked for something more specific than just a connection. They have asked a particular question.

And it does help if a person has been introduced to me by someone I already know. So that is the second step. Get yourself some informational interviews. You don’t need many because as we’ll get into in Step 3, one will lead to the next.

But in order to get them, really try to leverage that network you already have, even if it’s a loose connection from a different time in your life or you know somebody.



  • Be specific in your communication – you want to know about them, their career path.
  • Be brief, and don’t ask for more than 30 minutes
  • Be specific about your career goals and why you want to talk to them, BUT…
  • Absolutely do not make it about seeking non-clinical jobs at their company or with them. If they get the sense they’re being pitched to that’s a big turn off. That is a big red flag.


3. Continue to Grow Your Network

woman networking on laptop


The third part is to continue to grow your network.

Do this by leveraging the person in front of you – the person you’re having a conversation with right now. Ask them for one, two or maybe three (at the most) additional people that they recommend you might speak to.

Again, be specific.

The recommendations you’re seeking should be from people who can help you transition from your current role into a different type of role. Or to learn a certain skill set or something specific that can help you. The more specific you are, the better results you’re likely to get.

You might want to be very specific and say,

“Is there anyone else you would recommend I speak to who has experience going from a long private practice career into an administrative career or from an academic career into an industry career?”

Your contact will likely be able to provide you with a handful of names and they will likely be willing to provide you with that email introduction.

This is why I said your initial list does not need to be that long, as this is usually self-sustaining and it can grow.


Arm Yourself with The Information You’ve Learned


Assuming you have made a good impression in your informational interview you should now be armed with some intelligent questions to ask the next person you meet.

You should also have an intelligent framework for how to ask for the next set of introductions. You will have learned more about the industry from the conversation you just had. You’ll also know more about that person’s career path from your conversation.

So, work that language into your ask.

It’s not uncommon for people to say they’ll follow up or they’ll give you some names. If they say they’ll follow up with an email introduction, by all means write those names down, but do let them facilitate the email introduction. (Get the names before you leave the meeting, but don’t reach out on your own yet if your contract has offered to connect you.)

Be pleasantly persistent about following up, in a day or two and then perhaps in a week.

Don’t be discouraged by people who are not acting immediately on your behalf, because remember again, they’re busy and you are the only one really with your career top of mind. As long as you are pleasant, respectful and you get back in touch in a reasonable cadence usually you will be able to get people to follow through on these introductions.

If you reach a point where you feel you cannot get that introduction, then maybe you can reach out on your own through LinkedIn or some other way.

Mention you were recommended by that mutual contact, and that will often be enough. Put it in the subject line if you’re sending an email.


Remember you need to be specific about:

  • Your learning and career goals
  • Where you are now and where you hope to be
  • What you might need to develop and learn in order to position yourself well
  • Wanting to know what a day in the life looks like in that new industry – to know if you even really do want to pursue it the way you think you do

Don’t forget, you are not asking for a job, although this will often be the end result.

Following this guide will give you a more solid idea about what you need to do. You will know more people, and you’ll be better able to reach out to folks when there are specific job openings.

So that brings me the final tip.


4. Stay in Touch


A totally reasonable cadence, right?

You may want to follow what these people are doing on LinkedIn, so if they publish an article, you can comment on it.

If you see a job opening at their company, (this is later and not the informational interview, but later) then you might be able to reach out directly and ask them about it.

You may be able to ask them to put you in touch, maybe even with the hiring manager. You could have an informal conversation to learn more about what that person is looking for and what that job looks like.

People will do this all the time in an informal way. It’s not an actual interview. It precedes all that. It’s outside of HR, and that is where these personal connections come into play.

So stay in touch.

Thank the person for having had that informational interview with you.

Leverage them to continue to grow your network and stay familiar enough to them so when you do reach back out, it’s just a quick reminder of how they know you, if at all. Perhaps they will feel like they know you well already, so they will feel confident enough to put you directly in touch with the hiring manager. They themselves might even be that hiring manager at that point. So now you know some folks you’ve got that foot in the door.


How To Get Your Foot in the Door For Physician Non-Clinical Jobs: Final Thoughts


Obviously, there’s a whole lot more work to do in order to transition your medical CV into a regular industry-friendly resume for non-clinical jobs in healthcare or any other industry.

There’s also a lot of work to do around your transferable skills so people will see you can indeed do the job. You may be right for the role, even if you don’t have specific industry experience. So that is not something to take lightly.

It’s worth doing this planning in advance before you have an opportunity to share your CV with someone, or to talk to them about your history.

Also, be aware that the types of questions that are often asked in business and industry are very much competency-based and behavioural-based – we cover how to nail this in my Industry Insider webinar series.

These interviews often have a specific format, and they want to understand a lot about your thinking, your decision making, outcomes and your stories. So you’ll want to spend some time preparing well for that before there’s an actual opportunity in front of you.

Again, if you’re interested in the Industry Insider webinar series, it’s four webinars and packed with a lot of really helpful, practical tips to take you from where you are now to that new career you want.

But most importantly, just get started! This takes time, and you can make great progress with my course or just starting off with these tips in this podcast episode for getting your foot in the door for a nonclinical career or another industry.

Thanks for joining me on this episode of The Career Rx!

Please be sure to subscribe and leave me a review on Apple Podcast, Google Podcast or whatever podcast player you’re using to listen today. Also, be sure to send me your questions so I can answer them and give you a shout out on a future episode.

Bye for now,



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