Medical jobs are all different and unique. They require different educational paths and certifications, but there are some similar steps one can do to increase their chances of landing one of the medical jobs they really want, whether they're a tech or a physician.
There are a ton of different medical jobs
out there. Each one needs a different level of education, certification, and licenses
, but there are common tactics that help medical professionals land jobs. First, you need to decide if the medical field is right for you. It takes a ton of time and determination to make it on any level in the healthcare industry.
Having a successful healthcare career and landing that medical job you want can take some time, but with the tips and steps we’ve outlined here you can ensure that you’re doing everything you can to speed up the process and land your dream job soon.
Depending on what you want to become, it could take anywhere from two years to 12+ years to work in the medical industry. While doctors
take many years of education and training, radiology techs, however, can spend substantially less time training. They both work very hard and both must want to help people and spend time continuously learning their craft. But there are similar tactics they both can use to land their prospective job.
We have compiled a list of the best things you can do when looking for a job
. Hopefully, if you follow our steps, you can land one of the medical jobs
you really want.
Medical Jobs Require the Best People
There isn't a lot of room for error in medical jobs. There are lives in your hands and people depend on you, so the field demands a high level of focus and training. Dealing with all of that focus and burden of making sure that you’re doing everything you can to help out each patient can also be quite stressful.
You must be ready and willing to handle that stress, because it ultimately pays off in the long run when you feel the satisfaction of helping someone get better and live a healthy life. There aren’t many careers that offer an opportunity to truly impact others in such a positive way, so it is more than worth it.
Healthcare workers spend most of their time learning and working, so it's a job one doesn't do just for the money. As we mentioned above, healthcare workers and hospital workers do it for the satisfaction of helping others live a healthy life. Those long sleepless nights you are working extra hours or dealing with a stressful patient ultimately pay off in the end when you get to see them return to their normal life as a healthy individual.
With that being said, healthcare facilities only hire the best people and the professionals that can work autonomously as part of a team — meaning they want independent people who can also be a great asset to the team.
These steps we’ve outlined will help you stand out as a great asset to the team, and also aid you in your job search efforts for the medical jobs you want to land.
You need to decide early what you want to do and run full pace at it until you realize your goal. This means figuring out what you want to do before you go into school, so that you can maximize your efforts and put all of your time into it. The last thing you want to do is to dedicate two to three years in another major or minor, only to realize that you’re not very passionate about the career you initially wanted to pursue.
When you have to go back and retake classes that you should have already had as General Education requirements, you’re only making it harder on yourself and lengthening the time it takes to graduate and eventually begin your medical career.
The best way to ensure that you succeed and do well in school is to make sure that you know what you want to do from the start. When you know what you want to do from the start, you can map out the classes you want to take and the semesters in which you want to take them. You can choose to do this yourself, but it’s always recommended that you get an academic advisor who can help guide you along the path and offer recommendations based on your degree and career goals. Those academic advisor connections will also help you down the road when you’re looking for recommendations or references that are useful when attempting to secure the medical jobs you want.
Early in school, you need to show skill in math and science because those courses make up any medical student's studies. The medical industry demands its candidates be self-motivated, driven, focused people who know what they want and do whatever it takes to get it.
Schooling usually takes many years, but in some instances only a couple, so you need to prepare yourself for the duration and do everything you can to build upon your studies and keep the faith and the focus that is required to achieve greatness at the start of your medical career.
To have any chance at a good medical school or of landing a good job, you need a high GPA and great test scores. Research has shown that those individuals who achieve good grades in school find better employment opportunities
and earn more over the course of their career. That basically means you will be partying way less than any of your non-medical friends and that you will spend most of your time studying and learning. This will remain the case basically throughout medical school and the rest of your life — so you better love what you do.
Volunteering is a great way to show future employers that you care about your community and that you spent your free time doing something substantial. It's great as a buffer for your resume as well, especially if you don't have a lot of work experience — because you spend all of your time studying and volunteering. Volunteering will prepare you for all the free work you will have to offer during your residency if you become a doctor — only kidding, kind of.
