Starting Your Job Search

This section is a guide to what you can do to start your job search:

  • Asking for a reference.
  • Sample cover letter.
  • Sample interview questions.


Asking for a Reference

One of the first things you’ll need to do in your job search is to ask your former professors, employers, or colleagues if they would serve as a reference for you.

Here is a sample request letter:

Your name
Address (street, city, province, postal code)
Telephone or mobile phone number, with area code
Email address (provide one that you will use professionally; avoid ones with nicknames as first impressions are important)

Name of potential reference
Their full title

Dear Dr. Full Name (only address them by their first name if you know them personally)

State what you are planning to do (“I am in the process of relocating to British Columbia”) and what kind of position you are looking for, such as family practice or specialty.

Ask them if they would serve as a reference who can attest to your competencies, qualifications, skills and abilities. Let them know that you will tell them when you have given out their name and contact information so they will know to expect a call. Ask them if they would be willing to provide a reference for you.

You could also ask them for advice and suggestions on your job search, or if they know of any vacancies that you would be qualified for.

Thank them for their assistance.


Your Full Name, Degrees/Certifications (e.g. MBBS, FRCPC)

Sample Cover Letter

A cover letter lets the employer know what position you are applying for, why they should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up. Here is a sample template:

Your name
Address (street, city, province, postal code)
Telephone or mobile phone number, with area code
Email address

Name of potential employer
Their full title

Dear Dr./Mr./Ms. Full Name,

The first paragraph should include information on why you are writing. Mention the position that you are applying for and include the vacancy or job number. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one. Be clear and concise regarding your request.

The next section should describe why they should consider you for the position. Convince them that they should grant you an interview for the vacancy that you referred to in the first paragraph. Make strong connections between your abilities and the requirements of the job.

Mention specifically how your skills and experience match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it. Try to support each statement that you make with an example. Use several shorter paragraphs or bullet points when listing examples, rather than one large block of text.

Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow up and indicate when. (One week is typical. You can reduce the time between sending out your CV and follow up if you fax or email your CV and cover letter.)


Your Full Name, Degrees/Certifications (e.g. MBBS, FRCPC)

Sample Interview Questions

During an interview, ask as many questions as possible so that you have a clear understanding of what the position entails.

Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Why is this position available?
  • What is the approximate number of years out of residency for each physician in the group?
  • To what extent are the other doctors involved in non-clinical medical activities such as research or associations?
  • How many patients does a doctor usually see in a clinic day?
  • What procedures are performed in the clinic and who performs them?
  • What is the patient mix (e.g. geriatric, adults, Workers Compensation Board)?
  • What are the referral patterns? What is the availability of specialists?
  • How are the emergency rooms covered?
  • How is coverage managed for weekdays, weekends, holidays, vacation, and continuing medical education?
  • What is the staff-to-physician ratio? What is the rate of turnover among the employees?
  • Who makes the decisions about employee hiring or firing?
  • How are chart notes recorded: handwritten, dictated, or electronic medical records?
  • Is there a computer system for scheduling, billing and accounting?
  • What is the overhead (operating) rate?
  • How old is the building and the major equipment? How is it financed?
  • How often are fee schedules or on-call reviewed?
  • What is the length of stay for each physician?
  • Why did the last physician leave?