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Job-Seeker’s Guide to the Joint Meeting
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Few things are more stressful than leaving the safety of higher education and joining the work force. Equally stressful is making the decision to switch jobs or move from private practice to academia, academia to a large practice, or any variation in between.

The Academy knows this and is prepared to help you navigate your way through the process of finding a job. During this year’s Joint Meeting in Chicago (Oct. 16 to 19), you’ll find a myriad of courses, resources and programs to help you find (and land!) the job of your dreams.

Great Courses and Discussions
There are several offerings that are either geared especially for YOs or apply to the young ophthalmologist. Standouts include:

  • Young Ophthalmologist (YO) Program: Get advice on the transition from training to practice in this half-day course featuring members of the YO Committee and select practice management consultants. Program is $35 and includes lunch.
    • Where/when: Sunday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at McCormick Place, S101.
  • How to Avoid Joining the Wrong Practice: Factors to Consider Before Accepting an Associate Position: This AAOE instruction course is for residents, fellows and other ophthalmologists with competing job offers. It outlines and explains the major factors to consider before accepting an associate position.
    • Where/when: Monday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. at McCormick Place, Room S106A.
  • A Practical Guide to Understanding and Negotiating Your First Employment Agreement: This Breakfast with the Experts roundtable discussion is limited to nine attendees, so it’s sure to be a dynamic session, but don’t wait long to register! As you can imagine, those nine spots go fast.
    • Where/when: Monday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 a.m. at McCormick Place, Hall A.
  • How to Join a Group Practice: Introductory Concepts: This is also a Breakfast with the Experts and is limited to nine attendees.
    • Where/when: Monday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 a.m. at McCormick Place, Hall A.
  • Hospital Employment of Ophthalmologists: The New Normal?: Another great Breakfast with the Experts, this course is also limited to nine attendees.
    • Where/when: Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 a.m. at McCormick Place, Hall A.
  • Networking with the Experts: Education for the Young Ophthalmologist: Among other topics, this lunchtime panel discussion will cover mistakes to avoid when signing your first contract and how to set up your financial portfolio. Program is $20 and includes lunch.
    • Where/when: Saturday, Oct. 16, Noon to 1:30 p.m. at McCormick Place, S101B.
  • FREE! Welcome to the Real World: Reality 101 for Residents and Fellows: Ask the panel of YOs your burning questions and learn about nonmedical aspects of practicing ophthalmology. Hear personal perspectives, pitfalls and pearls.
    • Where/when: Monday, Oct. 18, 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., McCormick Place, S501A.

Other great courses to consider include:

  • Negotiating Your Buy-In: AAOE instruction course; Sunday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m. at McCormick Place, Room S104A.
  • How to Value an Ophthalmology Practice: AAOE instruction course; Sunday, Oct. 17 at 4:30pm at McCormick Place, Room S103A.
  • Going Solo: Practical Tips for Starting Your Own Ophthalmology Practice: Breakfast with the Experts; Sunday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 a.m. at McCormick Place, Hall A.

While courses and Breakfasts with the Experts are not included in your basic registration for the meeting (free for Academy members), most are very reasonably priced. Members-in-training event get a 50 percent discount!

  • AAOE instruction courses are $25 in advance for one-hour courses ($12.50 for members-in-training!), $35 onsite; two-hour courses are $50 in advance ($25 for members-in-training), $70 onside.
  • Breakfasts with the Experts are $30 in advance ($15 for member-in-training) or $40 onsite; the fee includes a continental breakfast.

For the cost of a handful of grande lattes, you could be one step closer to a great job. So forgo your designer coffees for a week, grab your mouse and register today!

Professional Choices Job Fair
Courses and advice are just one of the resources for job-seekers at the meeting. Another great resource is the annual Professional Choices Job Fair, which often has more than 100 hiring practices — all looking for ophthalmologists in most, if not all, subspecialties. This year’s job fair will be Sunday, Oct. 17, at McCormick Place, North, Hall B from 2:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.

If you haven’t gone in the past, what are you waiting for? Consider this your formal invitation to check out this amazing opportunity to find a practice that fits your needs and skill set. Best of all, registration for the job fair is free for job seekers.

If you register in advance, simply enter event code SPE31A, and you will be able to submit your employment preferences, which will be distributed to all of the registered hiring practices. Whether you register early or choose to just drop in on site during the meeting, be sure to have several copies of your resume on hand.

To make sure you are armed and ready for the job fair, you may want to revisit a couple of past job fair articles, including:

Academy Online Community
Lastly, you can never underestimate the importance of networking in your job search. A great Academy resource for that, new this year, is the Academy Online Community. Who was that great contact you met last month but lost the phone number and e-mail for? With the community, you don’t have to fret! Simply look him or her up and e-mail the person directly through the community.

It’s also a great way for people to find you! Make sure to fill out your persona on the community, so contacts know more about you. For help getting started, review the Community Quick Guide. And if you’re trying to connect or reconnect with fellow alumni, the community has a growing number of alumni groups, so be sure to log in, start networking and get connected today!

Your Job is Waiting for You in Chicago!
If finding a job is high on your priority list, then the Joint Meeting in Chicago is a MUST! Do your research in advance, then come with resume in hand, enjoy great food and meet and mingle with prospective employers and practices, network with alums and commiserate with fellow job seekers. What could be easier?

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About the author: Kimberly Day is a freelance health writer and medical editor and a frequent contributor to YO Info. She is the co-author of Hormone Revolution and ghost writer of Eat Papayas Naked.

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