In terms of the medical job search, the employment picture for healthcare professionals presents the classic “good news/bad news” scenario. The good news? Healthcare is one of the hottest industries in the United States. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts faster-than-average job growth through 2020 in disciplines ranging from physician and surgeon to medical assistants, to physical therapists and many more. The biggest gainer? Home health aides – projected to rise an amazing 70 percent as the Baby Boom generation continues into its senior years.
The bad news? The best jobs are not going to just fall into your lap. While demand is high, so is the competition as students, career-changers and others become attracted to healthcare positions. As in any employment field, you’re going to be selling yourself in a buyer’s market.
So can you navigate the choppy waters of a job search with your sanity intact? It's not always going to be a breeze, but you can create a work-life balance that helps you stay motivated and inspired while you build your career.
Here's what you can do...
- Volunteer. Talk about a win-win: volunteering benefits your community and your outlook. In fact, a study of older Americans released by the Corporation for National and Community Service tied volunteering to enhanced longevity, higher functional ability and lower rates of depression. You’ll boost your confidence and self-esteem by helping others – and if you can tie your volunteerism into your healthcare specialty, you stand to make some meaningful contacts in the community as well.
- Shadow. Job shadowing – a staple for high school students seeking career information – can help you as an adult jobseeker, too. If you are a student or recent graduate, you may inquire at local healthcare organizations about shadowing opportunities. Not only will you get a first-hand look at the work environment, you will meet others in your field who may help you network yourself.
- Build your network. A job hunt is not the time to act shy. Tell everyone you know about your plans, goals and efforts. The “six degrees of separation” theory is a valid one. Your golf buddy may not be in the healthcare field, but his sister may be. Your chiropractor may know an associate who is opening a new practice and is hiring. That friend-of-a-friend on Facebook may be a medical transcriptionist who works for a team of physicians.
- Go the “informational interview” route. Not every interview need be that make-or-break meeting tied to employment. The informational interview removes a lot of the stress and still gets you in front of key decision makers. The interest you show, and the questions you ask, will mark you as a thoughtful and committed individual – someone the company may well consider for future job opportunities.
- Get a coach. If you have some disposable income, you may find a career coach to be a sound investment. A coach specializing in the medical job search fields can help you pinpoint the job best for you, fine-tune your networking skills, craft a winning resume, prepare for an interview, and more. Prepare for success Your medical job search may take days, weeks, even months -- that's just the nature of the job market. But you have chosen a thriving industry to enter. With the right blend of determination and inspiration, you will find your path.