Your Career: When Longevity Is an Obstacle to the Job Search

 A laid off CMO is concerned about his lack of employment diversity. He should concentrate on his positive qualities.

Q I am the chief medical officer of a midsize health care organization. I’ve been with the organization for more than 25 years, moving up through the ranks. Recently, I was told that my organization has decided to “move in a different direction,” and that my services no longer would be needed. Since I have been with the same organization for so long, I am finding the job search process quite difficult, based upon my lack of employment diversity. Any recommendations for how I can shift the dialogue?

A Your situation is not unique. Many physicians find themselves having spent a significant portion of their careers inside one institution, only to find themselves outplaced eventually. As the landscape of health care continues to change, remaining with one employer for an extended period of time — particularly in a leadership role — can be seen as an obstacle when you decide to change organizations.


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To begin the next phase of your career, try to place yourself in the shoes of a potential employer, so you can anticipate the concerns he or she may have. Shifting the narrative from your lack of employment diversity to your commitment to the organization and to your self-initiated, continuous professional development based upon your desire to stay abreast of best practices should drive the conversation and better frame your résumé.

I encourage you to focus on the positive aspects of your career, such as organizational loyalty and your mastery of the earlier positions that supported your rise to the CMO level. Also important will be your ability to communicate your desire for a new challenge and your open-mindedness.

If you can clearly articulate your successes within your role as CMO on your résumé, I believe prospective employers will see your potential value.

Topics: Career Planning Journal

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