Volunteering is a great way to also earn some experience that you can demonstrate on your resume. For instance, you might not have a lot of professional healthcare experience that you have earned while you’re working hard in the library studying to pass your exams, and ace those classes that are extremely important in your medical career.
You can also demonstrate that you have a passion for helping others through your volunteer experience, it doesn’t have to be exclusive to the healthcare industry.
If you find that you’re passionate about helping others in charities that aren’t related to the healthcare industry, you’re still demonstrating that you’re passionate about helping others in any role that you can.
When you indicate that you’re passionate about helping others in any capacity that you can; that experience helps to separate yourself from those candidates who have professional experience, but it doesn’t relate to the medical career of choice they appear inexperienced.
In addition, volunteering will definitely give you a way to practice some of your basic skills and develop your love for people and service skills. Plus, it will get you out into the community where you can make contacts and learn about opportunities in your area. It's a great way to meet people, build your resume, and gain valuable skills.
You never know if you find a potential connection or networking opportunity from your volunteer activities.
If you're trying to find volunteering opportunities, VolunteerMatch
is one of the best sites to utilize when looking for local volunteer activities or opportunities in your local area.
3. Build A Great Reference List
It's important to have people who will go to bat for you. If you have a few people who can vouch for your character and work ethic, it can definitely help you land a hard-to-get job.
A great reference list can be the difference between landing a job and wishing you had spent more time trying to make connections when you could.
Building a reference list is hard sometimes, especially if you don't get out in the community, work, or make good with your professors (or bosses if you already work). That's why you need to make friends with people who could help you professionally.
Get to know volunteer leaders, managers, owners, professors, and even your own family physician. All these people can vouch for your personal character and you can use the professional ones to vouch for your work ethic.
Basically, it's all about your network and connections because we usually get jobs through people we know and people who give us references. Connections are key in any field and with any job, so make sure you have a good list to help you in your professional journey.
We have put together the most comprehensive networking guide
for you to use in any healthcare job or medical job. If you implement the tips and tricks in our Networking Career Guide
, then you will be able to build a great reference list that you can then use in your medical job search.
4. Study Early to Ace Your Tests
As we mentioned earlier, one of the best things that you can do to help ensure that you do well in your classes to get your medical career started off on the right foot. The best way to make sure that you’ve started on the right foot is to begin studying early to ace your exams and tests.
If you're still in school or advancing your career, you need to ace every test you take. The best way to do this is to study early and fiercely
. If you’ve chosen a medical profession that requires an extensive exam to achieve certification or licensure, then you definitely need to begin studying early to ace your tests.
Those licensing and certification exams are extensive and ask that each medical professional has a comprehensive understanding of the medical topics discussed, care techniques, anatomy, and more, so you’ll definitely want to get started early when you begin studying.
It's usually best if you need to take the MCATs or some other entrance exam, that you start preparing a year before taking it. You need to make sure you cover every topic in detail and know everything you can. Prepare for the worst situations and know your content. If you're ready, you can overcome anything the testing environment throws at you.
The healthcare industry is too extensive and too broad for you to believe that you can start studying at the last minute and hope to make a passing grade. You have to start early, and continue to study over a long duration of time to ensure that you remember it when the time comes.
Procrastination can leave your career dead in the water. If you wait until the last second to study, you probably won't be prepared enough to get the scores you need to get into medical school or to land a good job down the road when they look at your test scores.
Like we said above, people want the best of the best, so even though the score might be enough to let you skate by, it might not be good enough for great jobs. If you're advancing your career, start studying the moment you know you want to go further in your field and work your butt off. This field is all about work ethic and knowledge, so you must be strong in both areas.
If you’re looking to advance your career later on and achieve those more advanced medical jobs you want, then you’ll be thankful you worked hard and studied for a longer period of time as those individuals reviewing your education and exam scores will be impressed by the high scores you’ve earned.
The last thing that you want to happen is to begin reviewing options for you to go back to school or invest in a leadership training program that interests you to help you land the medical job you want, only to find out that you can’t because you’re automatically disqualified because of the poor grades you earned in school on the tests that matter.
