According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 1.8 million openings in the healthcare sector are projected each year. Healthcare professionals enjoy attractive salaries and benefits, job stability, opportunities for growth, and high job satisfaction that comes from making a difference in others’ lives.
However, despite a large number of job openings, there is also an increasing competition for the best positions out there. If you struggle to land your first job after graduation or finding a new role takes longer than you expected, use the tips below to energize your job search.
Tips to navigate a healthcare job market successfully
Update your resume
A successful job search starts with updating your resume, or writing a new one if your career goals have changed. Review your resume critically and check if it fully reflects your skills and expertise, and explains why you are a standout candidate. A good resume should also showcase some accomplishments, proving your professionalism and dedication through figures and percentages.
Many healthcare workers are too busy to write and rewrite their resumes. In this case, medical resume writers can be of great help. Professionals who offer medical resume services understand how exactly healthcare organizations hire personnel and what matters most for the hiring managers. Plus, a resume expert can effectively describe your skills, expertise and achievements, making you more employable.
Write a catchy cover letter
According to fresh data, 83% of hiring managers consider cover letters when making hiring decisions. Yet, since the time they spend reviewing each letter is limited, it has to be concise and personalized to the employer’s needs. Hiring professionals can spot a generic letter at a glance, and a letter that lacks tailoring won’t help you win an interview.
In your letter, address the hiring manager by name (you can find their name on LinkedIn). Start your letter with a salutation, a brief explanation of why you’re good for a job and the name of your reference, if any. Write 3-4 short paragraphs, focusing on projects you completed, and measurable results you achieved, and answer the question of why you’re a great fit for the role. Proofread the text before sending, as poor writing skills can spoil the impression.
Take the fastest-growing careers into account
If you are yet to choose your healthcare specialization, focus on the fastest-growing careers in the field. Thus, you’ll have more job openings to choose from, more opportunities for professional development, and better salary prospects.
Among the fastest-growing healthcare jobs are:
- Personal care aide ($35K per year)
- Physical therapy assistant ($43K per year)
- Physician assistant ($91K per year)
- Dental hygienist ($96K per year)
- Speech language pathologist ($117K per year)
The list of the fastest-growing professions includes those requiring only a high school diploma or short-term training, and those demanding a relevant Master’s degree. So, no matter your education, you can find career options that suit you.
Evaluate the employers’ expectations
To apply for jobs successfully, you first need to clearly understand what your prospective employers look for. Take a look at several job postings you find interesting, and pay attention to the skills and qualifications that clinics and hospitals look for. At this point, you might realize that you need additional training to increase your chances of employment.
Also, be sure to apply only if you meet the qualifications minimum. If you do not have the required education or years of experience in the clinical setting, it’s best not to apply. Your resume will get tossed anyway (if you do not meet 100% of the preferred qualifications, you can apply). You should target your resume for each opening. Sure, it’s time-consuming, but personalized resumes have higher interview chances.
Consider a professional certification
Relevant healthcare certifications show your commitment to professional development and prove the value you can add to the organization if hired. If you are getting little interview calls, consider completing one or several certifications that are valued in your area.
Here are some examples of reputable healthcare certifications to consider:
- Medical Coding Specialist (CCS-P)
- Certified EKG Technician (CET)
- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA), etc.
A relevant professional certification not only expands your knowledge and proves your skills, but also helps you negotiate a higher salary. Be sure to list relevant licenses, certifications, and other training early on your resume to instantly show that you are qualified.
Keep your options open
When looking for healthcare jobs, don’t limit yourself to full-time, office-based positions. Temporary or contract work can also be a valuable source of experience and a good income. If you find the job challenging and are comfortable with the salary and working conditions, don’t get discouraged that it’s only a few months or a year. Instead, see it as an opportunity to keep your skills fresh, learn something new, and expand your professional network. Moreover, many contract employees are offered full-time positions if they show excellent performance.
With a growing telehealth market, physicians, nurse practitioners, patient care coordinators, and other healthcare employees can work remotely. If you’ve worked in a doctor’s office or a hospital before, it takes time to accommodate to a new style of work, but eventually you’ll have more flexibility while still helping people.
Use networking and social media
According to the statistics, over 70% of jobs are never posted and filled through networking. So, when it comes to landing your next healthcare role, your friends, former coworkers, and alumni are your real assets. Reach out to everyone and let them know that you are looking for a job so they can recommend you. Attend conferences, job fairs, and other events where you can meet new people and potential employers.
Tap the potential of social media for networking and job-hunting. Join professional groups and communities, and stay active. Use the power of LinkedIn: expand your network, polish your profile, and update your profile settings so that recruiters could find you. If you are not employed now, you can create a post to inform everyone that you’re looking for a job. Be visible, and chances are that an interested recruiter will find you.
Additionally, consider applying to and submitting your resumes to reputable healthcare recruitment agencies that specialize in your field. For instance, if you’re a physician assistant, actively search for a physician assistant recruiter who can leverage their industry expertise to help you land the job you want.
Take advantage of niche websites and resources
Job boards are the least efficient way to get hired. Recruiters receive hundreds (if not thousands) of responses, most of which are highly irrelevant. To look for medical positions, use specialized websites, such as HealtheCareers, Nurse.com, and MedJobCafe. Alternatively, apply through the website of a hospital or a clinic, or find their hiring manager on LinkedIn. If you have target healthcare organizations that you’d like to work for, subscribe to their updates on social media so that you could find out about recently posted jobs.
The healthcare industry offers countless professional opportunities for both entry-level and experienced candidates. By leveraging the strategies listed above, you will speed up your job search process and position yourself as a great candidate.
If you think that your resume undersells you, or you get surprisingly few interview calls, consider contacting a professional resume writer. An expert can strengthen your old resume or create a new one for you, showing off your best achievements and strengths for the role.