Purpose/objective(s): To determine the timeline used by postgraduate year (PGY)-5 radiation oncology residents during the job application process and the factors most important to them when deciding on a first job.
Methods and materials: In 2012 and 2013, the Association of Residents in Radiation Oncology conducted a nationwide electronic survey of PGY-5 radiation oncology residents in the United States during the final 2 months of their training. Descriptive statistics are reported. In addition, subgroup analysis was performed.
Results: Surveys were completed by 180 of 314 residents contacted. The median time to start networking for the purpose of employment was January PGY-4; to start contacting practices, complete and upload a curriculum vitae to a job search website, and use the American Society of Radiation Oncology Career Center was June PGY-4; to obtain letters of recommendation was July PGY-5; to start interviewing was August PGY-5; to finish interviewing was December PGY-5; and to accept a contract was January PGY-5. Those applying for a community position began interviewing at an earlier average time than did those applying for an academic position (P=.04). The most important factors to residents when they evaluated job offers included (in order from most to least important) a collegial environment, geographic location, emphasis on best patient care, quality of support staff and facility, and multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Factors that were rated significantly different between subgroups based on the type of position applied for included adequate mentoring, dedicated research time, access to clinical trials, amount of time it takes to become a partner, geographic location, size of group, starting salary, and amount of vacation and days off.
Conclusions: The residents' perspective on the job application process over 2 years is documented to provide a resource for current and future residents and employers to use.
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