Save yourself some heartache and invest the time it takes to make the good grades that you’re capable of because it will definitely pay off in the long run.
5. Craft a Specific Cover Letter for Every Job
After all the hard work learning and studying, and you're ready to enter the job market, you need a great cover letter
to make a great first impression with your prospective employer.
One of the problems within the healthcare industry that many medical job seekers or healthcare job seekers find is that they tend to use the same cover letter for every job thinking that it will ultimately save them some time and they can apply to more jobs.
The problem with this is that when those people write the same cover letter for every job, they ultimately hurt their chances of landing the job. Think of a cover letter as your way of speaking to your employer about your skills, experience, and who you are. You need to tell them why you can help them out while introducing yourself and showing your personality.
When you use the same cover letter for every job that you apply to, you come across as robotic and inauthentic. Not only will you come off as inauthentic or robotic, but you will also struggle to express your personality or give them a little insight into how you are as a professional.
Don't be robotic with your letter. Instead, you want to find and achieve a healthy balance where you remain professional with hints of your personality. Employers want to hear from real people about what they do, their experience, and how their skills can help you provide more value to the organization, healthcare facility, hospital, or company.
A tailored cover letter can help you separate yourself from those candidates who are struggling to stand out from the crowd.
Cover letters are one of the most important tools for your job search — it is just as important, if not more, than a resume in some instances.
If you don't have a ton of content or jobs to put on your resume, your cover letter is the looking-glass into who you are and what you've done. A resume usually just a lsit of skills and jobs, but your cover letter talks about what you've learned, how you've implemented your skills, and who you are. And make sure to personalize it for all the medical jobs you apply to.
In addition, your cover letter is useful for explaining why you should stand out based on your previous experience and background.
If you don’t have a lot of experience in the healthcare industry or a specific medical field or specialty, then you can also use your cover letter as an opportunity to detail why you should be considered over some of those other candidates that have the experience already. In addition, you can mention why your skills and experience from other opportunities would be useful in your new role.
Your cover letter is an extremely useful tool to help you separate yourself from those other candidates and you don’t need to have prior medical experience or healthcare industry experience to land the medical jobs you want.
We have put together the most comprehensive Cover Letter guide
for you to review. Take the time to look at our Cover Letter Career Guide
for the best tips and tricks on how to format your cover letter, and use it to your advantage when you’re trying to land medical jobs you want.
Another great step to take when you’re attempting to land the medical job you want is to do your research. As we’ve already mentioned, you should be comfortable doing a little bit of homework, and that doesn’t stop when you graduate college or university.One great way to separate yourself from some of the other job candidates is to stay on top of some of the current news and trends in the healthcare industry.
For instance, you might want to do a little bit of research or stay in tune with some of the recent news, company expansions, hospital renovations, new developments, and more. When you do this, you can demonstrate that your passion for the healthcare industry isn’t just limited to when you’re working, it also extends beyond that and you truly care about the future of the industry.
In addition, doing research on the hospital or healthcare facility that you plan on interviewing with will separate yourself from the other candidates who didn’t bother looking up some of the recent undertakings or endeavors.
For instance, if the hospital or healthcare facility that you are interviewing with has recently made a big push on some of the health initiatives in the local area, or have made a commitment to improving employee wellness, then you can mention those initiatives in your interview. When you do your research and demonstrate that in your interview, you stand out as a candidate who is passionate about working in that particular location, you’re not just looking for a job anywhere.
7. Assess Your Skills
One step you want to take when you’re evaluating some of the medical jobs you should consider is to basically perform an audit on your skills and experience. This will help you narrow down some of the jobs that you should apply to. You don’t want to set up yourself for disappointment by applying for a bunch of jobs that you’re not qualified for.
The good news is that you don’t have to completely eliminate those jobs from your consideration. Instead, when you assess where you are based on your skills and experience, you can figure out the next steps you need to take to go back to school, receive additional certification, or gain experience that will allow you to land the medical jobs you want.
Assessing your skills will also allow you to figure out if you have skills that can transfer to your new career without having to re-learn them. For instance, you might have a lot of customer service in your current career, and one of the requirements in the medical job you want asks for extensive experience in interacting with patients and their families.
