How to pick up locum shifts in a competitive market

RMO Locum doctor

The locum job market in 2024 has presented challenges, particularly for Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) in Australia. Economic fluctuations and seasonal changes have tightened opportunities, reducing the number and variety of available shifts. However, recent trends suggest a gradual opening in the market, promising better prospects ahead.

Securing locum shifts in a competitive market requires strategic planning, flexibility, and proactive engagement with the right resources. Here's a comprehensive guide on enhancing your chances of picking up locum shifts, even when the competition is stiff.

Several factors contribute to a tight locum market:

  • Economic conditions: Economic downturns can lead to budget cuts in healthcare, reducing the number of locum positions.
  • Seasonal variations: Demand for locum services can dip at certain times of the year, like the end of financial years or holiday seasons.
  • Increased competition: With more healthcare professionals turning to locuming for flexibility, the competition for available spots can intensify.

Strategies to enhance your chances

1. Stay Informed about market trends

Understanding market trends and which specialties and locations are in demand can help you align your career accordingly. Stay informed through industry news, reports, and communication with professionals in the field.

2. Proactive communication with agencies

Engage actively with your locum agency. Notify them of your availability and eagerness to pick up shifts.

As Australasia's largest medical recruitment agency, Medrecruit will simplify the job search process, offering a free career-management service for doctors. We have thousands of jobs on the books including those that haven't yet reached the market.

3. Credential readiness

Ensure all your credentials are up-to-date and readily accessible. In a competitive market, agencies prioritise candidates whose documents are complete and ready to submit. This efficiency is important, as top vacancies often fill within an hour of listing. Include a professional photo and tailor your CV specifically for locum roles. The optimal locum CV emphasizes flexibility, a broad skill set, and immediate availability. Contact us for a CV review to ensure yours stands out.

Boost your CV game! Make a lasting impression with our editable doctor CV template.
Download now

4. Be flexible with locations and shifts

Flexibility is a significant asset in locuming. Be open to assignments in less popular locations or during less desirable shifts. Rural or remote areas often struggle more to find medical staff and thus may offer more opportunities. Likewise, being willing to work nights, weekends, or holidays can make you a more attractive candidate to employers who need to fill these challenging slots.

5. Stay proactively engaged

Keep in regular contact with your locum agency. Let them know your availability and any changes in your schedule, and actively inquire about new opportunities. Being proactive keeps you on the radar of recruitment consultants and shows your eagerness and dedication to picking up shifts.

6. Leverage technology

Utilise job alert features on medical job boards and locum agency websites. Customise alerts to notify you immediately of opportunities that match your criteria. Quick applications are often crucial in a competitive market, and technology can give you an edge by ensuring you're one of the first to respond.

7. Enhance your qualifications

Consider expanding your qualifications or certifications to make yourself eligible for a broader range of roles. For instance, acquiring skills in a high-demand specialty or completing a course in emergency medicine can open up new opportunities and make you more appealing to employers.

8. Cultivate an excellent professional reputation

A good reputation travels fast in the medical community. Be professional, punctual, and competent in all your locum roles. Positive feedback from one facility can lead to recommendations to others, helping you secure more positions purely through word of mouth.

Picking up locum shifts in a competitive market is challenging but possible. By strategically positioning yourself through networking, flexibility, and proactive engagement, you can increase your chances of finding rewarding locum work. Remember, each shift is not just a job but an opportunity to grow your skills, expand your professional network, and significantly impact where it's most needed.

Jordy Black
24 June 2024Article by Jordy BlackMedrecruit Editor