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Break Into A Healthcare Career

How To Find A Medical Job Without Prior Experience

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Nurse sorting medical files in hospital
ERproductions Ltd / Blend Images / Getty Images
The medical field has remained one of the most recession-resistant industries throughout the recession, and is the only industry that has continued to add jobs throughout the recession.

Therefore, many jobseekers want to find a job in the healthcare industry during a recession, as other industries shed hundreds of thousands of jobs monthly. Many would-be healthcare professionals don’t have time, money, or even the desire to go to med school or nursing school to be a doctor or nurse. And that’s ok, because there are hundreds of jobs, especially in entry level clinical roles, or in non-clinical support roles, that may be a nearly perfect fit for your existing skill set. How do you transfer into a lucrative and secure position in the growing field of healthcare?

The biggest challenge is breaking into the industry – getting your foot in the door, without any medical job experience or advanced education in a medical related area. Many companies often want to recruit people who already have healthcare experience, especially for more senior roles.

Here are a few tips that will help you navigate your career into the healthcare field:

  • Research: Staying on top of industry news and trends, including companies, key players,and buzz, is very important when trying to break into the medical industry for the first time. There are hundreds of excellent healthcare industry news sources, many of which are specialized in a certain field within the medical industry. This will help you not only to find out who is hiring, but also you’ll be able to speak intelligently about the industry in an interview or when networking with medical professionals.
  • Network: You will want to connect with as many people in the healthcare industry as possible. Whenever you are trying to make a major career transition, it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know. Combining face-to-face networking and online networking is essential. Volunteer, join healthcare professional associations, anything that gets you in front of other people. Online, you can target your social media profiles and job search efforts toward the healthcare industry.
  • Assess Your Skills - Especially Transferable Ones: Determine what transferable skills you can bring with you from your current industry, into the healthcare field. For example, healthcare also needs skilled workers in information technology (IT) roles, accounting and finance, sales and marketing, human resources, or administration and secretarial jobs. Those are just a few of the most common examples, but think about what skill set you have that could translate into a role that could support the healthcare field. Working as a medical receptionist, or filing clerk are a couple of other examples of popular entry-level medical jobs. Once you get your foot in the door of a medical office, you can prove your interest and work ethic, and get great on-the-job training in other roles.
  • Consider Taking a Step Back: Whenever someone transfers from one industry to another, often it requires taking a step down, depending how far along you are in your non-medical career. It’s like transferring from one college to another, or switching majors in college – not all credits transfer at an equivalent rate. The same goes for changing careers – you may have five years of experience in a non-medical career, but you have zero in the healthcare industry, so you may have to take a step down in pay, or career level. Once you get established in your new medical career, you may be able to catch back up.
  • Find a Mentor: Identifying a great mentor can help tremendously in advancing your career. The best way to find a mentor is to start working in a medical office or hospital, even in a very entry level job, and demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow into higher level positions. A mentor should be someone experienced in the healthcare industry, who is well-connected and can boost all of your efforts in networking, job search, navigating the political aspects of the healthcare and educational system, and more.
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