While the experience isn’t exactly the same, the experience is transferable over to your new career, and you can highlight how those skills and experience would be useful in your new medical job. Another useful skill that you want to highlight is your ability to demonstrate and use social-emotional learning
. These are your soft skills that you develop and prove to be critical when you're working as a healthcare professional.
Assessing your skills will help you plan out the steps you need to take to land the medical job you want.
8. Find a Mentor
One fantastic step to help you land the medical job that you want is to find a mentor. Mentors are a great way of leaning on someone’s experience and expertise to help guide you along in your career and job search.
One of the best ways to find a mentor is to use the earlier step we mentioned regarding building your network connections.
When you build your list of network connections you’ll naturally encounter individuals who have plenty of experience. When someone has a lot of experience, they’ve been through a lot of different scenarios and can offer you tips and tricks to avoid those scenarios.
For instance, when you’re talking with them and detailing how you plan to navigate through your difficult job search process, they can offer you some advice on things to avoid. Listening to the advice and guidance that a mentor can provide you will help you throughout your career.
9. Interview with Confidence
When you finally do land an interview, do everything you can
to go into the interview with a ton of confidence. This means doing all your homework, researching your interviewer, and looking your best.
It’s important to remember that you were an attractive candidate to consider based on your experience and skills to be considered for the medical job you want — so you’re nearly there.
Knowing that you are one of the few that are being considered for the position and received an invitation to interview means that you should hold your head up high and walk in there with confidence.
The first thing you want to do is make sure that you utilize the research you’ve gathered earlier and then put it to good use in your interview.
By now, you should be really good at doing homework, so keep it up and do your homework on prospective hospitals, managers, hiring managers, policies, and everything you can think of to give you the edge when interviewing. If you prepare for the worst, you will have the confidence to encounter and overcome anything.
Interviewing is hard in real life, but on paper, it's quite simple. Look great, speak well, ask intelligent questions, answer questions intelligently, show confidence, and be friendly. But not preparing can hurt any aspect of the interview. If you stumble, sweat, can't answer a question, or don't know anything about the company, you probably won't get the job.
Doing your homework
also lets you know if you want to work for that company. You may find out that they don't do certain things you would like to, or you might not agree with their practice. Either way, do everything you can to feel confident and show it to your interviewer.
A little bit of confidence will go a long way in your interview. For instance, showcasing confidence in your interview will also help you cover up some of the mistakes or areas that you lack on your resume or prior experience.
An individual who interviews with confidence will separate themselves from those medical job candidates who are tentative or fail to express their passion for the industry. Hold your head up high and project your enthusiasm for the medical job you’re interviewing for, and you’ll do great.
12. Be Grateful
Even if you don't get the job, be grateful. Having a positive attitude and being grateful can benefit you in the long run because people will remember how friendly you were. It never hurts to be kind. The fewer bridges you burn, the better your career opportunities will be and the better you can grow your reference list.
There are also plenty of things to learn when you don’t get the job even after you interview. In most cases, we learn more from our failures than our successes. Perhaps you didn’t answer a question correctly the first time, but you know you’ll do better in the future when that same interview question is brought up in your next interview.
In all things show thanks and learn from your experience. Talk to people and learn what you can do better next time. All it takes is a simple question for advice or potential suggestions on how you can improve in your upcoming interviews, they will most likely be more than willing to help out in any scenario.
If you do get the job, be grateful for your chance to learn, grow, and work towards a better future. If you go around hating everything all the time, it puts bad energy out and people will notice. Nobody wants to work with someone who is ungrateful. So, be nice, say thanks, and remember that smiles don't cost anything and are the some of the most valuable things you can give to someone.
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Hopefully, our list will help you land one of the medical jobs you really want. If you work hard, study, stay diligent, and focus on your goals, you can find success. Just remember to build good contacts, be grateful, study hard, and be better than the rest so you can beat out your competition. With the job market in healthcare today, you shouldn't have a problem getting a good job.
(Article / Content Updated 2018)