Endocrinology, the study of the hormone-producing glands in the body, is an invaluable profession that will only grow more in demand as the American population ages and develops chronic health conditions. By diagnosing and treating hormone imbalances, an endocrinologist can vastly improve a patient’s quality of life, whether reducing a diabetic’s reliance on insulin or ensuring a woman with PCOS can have a child.

Given that endocrinology is both highly specialized – only about 7,000 of these professionals in the United States – and highly useful, it would be easy to believe that anyone with the correct training will have no problem finding a job, but it is unfortunately not the case. Like any other profession, endocrinologists may struggle to locate great opportunities that fit their needs; however, there are ways around these roadblocks, and we’ll look at four today.

Challenge 1: there are no suitable jobs in your area

The fact that endocrinology is so specialized can be a double-edged sword: it means that you are only competing with others with the same knowledge base, but it also means that only large hospital systems might have openings. It might also seem impossible to find the positions if you’re looking on generalized job boards like Monster, ZipRecruiter, or LinkedIn – but that’s because they aren’t being posted there.

When it comes to positions requiring advanced knowledge, many hospital systems don’t place them on websites with a larger user base because they know that many individuals will apply to jobs that they’re not qualified for. Instead, they will post available endocrinologist jobs and other positions on specialty healthcare job boards, where they can be assured that anyone who registers and makes a profile will have at least some healthcare qualifications.

Looking at PracticeMatch, one of the specialized healthcare job boards, there are 331 in-house and 74 firm jobs at the time of this writing, all for physicians; this is much different than a search on Indeed, which has several irrelevant jobs included in a search.

Challenge 2: you don’t have the exact specialty knowledge that the job is looking for

There are dozens of hormone disorders, from human growth hormone deficiency to thyroid damage. While some dysfunctions are very common, others may have a small patient population, and those clinics that cater to them will require very specialized knowledge to care for them; these roles are often better compensated than other positions because they have a smaller application pool and those qualified can negotiate their salary with more confidence.

It’s important to note that some job listings will list the hiring manager’s “wants” as “needs,” and you may be able to get an interview even if you don’t have that specific knowledge base. However, if you find that they require those skills, don’t give up yet! Ask if they have any recommendations for additional training to gain the knowledge necessary or if you would be able to learn on the job. For some positions where you will be joining a larger team, it may be possible for them to hire you as you complete this advanced training. In this instance, communication and negotiation are very helpful, as is keeping an open mind.

Challenge 3: the role will not allow good work-life balance

When you’re young and fresh out of medical school, work-life balance may not seem very crucial, as you have few responsibilities outside of work. However, as you settle down, it’s very important to get home in time for dinner and be available for your children’s activities. Given that many medical roles require you to be on call or to work long hours, you may hesitate to apply to certain positions out of fear that they will cause you to miss much of your family’s life.

It might not always be possible to find a role with a great work-life balance, but some options are more likely to give you the flexibility you need: these are mostly non-patient-facing roles in research institutions. Here, you’ll be able to help people more diffusely, either by completing research to advance the study of endocrinology or by teaching the next generation of bright physicians. Such roles are good for those with clinical experience past medical school but now need more reasonable working hours due to family commitments.

Communication is everything when it comes to finding endocrinology positions.

For available positions that may get hundreds of applications, it’s generally discouraged to reach out to employers. However, in smaller fields where reputation is everything, having a conversation with the hiring manager can make a huge difference in whether you’re offered a position. Even if you’re not the perfect applicant for this job, being friendly and honest may help you make a connection that will prove useful down the line.

Endocrinology is a rewarding field but has challenges, particularly in job-seeking. However, by thinking creatively and leaning upon your professional network, you can find the role that gives you the challenge and balance you desire.

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