Monday, April 23, 2018
Business

How to get your first job in health care

When you're trying to find your first job as a health care professional, it may seem the cards are stacked against you. After all, employers prefer job candidates with health care experience, and you can't get that requisite experience unless someone hires you, right? It's a vicious circle, but you can escape it. With some patience and persistence, you should be able to work in your chosen health care profession. New health care professionals talked about how they landed their first jobs — and how you can, too.

Build your network

If your health care education included an internship or clinical rotations, you made valuable contacts that can probably help you in your job search. "Don't be afraid to talk to people and ask for help," said Christine McElroy, who lined up a job while still in graduate school for her master's of science degree and began working as a genetic counselor at Children's Hospital Oakland in June 2000. Your school adviser or internship supervisor can inform you of health care job openings, expand your pool of acquaintances and be a valuable reference.

Get involved

McElroy interviewed with just two employers before accepting her current position. She learned about the first opening from a former classmate who called to tell her about a position in her workplace. She learned about the other opening through the National Society of Genetic Counselors Listserv, which periodically posts job listings. While a student, she also attended the society's meetings, and she said the events were "hot spots" for meeting others in the field. "Don't be shy about networking," she said.

Volunteer

Besides networking through professional health care associations, you can demonstrate your dedication to potential health care employers by getting out into the field and volunteering. "There's no better way to find a job than to volunteer first," said occupational therapist Julie Henderson, director of restorative services at the Human Rights Initiative in Dallas. "You're looking for a job anyway, so why not go volunteer a couple of hours a day at different places within your field?"

Be innovative

As a student, Henderson worked with classmates to develop a new occupational therapy program geared toward the homeless population, and she knew she wanted to continue with community work. Although she took some part-time home-health contracts to pay the bills right after she graduated, she knew she didn't want to do that full time. "I didn't think I'd be effective as a health care professional if I didn't like my job," she said.

Holding out for the right fit was a good strategy for Henderson. She ended up taking the place of another occupational therapist at the Human Rights Initiative who remembered hearing about Henderson's program for the homeless. Henderson now works with political refugees and people who have been granted asylum by the U.S. government.

Henderson sees clients in the community most days. When she is in the office, she's surrounded by attorneys. "I'm the only medical professional in a law office. It's unique," she said. Henderson advised other health care professionals to consider such alternative paths. "Just find the nontraditional stuff and sell yourself," she said. "It's the easiest way to get a job. You're not fighting anyone else for a job, rather creating one."

Weigh your options

If you're lucky enough to have a health care degree currently in high demand, such as pharmacy or nursing, you're likely to receive multiple health care job offers. Be sure to weigh the decision carefully, and don't be blinded by big money, said Michael Dietrich, assistant professor for pharmacy practice at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy in Glendale, Ariz.

"My advice to students is to keep an open mind," Dietrich said. Unless the offer is significantly below market level for other such health care jobs, "I tell students that they need to remove money from the equation and figure out what is going to make them happy as a professional," he said.

To ensure you're choosing a good fit for your health care career, Dietrich suggests you ask yourself "Will I be happy here?" and "Can I do what I want in this system and succeed?" before "How much will I be making?" and "Will I be able to buy that car and house now?"

© 2013 — Monster Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster.com. To see other career-related articles, visit career-advice.monster.com. For recruitment articles, visit hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices.aspx.

Comments
Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

Work starting on JW Marriott, but Water Street Tampa expects to have 10 buildings under way within a year

TAMPA — Water Street Tampa marks the start of construction Tuesday on its first building, the posh JW Marriott hotel, but there’s a lot more to come.And soon.Within a year, developers said Monday, construction should be underway on 10 — 10! — of Wate...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sears in Clearwater’s Countryside Mall to close in mid-July

Sears in Clearwater’s Countryside Mall to close in mid-July

CLEARWATER — The Westfield Countryside Mall Sears will close in mid-July as part of Sears Holdings’ latest store cuts, bringing the number of shuttering Kmarts and Sears to nearly 200.The store’s liquidation sale will begin on Friday, according to Se...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

Foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa draws praise, criticism at penalty hearing

CLEARWATER — Homeowners from as far away as Texas and North Carolina crowded a Pinellas County courtroom Monday in support of embattled foreclosure defense attorney Mark Stopa. Facing possible disbarment for professional misconduct, Stopa also drew s...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

Tampa workers accuse General Dynamics unit of underpaying

TAMPA — The Tampa call center of a federal contractor is being accused of underpaying its employees. Workers for General Dynamics Information Technology filed wage theft complaints with the Department of Labor Monday, calling for an investigation int...
Updated: 7 hours ago
With lights from Toys R Us dimmed, sales plunge at Hasbro

With lights from Toys R Us dimmed, sales plunge at Hasbro

Associated PressNEW YORK — With its sales falling due to the liquidation of Toys R Us, Hasbro is looking for new places to sell Monopoly, My Little Pony and its other toys. Hasbro said Monday it will rely more on online sales, although it has also be...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sears’ biggest shareholder offers to buy Kenmore brand

Sears’ biggest shareholder offers to buy Kenmore brand

Associated PressNEW YORK — Sears’ biggest shareholder appears to be pushing for a breakup of the 125-year-old company that has survived two world wars and the Great Depression. Chairman and CEO Edward Lampert — whose hedge fund has forwarded millions...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Lucky’s Market hosting job fairs in St. Petersburg ahead of June opening

Lucky’s Market hosting job fairs in St. Petersburg ahead of June opening

ST. PETERSBURG — Job fairs to fill more than 100 jobs open at Tampa Bay’s first Lucky’s Market start this week, the organic grocer announced on Monday. The grocery store, located at 6765 22nd Ave. N, is hosting hiring fairs Monday through Friday unti...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

Swimmer Michael Phelps to headline Crystal Lagoon grand opening Saturday

WESLEY CHAPEL — Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps will splash down Saturday at the Crystal Lagoon in Wesley Chapel’s Epperson development.Phelps, a global ambassador for Crystal Lagoons, will appear at the grand opening of the first Crystal Lagoon...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

Big visitor calls at Port Tampa Bay

TAMPA — The 750-foot-long Ireland, one of the biggest cargo vessels ever to call at Port Tampa Bay, arrived Sunday.The Ireland is on its inaugural voyage, having left a shipyard in China for a stop in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula to pick up 64,865 shor...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa Bay gas prices rocket 17 cents over a week

Tampa Bay gas prices rocket 17 cents over a week

Floridians are paying plenty at the pump for a combination of spring gas prices and high oil prices this week. Gas jumped 11 cents per gallon over the week in Florida, averaging $2.74 per gallon Monday, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group. That’s t...
Updated: 12 hours ago