In today’s healthcare job market, it’s not enough to simply have great experience and a winning personality. Knowing how to make a positive impression throughout the entire process — from submitting your CV to signing the contract — will ensure you’re successful in landing the job. Here are seven healthcare job search tips that will help you stand out from the crowd.
1. Optimize your CV
Take time to review your CV in a thoughtful manner and ensure it tells the story of who you are as a candidate. Recruiters will only look at your CV for a few seconds on average, so you have to optimize it to make an immediate positive impression.
Angie Dinninger, fiscal medicine and rehab manager at Covenant HealthCare, says a CV should tell her what an applicant has accomplished and why they’re a good fit for the facility. “Why should I pull your resume to the top of the pile versus the other three I might be looking at?” she asks potential applicants.
In addition to telling a compelling story, your CV should be free of errors, formatted correctly, and easy to scan. Having a friend or colleague review it before sending it out is a great way to catch something you might have missed.
2. Do your research
A job search isn’t simply an organization selecting the best candidate, it’s also a chance for you to select the best organization for your personal and professional goals. When looking at job openings, it’s crucial that you learn as much as possible about the position and organization before you apply.
“It’s all about the match and knowing your skill set and what environment you want to work in. Different personalities work better for certain settings,” says Sarah Thacker, a consultant on CompHealth’s hospitalist team.
While going through the interview process, find out what the patient census will be, ask current staff what kind of support you can expect to receive, and speak with past staff for candid advice about working there.
3. Know what you’re worth
Nobody wants to earn less than they’re worth, but if you don’t know how much someone in your position can expect to make, it’s possible you’re leaving money on the table.
There are many resources for healthcare providers to learn what an average salary is in their field. Whether you’re a physician or a CRNA, many publications and associations publish annual surveys detailing salary trends. Some organizations like the American Academy of PAs even offer interactive tools that customize salaries based on location and years of experience.
4. Prepare for the interview
An interview is a crucial part of the hiring process, and preparation always helps your performance. One way to prepare is to practice answering commonly asked questions. This will help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself and help you determine which parts of your professional life to highlight.
These days, it’s also important to prepare for a virtual interview. You should take the same care in dressing professionally for an on-screen interview that you would for an in-person meeting. Additionally, make sure the room you’re interviewing in is free of clutter and check your equipment to make sure everything is working properly.
“Test the technology before the day of and make sure a firewall isn’t blocking something. It seems like a no brainer but when you’re logging in and it doesn’t work, it doesn’t look good,” says Christy Ricks, senior director of provider recruitment for LifePoint Health.
5. Don’t forget to follow up
When an organization is debating between multiple candidates, a great thank-you note can make or break your chances of receiving an offer. A recruiter at CompHealth offers this advice for crafting a compelling follow-up email:
“Send each person you met a thank-you email, and include a pleasant mention about their passion, hobby, kids, or whatever they spoke about fondly. Maybe the medical director revealed a two-week regatta he was embarking upon. Wish him a safe voyage and fun adventure. The physician with the soccer-playing kids? Wish the girls a winning and an injury-free season.”
6. Learn how to negotiate
Whether you’re preparing to sign a physician contract or asking for a higher NP or PA salary, knowing how to negotiate is essential and can be the difference between being miserable at work and enjoying your career.
“As physicians and as young graduates, I think we feel awkward about negotiating our terms. But this is where some of the easiest money in the world is to be made,” says Dr. John Thieszen, a hospitalist.
In addition to salary negotiations, candidates can also negotiate on things like schedule, contract duration, and other benefits.
7. Consider using a staffing agency
Sometimes enlisting extra assistance can open you to new opportunities you wouldn’t have found on your own, while also making the search process easier.
Elena Burpee, a nurse practitioner, connected with CompHealth to find a new NP position. In addition to helping her find openings and line up interviews in communities that interested her, Elena says her representative served as a de facto cheerleader throughout the process.
“The stress of finding a job and moving to a new place is already just horrible, and then to add somebody that you feel like is on your side really takes a lot of that stress away,” she says.
Preparation is key
Searching for a new job is challenging, but you can make the process easier by ensuring you’re well-prepared for each step of the process. Not only will it demonstrate to your potential employer that you’re taking it seriously, it will help you determine the best fit for achieving your professional goals.