Ready to Launch Your Healthcare Job Search? Do This First.
Whether you’re seeking your ideal job as a physician, nurse, advanced practice provider or allied health professional, you’ll have greater success if you take time to prepare rather than diving head-first into the search and application process. It’s tempting to jump right in, but if you do, you may find your search quickly becomes disorganized, overwhelming or worse – even futile. Here’s an effective strategy to employ BEFORE you fall down that job search rabbit hole. Happy hunting!
- Define Your Career and Life Goals – Consider your long-term aspirations. Where do you see yourself in 5, 10 and 20 years? Take time to map out your career objectives. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to climb the leadership ladder, conduct ground-breaking research in your field, or serve particular patient populations? Do you want to explore the world, raise a family or retire early? What career steps help you reach these milestones?
- List Your Immediate Wants and Needs – Next, write down what you want and need from your next position. Do you want to stay close to home or travel to different locations? Do you need to work part-time or full-time? Do you have a specific area of interest or a preferred work setting? What salary and benefits do you require? What kind of organizational culture are you seeking? Do you want a position with professional development opportunities, practice autonomy or a collaborative care team model?
- Refine Your Online Presence – Now it’s time to research, evaluate and refine your identity online. Search yourself via the top internet search engines and dig into the results. Don’t forget to check images that arise. Set your social media accounts to private, or consider closing them altogether. If you do choose to keep certain accounts public, ensure they send a refined, professional message. For example, you may like to share thought leadership articles or participate in medical and professional online discussions. Just make sure all posts are appropriate.
- Update Your LinkedIn Network and Profile – Use professional organizations like LinkedIn to expand your connections with healthcare professionals you know and admire. Don’t forget to review your LinkedIn profile to ensure all information is updated and current. Consider getting a professional headshot and banner to make your profile shine.
- Join Professional Organizations – If you’re not already a member of professional organizations for your vocation and specialty, join! These memberships look impressive on your resume and will provide excellent networking opportunities. Plus, if you attend their events, you may find new doors opening for your career.
- Get Your Creds in Order – Gather all documentation you’ll need for the vetting and credentialing processes. Get your licenses and any certifications ready. If you plan to travel, find out where your license will allow you to practice. Physicians can consult the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, and nursing professionals can visit the Nurse Licensure Compact.
- Gather Your References – Reach out to references who can vouch for your education, experience and expertise. You’ll want recommendations from professionals who can show they know you well. If you’re early on in your career, get creative. Reach out to mentors, professors, colleagues and peers.
- Optimize Your CV and Resume – Create a resume and CV that will be a living document you’ll update throughout your career. Be ready to tailor your CV and resume to fit different job opportunities. Ensure that they’re free of errors and that you’ve explained any gaps in employment. If you’re having trouble creating a stand-out resume, consider hiring a professional or enlisting the help of a friend.
- Write a Winning Cover Letter – Craft a cover letter that you can edit for various positions. Be sure to tweak the letter's content as you apply for different jobs. Again, you’ll want to stand out from the pack here, so get help if needed. Don’t forget to have someone proofread both your CV and cover letter before sending them!
- Get into the Interview Mindset – Start thinking about how you’ll interview for jobs. If you’re new to interviewing for healthcare positions (or a seasoned provider who's just a bit rusty), search for interview tips online, read books on best practices or ask friends or family to mock interview you. Create a list of predicted questions and generate answers in advance. You’ll be glad you did!
- Consider Your Value as a Healthcare Provider – Learn to objectively measure your own value and identify what you can bring to each organization. This will prove helpful when it’s time to negotiate salary. For example, do you bring experience in clinical research, are you tech-savvy, or do you have leadership skills? Are you willing to work nights and weekends? Are you self-directed, a problem solver or a team player? What are your differentiators?
- Do Your Research – Take a deep dive into each organization you’re interested in applying with. Read about their mission statement, values and culture. Research their leading providers (especially in your field of interest). Look at their press releases, accolades and partnerships and find out what clinical research they’re engaged in.
- Develop Your Job Search Strategy – Will you visit career fairs, follow job boards or reach out directly to organizations? Perhaps you’ll search through job listings in print and online medical journals or network at professional meetings. Will you reach out to your network or rely on your college career center?
- Build a Relationship with a Recruiter – If you’d like to save time and skip the stress of conducting a job search on your own, connect with a healthcare recruiter. There are different types of recruiters. There are some recruiters you can hire and pay to find you a job, but most work on behalf of the hiring organizations. That means you can have an expert recruiter on your team at no cost to you. This is when all the preparation you’ve made will really pay off. Because you’ll have completed the steps above, you’ll be ready to discuss your wants and needs with your recruiter, easily get them your CV, references, credentials and salary requirements, and be ready for an interview when ideal opportunities arise!
Ready to meet with a recruiter now? Connect with a Cross Country Search consultant.