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Tips for Finding the Healthcare Job That’s Right for You

Healthcare Job

Whether you’re a student, finding your first job post-graduation, or looking to move to a new facility, it can be difficult to find the best match in employment (or degree). Healthcare is a broad industry that needs all manner of workers, from administrative staff to neurosurgeons. So how do you know what’s right for you?

Not every job in the healthcare field is a caregiver, so you may not need a medical degree. It’s important to figure out your strengths, and college is a great place to experiment. If you do not know what job you want to go for, you don’t have to declare your major. Instead, take a few semesters of GenEds and work with staff guidance counselors to find what suits you. Then you can take these skills and find prospective jobs in the industry. You may end up taking more semesters, but that’s ok. It’s better to be confident in your career choices than to hold yourself to an arbitrary traditional timeline.

When you are touring colleges and universities, you can also speak with academic advisors. They can identify different types of jobs in the healthcare industry and give you advice on majors and classes. If you know what path you want to take before you even interview, that’s great! Work with the advisors to find the best class schedule for you. If you don’t, it helps to know there are resources and paths available.

Getting By During School

Certain career paths take longer than others. You may need to take additional semesters or go for post-graduate degrees. You will need to be aware of your financial situation and any scholarships or grants that can help. Make sure you understand the terms of your loans when you get started— you may want to take a financial literacy course, either through your college or online certification courses like those at Udemy. They can help you plan your financials during school and help you create a plan to prepare for after graduation.

Many students have to work while they are in school, but this gets harder to balance as your path progresses. Work with your school advisors to create a balanced schedule, and keep your availability with any workplaces strict. Businesses in college towns are used to working around class schedules, so you’ll have that to your advantage. And you can take on more hours during school breaks. Again, don’t worry if you have to extend your timeline for getting your degree. Your financial situation matters, and you don’t want to end up a part of the current student loan crisis. Careful financial planning can help you prepare for a strong start in life post-graduation. You have to take the path that works best for you.

Entering the Healthcare Field

After you’ve chosen your career path and worked your way through college (and, likely, your post-graduate degree), it’s time to find the right job for you. This may mean trying out a few different workplaces. After all, a career is more than just what you do— it’s who you work with and where you are. With the current healthcare staffing issues, some job positions will be easier to find than others. But first, you have to find the openings.

The immediate thought for many employees is to polish up their resume and head to job listings. But then you find that a lot of your email is spam, and you have to hunt and search for the job you’re after. Typing ‘healthcare’ into a search form will net you everything from data entry to surgery. While it’s worth looking through listing sites, there are better steps to take.

Application and Interview Prep

First and foremost, you need to get ready to apply. Your school likely has career services with resume advice. Staffers in these departments are up to date on the latest resume requirements and can help you tailor your resume to get noticed. You also need to talk to your potential references: get their permission to use them as a reference and their business contact information. You should set up a LinkedIn profile for business connections and make sure your social media is up-to-date and either appropriate or locked down with privacy settings. Next, pick your interview outfit.

You may want to get more than one, or you may only have the budget for one. Interview clothing should be business appropriate but not overly fancy— you don’t need to break out the tux or that sparkly evening gown. Nice slacks and a dress shirt, a suit, or other dressed-to-impress outfits work well. Next, it’s time to tidy yourself up.

Make sure your haircut is tidy and that any facial hair is properly trimmed. You don’t have to shave your beard or start caking on more makeup than you’re comfortable with; you just need to be neat and presentable. Grad student chic, with its 5-o’clock shadows, wrinkled clothes, and messy buns, needs to stay at grad school.

Job Hunting

Your best bet for finding work quickly in your preferred segment of the healthcare industry is to work with a staffing agency that specializes in healthcare jobs. These agencies limit job postings to healthcare, so you can search for your specific job title or location. They also provide services like interview prep and CV review and resources like career fairs.

Healthcare staffing agencies have been around for decades, but they became even more popular due to the staffing crisis and the recent pandemic. Many medical facilities rely on them to find qualified healthcare personnel to fill positions across the nation— even some remote positions, such as telemedicine consultations for connected clinics.

Trial and Error in Healthcare Careers

You don’t want your resume to show a lack of loyalty, but your first job isn’t always your lifelong position. Be sure to keep your resume up to date and keep your ears open for any opportunities that you feel would align better with your goals in life. Be sure to spend a decent amount of time where you land, both for your resume and so you don’t leave anyone in a lurch. Sometimes a workplace just isn’t a good fit, or a job isn’t what you expected based on the description. That’s ok. You can stay in the position while you look for something better; you may be able to transfer departments within the same facility. Once you find your niche, know your next set of goals— is this a job you could work the rest of your life and be content with, or would you prefer to seek promotions and move higher?

Progressing In Your Healthcare Job

If you want to become an expert in your field, it’s worth broadening your horizons— not just by working in different positions and moving between states, but by becoming a voice in your industry. Start a blog or guest post in already-established spaces. Write or collaborate on a book, stay active in research, and continue education. If you find you’re lacking in ideas, you can reach out to a staffing agency for advice; they do more than help employees and employers connect! You may also find a more seasoned worker in your field to mentor you.

Always remember to remain professional in all situations, but focus on yourself. Your mental health, your financial situation, your (potential) family’s needs. Every decision you make primarily affects you. You want to be considerate of your coworkers, but not at the cost of your own well-being. So take care of yourself just as well as you care for your patients (or paperwork). Stay healthy, and step forward into the career of your dreams.