The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
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For many, there is nothing more exciting than the idea of finding the dream job in healthcare. This is a chance to work in a profession that is capable of saving lives and helping families. On top of that, the fact that you can make a good living while doing it all doesn’t hurt either. However, if you are still in school or you lack experience, it may seem like that ideal healthcare job is out of reach.
However, where there is a will, there is a way, and with dedication and a plan, you can start your career path sooner than you think. To help you out, we have provided some expert tips and advice for how to find jobs, apply to them, and ace the interview so you can get your foot in the door.
The first question you are probably asking yourself is how do you find healthcare jobs? A good source would be your university, and if you don’t have the proper schooling, you’ll need to do that first. For most nursing jobs, you’ll likely need at least a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). To become a doctor, you will need to achieve your undergraduate degree and then attend medical school for your specialty.
While you are in college, you will likely meet many people, both students and professionals, that you can turn to later on when it comes time to find a job. Reach out to them in person or try using LinkedIn to find out which healthcare companies or medical offices are hiring and see if you have any people in your circle who can act as a reference. You can also attend job fairs, join professional healthcare associations, or you can go directly to offices where you wish to work and ask if there are any open positions.
When you find potential jobs that interest you, it is important to carefully read the job description associated with the position and ensure that you are a good fit. Look at the minimum educational requirements and the daily tasks required and determine if you are a match. Remember that just because you want to work in the medical field, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be a physician. Most medical establishments also need finance professionals, coordinators, IT pros, and more. Take a look at those options as well for potential starting points.
Like many other careers, there exists the vicious circle that says you can’t get a job without experience but you can’t get experience without having a job. If you find yourself caught in this trap, worry not, as many entry-level positions can get you in the door. Once you grab one and prove yourself, you can meet the right people and eventually grow into the position that you really want. Keep in mind that many hospitals and healthcare companies offer internships that you can join that may be unpaid but can get you in the door.
You can even gain some footing with an entry-level nursing position. Nurses are the backbone of the health industry and they have their hand in many forms of care. If your goal is to get a job in a big hospital, you can gain the valuable experience necessary by first becoming a travel nurse or consider lending your talents to a nursing home. You may also volunteer at a hospital on an unpaid basis which will get you more experience and you can go from place to place until you find the perfect landing spot for you.
Of course, you don’t need to be a nurse or doctor to have a promising medical career. You could go the management or administration route instead, and to do so, you will need to understand more about how hospitals operate. One great way to do this is by finding a job in medical billing. As a coder or biller, you will be responsible for correctly charging patients by reviewing their medical records and insurance information and checking everything twice for accuracy. This is a good way to get started in the healthcare field and you can gain the skills you need with only an undergraduate degree.
Once you find a position that you believe is a match, you will need to apply, submit a resume, and pass the interview. The resume you submit should include your schooling, professional affiliations, and information about any applicable licenses or certifications. If you don’t yet have any professional experience to list, you can instead detail your volunteer work or academic projects relevant to the job.
It is a smart idea to pair your resume with a cover letter explaining why you want the job and what you can offer if hired. Skip the repetitive form letter and instead cater your letter directly to the company to which you are applying and mention how you can help that particular establishment thrive. Just like attention to detail is essential in every facet of the healthcare industry, you will want to ensure that your submission materials are also flawless. Once you apply, give it some time to get a response. If you don’t hear back within a week or two, consider calling to check the status.
If you are granted an interview, you will want to take the time to practice and have an answer ready for any question they throw at you. It is always a smart idea to research online for the toughest or most common interview questions and think about the best answers from your past experience. In the healthcare field, questions may include why you want to work in medical care, how do you stay up to trends in the industry, and what you do to handle stressful situations. Think about all these scenarios and come up with thoughtful answers.
Just about any career within the healthcare field will be a rewarding experience with the potential to save lives or support those that do. Take the time to properly prepare, and you could have the dream job sooner than you think.
About the Author
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Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of topics but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity and marketing strategies. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.