Getting a Job in Health Care: What to Do Before You Graduate

Health Care jobYou know you want to be involved in health care, and you know you want a job sometime in the future. But is there anything you should be doing right now, before you graduate?

Yes, in fact, there are many things you can do that will jumpstart your job search and make you more attractive to employers. Even though the health care job outlook is currently good and will continue to be good for skilled workers, students should do more than simply show up for class, do well and then graduate.

Pinning Down What You Want to Do and Why

Having more clarity about what you want to do and why will help you stay focused, and it can help you answer questions when people ask you about your future.

First of all, why do you want to work in health care? Do you love to help people? Are you attracted to the field because the job outlook is so good? These are perfectly good reasons to want to work in health care. Whatever your reasons, write them down and remember why you’re spending so much time studying and stressing. But if you only want a career because someone else told you that you should work in the medical field, you should reconsider your decision. Are you sure this is the right career for you?

Once you know why you want to commit to health care, think about the position you’re working toward. Find out as much as you can about this particular field. Read related publications and blogs, talk to people and try to get a feel for what the work will be like.

Skills Required for Jobs in Health Care

It’s true that each health career requires varying skills and personality traits, but there are some commonalities that most health care careers require.

  • Interpersonal and communications skills
  • Technical and math skills
  • Responsibility and maturity

If you think you might be lacking in any of these areas, brainstorm ways you can improve your skills. For example, if you aren’t the greatest communicator, take a public speaking class or read good books in this area.

It’s also great if you love to learn and try new things, because the medical field is always changing. Also think about the skills required for your particular area of work. If, for example, you’re interested in healthcare administration jobs, consider these necessary skills:

  • Leadership
  • Business savvy
  • Decision-making skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Analyzing data
  • Creating policy
  • Negotiation skills
  • Building relationships with government agencies and community organizations

Things to Do Before You Graduate

Start now and take these steps to get ready for your job search.

  • Build your network.  You also might want to start getting some letters of recommendation, which can definitely help you find a good job.
  • Create a LinkedIn page. Even if you don’t have a lot of experience or know a lot of people, it’s a great idea to go ahead and create a profile on this social network. When you do, make sure you fill out as much as you can and find any people you know who are already on the site.
  • Build your online brand. Create professional social media pages and even build your own webpage or blog. Make sure you keep it professional, and if you blog, write about a health-related subject. Also, start building contacts in your field.
  • Connect with your peers. Make friends with other people who want to work in similar careers. That way you can help each other.
  • Get published. Try to get published in your field. You might also try writing for blogs or even guest posting for free to get your name out there.
  •  Get business cards. Go ahead and get professional-looking business cards for when you meet people and want them to remember you.

You Can Get a Job in Health Care

Getting a job in health care is absolutely a possibility. Why don’t you start working on some of the steps mentioned above? Even doing a little planning can go a long way.

About the Author: Sarah Boyer recently obtained her master of health care administration. She already has a job managing a nursing home.

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