Article Date: 3/1/2006

News From the AOSA
The Physics of Launching a Career

Want to avoid "new graduate inertia?" Just add energy.


WHEN OPTOMETRY STUDENTS think about their exhausting but familiar student life nearing completion, they often feel anxious — especially if they don't have a job lined up. Faced with the monumental decision of where to live and work and a strong desire to "get it right" from the start, many students freeze up and suffer from "new graduate inertia."

If this sounds familiar, don't worry! Follow this step-by-step career-building process to get the energy you need to overcome inertia.

Searching Full-force

Overcome your inertia by organizing your job search. These steps will start you moving in the right direction:

1. Pick a place. Start by deciding in which state, city and community you want to live. If you want to start a private practice, you need to examine the population data available on the Internet and through local Chambers of Commerce. Solid numbers will tell you if a certain community will support your aspirations.

2. Check us out. The Optometry Career Center on the American Optometric Association Web site helps job seekers and employers fulfill their needs. You can search the classified ads or post a CV on the Web site. O.D.s who have practices for sale, associate opportunities, temporary or fill-in work, or other positions can review your CV and contact you if they think you're a good match.

3. Contact the state association. As the hub for hundreds of optometrists, state associations can help you network with established O.D.s. Staff members are privy to the grapevine, and they might direct you toward a good starting place.

4. Ask industry reps. Pharmaceutical and frame company reps visit many different offices, and they often know which of their customers is hiring. They also have a very good feel for the offices in their territory, including general atmosphere, staff relations and growth. And most reps are eager to aid in your search because they want to establish a relationship with you.

5. Go to a local optometry zone meeting. Your attendance shows you're interested in the issues that affect your profession and will help you gain valuable insight into the personalities of
potential employers and partners. When you meet local optometrists, you're marketing yourself and putting a face on the name they may see on your CV.

6. Do the legwork. Write letters, make phone calls and knock on doors. Don't be afraid to blanket an entire area with introductory letters and CVs announcing your availability. Then follow up with phone calls. Ask to visit the office so you can discuss your goals and potential as an associate. Most O.D.s are very willing to meet enthusiastic graduates, and they'll often point you in the right direction if they're not hiring.

High-velocity Careers

Four demanding years of optometry school do a good job of preparing you to step into the professional community. Be confident. As you try to find your place in this world, self-assurance can be the difference between "new graduate inertia" and a high-velocity career.

Optometric Management, Issue: March 2006